In with the new

X

I always love the clean slate of January. The year ahead seems like a blank sheet of paper waiting to be filled with doodles.

For me, it’s a time of hope – full of new possibilities, fresh starts and boundless enthusiasm before the weeks and months leave their mark.

Some time ago, a friend introduced me to a ritual he carried out on the 31st December each year. It’s become a tradition in our house ever since, so I thought I would share it with you.

First, there are two lists to be made. One is of things you don’t want any more and the other is of things you do want, or want more of. You can call them whatever you like. I usually go for something along the lines of ‘No thanks’ and ‘Yes please’.

The NO list contains everything you’ve had enough of in the preceding year: nail biting, stressful situations, eczema— whatever you’d like to leave behind for good. The YES list contains all the great things you’d like to come to you in the year ahead. Again, it can be anything you like (one year, my daughter wrote ‘walnuts’) interesting work projects, new friends, inspiration

The NO list needs to be burnt to a cinder (watch out here, and play safe!). The YES list needs to be set free in running water — a stream, river, the sea or whatever water’s nearest to you.

Here’s a photo of one of our Childs Farm friends sending out her wishes last year.

Have a go with the lists yourself if the fancy takes you. We’d love to hear how you get on.

All happiness and joy to you for 2016!

Joanna

Not just for Christmas

X

I read an article in one of the broadsheets recently about the cost of consumption on the world’s resources. There was a startling fact quoted. Of all the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remains in use six months after sale. This is either because they are made to break (so you buy another one) or because they become unfashionable as newer versions hit the market (so you buy another one).

The ramifications of putting 99% of the things we use into landfill have terrible implications for generations to come.

The article went on to point out that as far as Christmas is concerned, most things we buy for each other go beyond these awful statistics — because they’re not made to have any use in the first place. The majority of them are gimmicks, produced to cause a quick laugh and then be consigned to the dustbin or the bottom drawer once the festivities are over.

At Childs Farm we’re obsessed by making products that take care of little ones. For us, this means that everything we produce follows a rigorous process to make sure it’s fit for purpose, safe, kind and mild. But as well as that, we do our best to ensure we’re leaving a world our children will want to inherit. So all our bottles are 100% recyclable, and all our ingredients are naturally-derived.

We use natural moisturisers, natural detergents, natural preservatives and essential oils in our toiletries. You can read more about our processes, ingredients and testing on the Science bit of our website here.

We don’t need gimmicks to have a good time. We pride ourselves on the fact that everything we make not only does its job brilliantly, but is also fun for little ones to use.

So, in the rush to find last minute things for your children’s stockings, or your children’s friends, have a look at our Gifts & accessories. We’re offering 20% off everything until the end of December (simply enter the code CHRISTMAS2015 at checkout).

Happy holidays, everyone!

Joanna

ps: you can read George Monbiot’s article about pathological consumption here.

 

Toiletries without the nasties

X

Someone once said to me that parents think the baby aisle in pharmacies and supermarkets is a ‘walled garden’. And I hadn’t the faintest idea what she was talking about. But now that I’ve had some weeks and months to mull it over, I think what she meant was that we all presume that if it’s in the baby aisle, it MUST be safe to put on our children’s skin. Unfortunately, this isn’t actually the case.

When my children were littlies (they’re still pretty little, 7 and 9) I read all the ingredients on toiletries carefully, and did a bit of research, and was horrified to find that a lot of the things that go in children’s products also go in adults’ products. This is not good for a variety of reasons. First of all, children have a proportionately larger surface area than adults. Yes, they may seem smaller, but inch for inch they have more skin than we do. This means they can more easily absorb things through the skin which may cause them harm. Also, many ingredients used in adult products, which work wonders on skin and hair (I’m talking parabens and SLSs here) are actually pretty damaging. You can read more about this on our Science bit page – but basically:

  • SLESs and SLSs (Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Layryl Sulphate for those of you who know your chemstry) are commonly found in shampoos, soaps and toothpastes. They are very effective cleaners, but they’re not kind to skin — less than 0.5% concentration can cause irritation.
  • Parabens are used widely in shampoos, moisturisers, topical pharmaceutical creams and toothpaste. This is because they’re excellent preservatives — but on the downside, they’ve been linked to breast cancer, fertility problems, and to the increase in early-onset puberty. When used on the skin, parabens react with sunlight to cause sun damage (ageing) and DNA damage.
  • Mineral oils. Hmmm, I’m a big fan of Vaseline for my own chapped lips, but it’s basically a by-product of the distillation of petrol. I’m not sure I want to be putting that on my precious ones’ young skin. Mineral oils are also common ingredients in baby lotions and ointments.
  • Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastic. They are also found in a wide range of baby care products. Yes, really! Plastic softening chemicals in baby care. Readily absorbed through the skin, phthalates have been linked to breast cancer, birth defects, miscarriage and early-onset puberty.

So, I wanted to write this blog to let you know that at Childs Farm we don’t use any of these products in our range of children’s toiletries. The things we do use (naturally-derived cleansers and moisturisers and yummy essential oils) will be the topic of my next blog.  But mum-to-mum (or dad), I wanted to share with you the basic ‘nos’ of Childs Farm. We don’t need them. They may cause our children harm. The baby aisle is not a ‘walled garden’ after all. Look carefully at all the ingredients on the bottles of the products you’re buying for your little ones. Especially if they’ve got sensitive or eczema-prone skin. You’ll find our naturally-derived ingredients, specially formulated to care for young skin and hair, and extensively trialled and tested, will work brilliantly on your children. More than that, they’ll love using our products. And the fragrances emanating from your bathroom will make you smile for days.

Happy bath times!

Joanna

Win a Valentine’s weekend for two in beautiful Devon

X

This competition has now closed, please check back soon for more great prizes to be won. 

For Valentine’s day 2016 we have got our hands on a lovely cosy cottage in Devon to give away to our Facebook followers. Think log burners, beautiful walks and great local pubs.  For the chance to win two nights for you and your other half at the gorgeous Wonham Oak Eco Cottages on the edge of Exmoor National Park keep an eye on the Childs Farm Facebook Page.

Also, friends of Childs Farm can get 25% off a stay at the cottages until the end of April, just quote Childs Farm when booking directly (see Terms and conditions below).

Terms and conditions – Competition
1. This prize draw is open to residents of Great Britain only, aged 18 and over
2. Closing date for the competition is Thursday 21st January 2016 at midday
3. One entry per household
4. Winner will be chosen at random from Facebook entries on 21st January 2016
5. Prize: two night break for two people at Wonham Oak self catered eco cottages near Bampton in Devon from Friday 12th February to Sunday 14th February 2016 (alternative dates may be available subject to availability)
6. There is no cash alternative to the stated prize
7. The prize is not transferable or refundable
8. The promoters are Childs Farm and Wonham Oak Eco-Cottages                                                                           9. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Terms and conditions – Discount
25% discount available off current advertised rates on www.wonhamoak.co.uk, minimum two night stay. Bookings must be made directly with Wonham Oak Eco-Cottages and take place before the end of April 2016 (excluding Saturday 19th – Monday 28th March 2016.)  Subject to availability.

Beating the winter hair blues

X

Winter weather, the effects of central heating and woolly hats all wreak havoc on hair causing dry, itchy scalps, knots and tangles. Static is another annoying and common winter problem — static electricity is especially attracted to children’s fine hair, particularly if it’s been wrapped up in a hat. The best way to deal with it is to make sure hair is well moisturised.

We also tend to forget, when it’s chilly and rainy, that it’s important to drink water to keep hydrated. This is especially true for little ones, who won’t start producing oily sebum until puberty. So, their skin (which includes the scalp) loses moisture much more quickly than a grown up’s.

But, apart from trying to get your kids to drink more water, what else can you do to make sure their hair’s in tip top condition for Christmas party season?

Here at Childs Farm, hair is a big deal. In fact, the company came into being on the back of one shampoo I made for my own daughters, when I couldn’t find child-friendly products to deal with their fine hair and tangles. All the shampoos and conditioners I tried either didn’t work or else contained parabens, SLSs and other nasties that little ones really should not be putting on their skin. (But more of that in my next blog…)

First of all, condition, condition, condition. However, it’s not a good idea to wash hair too often (that can cause dryness too) so use a hair detangler between shampoos. Ours contains naturally derived, anti-static ingredients which are ultra moisturising, and give long-term shine and smoothness. It’s also got a wheat protein inside it, which helps repair damaged hair. And, as an added extra, we’ve added tea-tree oil to the mix to deter head lice too!

Our shampoo, hair & body wash and conditioner use natural cleansers and moisturisers, including coconut oil, argan oil, vegetable glycerine and honey — which possess super conditioning powers. They not only add moisture, but also grab it from the environment, which means they carry on working long after bath time is over.

Use conditioner every time you wash your child’s hair, and let it soak in for a couple of minutes. Ours contains a mineral which acts as a flow agent, allowing it to be combed evenly through hair.

Let your child’s hair dry naturally whenever possible. Blow drying damages hair. Bundle up wet hair in a Cuddletwist from Cuddledry, which keeps small heads warm and PJs dry.

And, as you know by now, we rely on essential oils in all our products, not only because they have many benefits for skin and hair but because they smell amazing too! The delicious smells in our hair care range come from organic strawberry and mint, grapefuit, rosemary and peppermint oil.