Living Life Naturally

Every Little Helps!

So I know I’m always waffling on about the damage we are doing to our amazing planet, and frequently posting articles about it on my Facebook page. (www.facebook.com/skinkissathome)

But, I hear you ask ‘What are you actually doing about it?’

Well, now you come to mention it, there are several things I am doing, trying to help in my own small way:

  • I NEVER stick labels on my jars of bath soak, preferring to attach them with natural raffia. This means the glass jars can be easily recycled, or better still, re-used. Maybe filled with Pot Pourri……Balancing Act 1 09-04-2019 14-08-01 3057x2947
  • I no longer apply labels to my plain black paper sales bags as I always include a business card anyway. This means these can also be re-used for other gifts.
  • I package my Soothing Eye Pillows in recycled & recyclable cardboard boxes.Eye Pillows 3 27-07-2019 16-14-51 3240x2794
  • I avoid single-use plastic at all times. However, a couple of months ago I ordered what I thought were glass roll-on bottles – only to find when they arrived that they were plastic! Well, to be honest I loathe waste as much as I do plastic so I took the decision to use them but to make doubly sure next time to get glass ones!
  • I make it my mission to ensure I never use ingredients that will harm the environment or filter into the eco-system.
  • Ingredients I never use:
  • Palm Oil – yes, I know that there is supposedly sustainable palm oil out there BUT I simply prefer not to use it. Too much of the rain forests are being decimated to make room for palm oil plantations, thus wiping out the natural habitat of orangutans and other wildlife. Palm oil is still a common ingredient in many beauty products sadly.
  • SLS – Also known as sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate, this is the ingredient that makes the lather in your shampoo & the bubbles in your bubble bath. (Unless, like me, you check all labels & refuse to use products containing it!) Palm oil is used in its production too. It can be drying for the skin & often causes irritation but more worryingly, it is a hormone disrupter. And just so you know, it was actually developed during WW2 as……….. an engine degreaser!
  • Parabens – These are still frequently found in many cosmetic items and are used to make products last longer; their chemical properties make them effective preservatives that keep ingredients fresher for longer.  However these chemicals (which include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben, among others) may be harmful to human health by contributing to the development of cancerous tumours.  Parabens also filter into the oceans, and can be found in the tissue structure of our much marine life, including dolphins.
  • Mineral Oil – Often a distillate of petroleum, a definite no-no for me.

Hopefully you will agree that I am doing my small part to safeguard the planet. If everyone did just one small thing we could make such a difference to the world we leave for our children & grandchildren.

Love & light

Lesley

 

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Shades Of Green

I truly try to live a ‘green’ life. It’s not always easy but I try. But reading the labels on EVERYTHING you buy – well, it’s a bit of a nightmare really, isn’t it?!

I recently read an article in National Geographic about Palm Oil and its effects on our diminishing forests & wildlife. And ever since, I’ve been wanting to write about it & try to put it all into some sort of balance.

Palm Oil has become a mainstay of every industry, mainly because it is cheap to produce, stable in processing, and has a long shelf life. Palm oil is the most used vegetable oil in the world, remarkably versatile and used in everything from snack food and shampoo to bio fuel. ( In 2017 51% of the EU’s palm oil consumption was to power cars & trucks) It is so prevalent that it can be found in about half of all packaged items found in the supermarkets.

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Photograph courtesy of Dawn Armfield on Unsplash

It is known by many different names:

Etyl palmitate
Glyceryl
Hydrogenated palm glycerides                                                                                                      Octyl palmitate
Palm fruit oil
Palm kernel
Palm kernel oil
Palm stearine
Palmate
Palmitate
Palmitic acid
Palmitoyl oxostearamide
Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3
Palmityl alcohol
Palmolein
Sodium kernelate
Sodium laureth sulfate (often found in shampoos, soaps & bubble baths)
Sodium lauryl lactylate/sulphate
Sodium lauryl sulfate
Sodium palm kernelate
Stearate
Stearic acid
Vegetable fat
Vegetable oil

I mean, just HOW do you remember all of these when you’re checking labels, for goodness sake?!

And, the list of products it is used in is, well, LONG:

  • Industrial Frying oils
  • Confectioneries, cookie filling
  • Emulsifiers; margarine, low-fat spreads, cakes, ice cream, bread
  • Dry soup & cake mixes
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Bio Fuel
  • Snack foods, cooking oil
  • Pizza dough
  • Soap, shampoo
  • Infant formula
  • Detergents, cosmetics
  • Animal feed
  • Non-dairy creamers
  • Chocolate coatings
  • Humectants, explosives
  • Alcohols

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Photo courtesy of David Clode on Unsplash

Sadly our seemingly insatiable appetite for Palm Oil is causing the destruction of many wildlife habitats. Areas of Borneo & Sumatra have already been logged extensively to make way for oil palm plantations.

One way we can help is to make sure that everything we purchase contains only certified sustainable palm oil with the RSPO logo on. The RSPO currently certifies roughly one fifth of the global supply.

Many household names rely heavily on palm oil: Unilever, Nestle, Proctor & Gamble. 

These companies have pledged to switch their supply chains to certified palm oil ‘over the next few years’. Sounds great – BUT, it’s  not enough. We need it to happen faster & we need all Governments on board too.

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Photo courtesy of Ruqayyah Sheriff on Unsplash

There is some hope though: In Sabah, Borneo a group of scientists, activists, RSPO members AND Government officials are aiming to convert 5% of the biggest plantations on Borneo back to forest for orangutans. More than 100,000 trees of 38 species have been planted over the past decade in an attempt to preserve a corridor for wildlife along the river.

The other problem, of course, is that whatever we try to replace palm oil with will ultimately cause similar problems, but without being as versatile or fast-growing.

So, I have taken a personal decision that I will continue to avoid using palm oil (even certified sustainable) in any of my Skinkiss products.

On a personal level I will also avoid it (as long as I can remember all its names!) in everything I buy.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this & maybe learnt a little about the palm oil industry.

If you got this far – Congratulations & Thank you.

Love & light

Lesley

http://www.skinkiss.org.uk

 

 

 

Those of you who follow my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/skinkissathome will know that I am PASSIONATE about using natural products in and on my body whilst also protecting our planet.

I thought it was about time  I told you how I ended up on this journey;

I was diagnosed, aged 44, with an under-active thyroid.

“There you go, take these Levothyroxine tablets for the rest of your life” said my Dr.

And that was pretty much it!

Well, I plodded on, taking my tablets & not really feeling much better. The dose had to be raised twice & still I felt rubbish.

So I joined a Thyroid group on Facebook & started to learn………

I learned that Levothyroxine is foisted on EVERYBODY with this condition. Now, firstly, one size most definitely does NOT fit all. Secondly, I discovered that Levo (we’ll just stick with that – easier for me to type ) contains lactose and – guess what – I’m highly lactose intolerant. No wonder I still felt like s**t. Oh, and thirdly that delightful little tablet causes bone-thinning with prolonged use. Now pardon me if I sound appalled BUT since, once you are diagnosed you are on these for LIFE, how is that not going to constitute ‘prolonged use’? And why don’t they tell you this when they prescribe them.

I also learned that there are 2 types of UAT (Under active thyroid.) The first is exactly as it says – an under-active thyroid. The second type is a bag of worms to be honest; it’s an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s. BUT when they do the original test they don’t bother checking whether you also have the autoimmune antibodies and, believe me, this makes it a whole new ball game.

So, a year after first being diagnosed, I marched in to my Dr, armed with all this information & demanded they do the test for antibodies – and sure enough, there the little blighters were, nibbling away at my poor thyroid.

At this point I also mentioned the lactose AND the osteoporosis problems. Quite sure my Dr couldn’t wait to get rid of me, after all, how dare I question the way things have always been done!

Anyway, fast forward to 2013 & after struggling to get lactose-free Levo I insisted they put me on Natural Dessicated Thyroid (NDT) and they agreed. Things started to improve……

The thing with Hashimotos is that it starts in the gut where it causes ‘leaky gut’ – a fairly unpleasant experience involving long periods spend in the bathroom! TMI, I know. It is also very difficult to properly treat since, as with any autoimmune disease, there are always going to be occasional flare-ups.

Well, this downturn in my health started me looking at what I was actually putting INTO my body. Something had to change & gluten was the first to go. The reason gluten seems to be a problem for those with Hashis (another typing shortcut!) is that the gluten molecule strongly resembles the thyroid molecules and our poor bodies get confused. Symptoms eased & I carried on with my journey. I will always be on this journey as it takes very little to cause a setback ( stress is a biggie) but I am determined to regain as much of my health as I can.

When people say ‘we are what we eat’ they are pretty much right. So these days there are no processed foods in my life, no fast food, and definitely no junk food. And, boy, did I used to enjoy KFC, dammit.

Cheers!

Lesley

It’s been a bit of a strange start to 2019 for me;

I had a lovely, relaxing holiday with my partner, got back mid-February, raring to get back to making my Skinkiss bath & body goodies, with simply loads of new ideas running rings around my brain…….. and then realised that Easter is VERY late this year…….and just sort of relaxed & forgot about it all & enjoyed the glorious weather we had for a couple of weeks!

So, here we are, nearly the end of March & I’m now rushing about like a mad thing, trying to get everything made & labelled in time for our first fair on Conwy Harbour 18th to 22nd April!

About a week ago (!) I finally got off my bum & made a start.

First off the production line (as if!) was a new bath soak blend I’ve called New Beginnings (I vaguely considered calling it Brexit Bath Soak – new beginnings and all that haha).

Full of amazingly beneficial salts, essential oils & flower petals it’s now available on the website http://www.skinkiss.org.uk in 3 sizes.

Glass Heart Jar £15
Wooden Tub & Scoop £7.50
Small Hexagonal Jar £5

I really enjoyed designing this blend, it is just SO good.

Next up I decided to have a bit of fun & made some cute little cupcake bath bombs – they come either individually or a box of 3 so ideal for a gift.

So that’s what I’ve been up to so far. I’ve also made a Gardeners’ Hand Scrub & several body scrubs. No photos yet but soon I promise.

Back to the Skinkiss kitchen now.

Laters

Lesley x

My Asian Adventures

So we left a cold, miserable UK on 15th January. It takes a full 24 hours to travel to Asia so we were less than amused when the taxi we had pre-booked to collect us from Bangkok airport was nowhere to be seen. It finally arrived TWO hours late.

This is when you realise that the Asian attitude to timekeeping is very different to our own!

A few random facts about Thailand:

  • There are 711 stores (a bit like Spar) on EVERY Soi (street). You are never more than a minute’s walk from one & they are open 24/7.
  • There are also a lot of Family Mart stores (think Londis), also open 24/7
  • They have 24 hour pharmacies where you can buy over the counter items that we would need a prescription for here.
  • Single bananas are sold in individual plastic bags! Not sure the idea of reducing single-use plastic has reached Thailand yet!
  • Whatever you buy will automatically be placed in a carrier bag too.
  • One area where I was very impressed was their clingfilm; it comes with its own sliding cutter – so much easier that frantically trying to find the edge & tear it against a (usually) useless metal strip.
  • Even with the ever-decreasing value of the £ most things in Thailand are still much cheaper than here.
  • Wine is very expensive but beer is cheap – £1.50 a bottle (they only sell it in bottles)
  • I discovered a new favourite drink there – Kahlua (coffee liqueur) which I drank either with coke or neat over ice.
Kahlua & coke with plenty of ice!
  • Most places don’t come to life until late afternoon/early evening as it is just TOO hot earlier in the day.
  • Westerners are known as Farangs.

There are plenty of bars, some more pleasant than others, and all have air conditioning for the comfort of the patrons.

Enjoying one of the many bars we visited.


I really wanted to be adventurous & sample as much Thai food as possible BUT even though I had taken translations with me stating my gluten & lactose intolerances it wasn’t easy! Soy sauce gets EVERYWHERE &, of course, contains wheat so I did have to be especially careful.

I ate a lot of chicken fried rice & a particularly wonderful dish of steamed chicken with steamed rice cooked in coconut milk. This came with a delicious clear coriander soup on the side & was my favourite meal.

I did give in occasionally & eat ham & chips when I’d had enough of rice!

Nigel enjoying Squid with vegetables, chicken & onions, and a spicy soup.

We also took a short trip to Kuala Lumpur where we visited a Hindu Temple (highly recommend), the King’s Palace, the War Memorial, and the KL Tower.

Hindu Temple
Way too hot to make it up all those steps!
Stunning Colours!
Strong Shoulders Needed!
The King’s Palace
The War Memorial
Very Moving.
From the front

The KL Tower was something I really wanted to visit. We paid for the full experience including the Sky Deck & the Sky Box.

Completely dry & warm when we set off up the tower, by the time we got to the top it was raining! They will not allow access to either the Sky Box or Sky Deck when it rains as it is too dangerous. Sadly we did not have time to wait so had to settle for the Observation Deck.

Ticket For The KL Tower
Showing the height of the various parts of the Tower
View from the Observation Deck
Some amazing buildings in KL viewed from high above

Whilst we were in Thailand it was CNY (Chinese New Year) and they celebrated it outside the food court we regularly frequented. The Dragon Dance is an amazing spectacle.

Dragon Dance

Me & the Other Half

Our month there went way too fast and even though we arrived home early Saturday morning I am STILL jet-lagged!

Happy Hair!
At Bangkok Airport on the way home.

I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures in Asia.

Lesley x

My Thailand Adventure

So as some of you will know, I’m currently holidaying in Thailand.

It is a much needed break after three frankly horrible years, which actually began after our last holiday!

We returned from Borneo in February 2016 – me with broken ribs & a broken shoulder (don’t ask!), and my partner with a hernia.

Shortly after our return he went into hospital for what should have been simple keyhole surgery. Unfortunately things did not go according to plan & he ended up with life-threatening Sepsis.

He was lucky in that he is a ‘Sepsis Survivor’. However the long-term effects are both devastating & permanent.

Anyway, this is why we decided to take a month-long break (helped financially by family) in the hope of restoring his broken health.

My partner is actually a very experienced traveller having spent the last 45 years globe-trotting so as you can imagine the holiday was planned with meticulous attention to detail!

So, why Thailand? Well for a start the heat is very beneficial for aches & pains – and we both have a fair few! It’s also relatively cheap, especially compared to Europe, and just a short trip away from his beloved Borneo.

When we visited in 2016 I made all my own products to take; Insect Repellent, mosquito spray plus the usual stuff like toothpaste, mouthwash and moisturiser. I didn’t get bitten even once!

This time, however I did a lot of research & invested in a brand recommended by Glynis Barber among others. Called Incognito, the range is 100% natural & includes everything you will need: Spray & Roll-On Insect Repellent, Combined Sun Cream & Insect Repellent (including Factor 30), Aftersun Moisturiser, a Luxury Loofah Soap, Natural Crystal Deodorant and so much more,

For the full range check out https://lessmosquito.com/collections/the-incognito-store

The items I purchased were the Roll-on Insect Repellent (I didn’t get the spray as a few reviews stated that the sprayer was faulty), the combined Sun Cream & Insect Repellent Factor 30, the After Sun Moisturiser, the Luxury Loofah Soap, and the Natural Crystal Deodorant.

I loved the Luxury Loofah Soap; it is so humid here that I often shower 3 times a day and using the loofah is very refreshing. The Natural Crystal Deodorant really does work well – even in these high temperatures – for which I am very grateful!

I have been a bit disappointed in the Roll-on Insect Repellent & The Combined Sun Cream & Insect Repellent – in spite of liberal application I have suffered several bites on both my legs & arms, The After Sun Moisturiser containing avocado, chamomile, and geranium is lovely & very soothing.

The other survival items I brought with me were The Friendly Soap Company Travel Bar for hair & body which you can purchase from my website http://www.skinkiss.org.uk and Conwy Valley Natural Beauty & Health First Aid Gel (great for those pesky mosquito bites!)

https://www.friendlysoap.co.uk/product/travel-soap/

http://www.naturalbeautyandhealth.co.uk/

As you can imagine, everything I brought with me was natural as I refuse to compromise in that department!

I apologise for not adding any photos – I am using an old Notebook & cannot seem to get the Bluetooth function to work! Heyho – me & technology do not always get on hahaha.

I promise I will write again WITH photos, on my return to the UK on 15th February, Here’s hoping the snow has gone by then!

Lesley xx

Expanding My Horizons

2019 is going to be an exciting year for Skinkiss:

I have lots of new products planned including vegan lip balms, hand scrubs, and beard oils.

Spearmint Avocado Vegan Lip Balm

But before I get started I am taking a well-earned break, my first holiday in three years. Am very much in need of some winter sunshine to boost my Vitamin D!

I will be keeping a Holiday Diary so expect a few updates from me (when I’ve had enough sun for the day!)

See you all when I get back.

Love & light

Lesley x