Real Skin Balm


I have super sensitive skin and over the years I have spent hundreds of dollars on creams that claim this and that and I am yet to find one that has left a lasting impression. So I did a bit of Googling and found a recipe for home made moisturiser that only uses three ingredients; coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax (essential oil is optional). The only thing I did different to this recipe is use less of the optional essential oil (about half of the recommended amount) as I enjoy the scent of beeswax with a subtle hint of lavender. I call this a balm as opposed to a moisturiser as it is oil based and melts upon skin contact. I use the balm on my face and body and I have had no stinging or irritation.

Real Skin Balm


1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup beeswax pellets

optional 10 drops lavender (or another essential oil of your preference)

Beeswax pellets are available at Huckleberry Farms Stores or online from NZ retailers


Put all ingredients apart from the essential oil in a wide mouth jar. Put jar with ingredients into a saucepan of water that is half filled, put saucepan on the stove to a low setting. Leave until all the ingredients are melted with the occasional stir being careful not to get any water in the jar. Once melted take the jar out of saucepan and add the essential oil and stir carefully, then leave to cool on the bench to room temperature before putting in the fridge to completely cool and set.


You could try adding different essential oil combinations, or add a couple of drops of vitamin E oil for a moisture boost, or infuse the olive oil with flowers or herbs before melting together with other ingredients. The recipe makes about 2 cups worth so one batch can go a long way. This would make a great gift for Christmas, just pour into small glass jars before the balm sets firm and have fun making up a name and labels for your jar of goodness.


Real Wake Up Call


Two recent experiences have left me re-evaluating my understanding of sustainability on a global scale, and modifying the approach I was taking in my own life.

Firstly, I watched the documentary ‘Waste Land’ that follows artist Vik Muniz create an inspiring art project in Brazil’s Jardim Gramacho, which until its closure in 2012 was the world’s largest landfill.

I also recently read ‘Zero Waste Home’ by Bea Johnson which was prompted by getting down to one bag of rubbish per week (which I am now determined to do regularly, and hope to reduce even further in the future). One of the many insights that I took away from the book was Bea Johnson’s point on how recycling should be the last option. I now realise that many people, myself included, misunderstand where recycling should rank in the hierarchy of sustainability, as the products made from recycled material are more than often non-recyclable, as well as wasting resources and creating toxic by-products in their manufacture. Remember waste doesn’t start at your bin – it starts the moment you buy a packaged product, so either refuse it, reuse it (2 of the 5 R’s from Johnson’s book), or find an alternative.

Lead by example – take a zero waste morning tea to your next group get together

I have also become acutely aware that living a sustainable lifestyle is a continuum and an ongoing learning experience. It can’t be achieved instantly, but that is what makes it so enjoyable, the satisfaction gained with each new insight and achievement on the journey.

Real Probiotics


This is a guest post by my partner who is known in our small circles as the ‘kefir guru’.  He is currently studying toward a Bachelor of Health Science degree at AUT while working full time and being the best partner/daddy/provider. xo

I discovered water kefir while looking for a probiotic drink that wasn’t dairy based, the grains can be easily purchased via Trade Me, or obtained from someone already brewing as they proliferate readily. I wont go into the science or background of water kefir here, but if you are interested this link should answer almost every question you may have

The following is my recipe for water kefir, there are many variations to be found on the web, differences in ratios of grains to water/sugar, flavourings etc, however at the rate we drink it in our household I have found the following to be almost foolproof, take minimal effort and have a pleasant taste reminiscent of ginger beer.

I use a 3 litre flip top jar for my brews as shown in the picture above, plastic and metal are not suitable.

Ingredients (simply multiply or reduce depending on the size of your brewing container)

1 Litre of room temperature filtered water or cooled well boiled water

Half a cup of water kefir grains

Quarter of a cup of raw sugar (I use the organic sugar from Trade Aid)

Quarter of a teaspoon of Molasses (Organic no brand molasses is cheap from Huckleberry Farms)


Dissolve the sugar and molasses in a small amount of boiling water and mix with the litre of water before adding to the grains in your container, that’s it!

Fermentation normally takes 24 to 48 hours, not left long enough it will remain flat and sweet, too long it and will start to sour as it begins to turn to vinegar, the ideal result should be light amber in colour and slightly effervescent.

At this point I normally strain the liquid into bottles and start the next brew. Under the right conditions the grains will multiply and I usually wait until they have tripled in volume before removing any, the excess grains can be stored in the fridge as a backup in the same sugar solution as when making the drink, they will still ferment but only very slowly. Change the solution about once per week or whenever the solution is fermented, it is fine to drink.

At some stage you will have plenty of grains to make your brew and backups in the fridge so this in when you can start to share the grains with others, again simply give them to someone in the same solution as above. Another good use for the excess grains is as an ingredient in smoothies.

Real Garden To Table


One of the best things I have done this year is join a community garden. I call it my weekly therapy as it nourishes many aspects of my health. I learn something each time I go there and enjoy the company of other like minded people. One of the many perks of belonging to my community garden is the fresh produce that is shared amongst the members. My last haul included one half of cabbage, a container of strawberries and a head of cauliflower. The strawberries didn’t last long with the two kids, they provided a yummy snack for both baby and my 7 year old.  I attempted to make sauerkraut that turned out to only fill half a small jar – probably not the best use for only half a head. However an off the cuff recipe for the cauliflower turned out to be utterly delicious and only uses three ingredients!

Warm Cauliflower & Avocado Salad

1 cauliflower cut into florets

1 ripe avocado

3 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise


Put the cauliflower florets into a baking dish and coat with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake at 180° for about 20 -25 minutes, after 10 minutes check the cauliflower and give them a stir to make sure none are getting too brown on their edges. After the cauliflower has cooled slightly put into a bowl and add chopped avocado and mayonnaise.


Thanks PERA Community Garden ♥


Real Recipe For Waste Reduction


Every Wednesday morning our rubbish is picked up by the Auckland City Council, so every Tuesday night we take the bin up the driveway to be put on the curb for collection. Normally we do this without much thought, however last night was particularly interesting as there was only one small bag of rubbish in the wheelie bin. My partner and I gathered around the bin and reflected on our week’s worth of rubbish. This was the least amount of rubbish destined for landfill that we had ever had, and, well we gave ourselves a pat on the back – not bad for a family of four that includes a baby.  So here’s our recipe for waste reduction.




Social Awareness

Respect for the Environment


Eat real food, compost food scraps, grow vegetables, plan meals in advance and buy only what’s needed, recycle, use cloth nappies and cloth wipes, be an ethical consumer.


Every living thing x

Are you doing the best with your waste?