Beauty Products

I find beauty product advertising totally bamboozling! I’d like to think I’m bright enough not to be duped by the promises of winding clocks back or that a simple wipe of a cream will have me looking 20 again… but really… why would they need to advertise if they could do that???!!!  I’d love to say that as I wouldn’t take back a second of my life, then I love all the lines my life has worked hard at… but I’m human… so I can’t! What I can do is start to educate myself on what I choose to put on my skin and on that of my children. Realistically you’d have to be a chemist to work out those ingredients lists, so I’ve resorted to reading studies (that I hope HAVE been done by chemists!!). It seems there are some really nasty chemicals being mixed into products we slather all over our bodies on a daily basis. According to the Environmental Working Group (a nonprofit group – only 11% of 10,500 ingredients in beauty products have been tested for safety.  So it seems we should be wary of many ingredients, but a few that you may have  been made aware of through labels often claiming they are FREE of these chemicals are: Parabens, Phthalates, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Lauryl Ethen Sulfate (SLES)… so, what are they? Well… here is a little background…


Parabens are chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. Estrogenic chemicals mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.

Pthalates are synthetic chemicals known to cause birth defects and lifelong reproductive impairment in lab animals exposed during pregnancy and after birth. They are also hormone mimicking chemcials, many of which disrupt normal hormone processes, raising concerns about implications for increased breast cancer risk.

SLS and SLES – a foaming agent derived from coconut oil. Used in toothpasted, shampoo, bubble bath and soap. Proven skin irritant but could also be carcinogenic.  (Sophie Uliano – Gorgeously Green).


So…. I’m doing my best to buy products that are healthier for me, and the environment…. cause all these toxins head down our sinks. And guess what…. a lot of the time these products are CHEAPER than what I was buying before!!


Green Tomato Relish

I may be spilling a family secret here… sorry Pop… but seriously, this recipe should be shared far and wide, it’s DELICIOUS!!!!Technically my lovely late Pop’s recipe is for ripe tomatoes, but due to a glut of green tomatoes (three buckets full) at the end of their growing season this batch is green… (well kind of sludge brown, but if it deters others from munching it then all the more for me!).


Three buckets of green tomatoes makes quite a lot of relish, and as most of them were cherry tomatoes it took a looooong time to prepare. I’d recommend using large tomatoes as it is so much easier in the slicing phase… I was up till midnight. But the results were worth it. I also made a hot spicy batch for those that prefer a little kick.  And I know, I know… what’s with the funny little fabric jar toppers… Well I found some offcuts of calico and thought I’d make some look pretty so I’d have ready to go gifts – 6 jars already gone.



1.5kg tomatoes (ripe or green depending on what your garden has thrown at you!)

2 large brown onions

2 cups brown vinegar

4 level cups of sugar

1 level tsp of curry powder

1 level tsp of mustard (or not in my case)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Method: Soak tomatoes in hot water so skin will come off easily (I totally skipped this step with the green toms… I mean really, that would have been FAR too tedious!). Cut up tomatoes with onions and sprinkle with salt. Leave overnight. Next day: Drain off liquid. Add vinegar to ingredients. Bring to boil. Add sugar, curry, mustard and cayenne. boil about 1 hour. Thicken with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of plain flour mixed with vinegar. Make as thick as jam.  Store in sterilized jars. Enjoy!


2.5kg green tomatoes

0.5kg onions

4tsps salt

1L malt vinegar

0.5kg soft light brown sugar

3 tsp ground pepper

Method: Finely slice onions and green tomatoes. Add salt and stir – cover and leave overnight. Next day: Place a litre of vinegar into a large pan, add sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Drain tomato/onion mix and add to vinegar mix with white pepper. Stir well and bring to a gentle boil for 1.5 to 2 hours until thick. Pop into sterilized jars and enjoy!