Local is Lekker this Christmas

It’s so easy to be lured by the colours and flashing lights of the made in China deluge. But 9 times out of 10, the toy has broken by the time the wrapping debris has been cleared from the floor on Christmas morning. Why not shop locally this year? Look for handmade items that will be treasured for years and support people in your community. My children were spoilt  with some local products to review this year and I have come to the conclusion that we are surrounded by the most amazingly talented people in South Africa!

Uthando Dolls

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The Siyakhula Doll Cooperative is a self-help success story. Established in May 2008 as part of the Angus Gillis Foundation’s self-help group programme, this small, thriving craft business is based at the Mgcamabele Community Centre on Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. Each individually handmade Uthando doll is 35cm tall and comes in one of three themed outfits – traditional Xhosa dress, Shwe Shwe print or safari ranger gear. The boy and girl dolls have jointed limbs and are made from brown cotton material, stuffed with a light-weight washable hollow-fibre stuffing with sculpted faces and hand-painted features.

As the demand for these beautiful dolls increases, so further employment opportunities can be created and more women can be trained to make the dolls. Every order can make a difference! A percentage of each doll sold is donated to the Angus Gillis Foundation and is used for the on-going establishment of self-help facilitated income generation initiative and retention initiatives in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape.

I was sent two dolls in lovely shwe shwe print outfits. The dolls are exquisitely made and are way more than your standard rag dolls. The dolls have opposable limbs and gorgeous braided hair. Each doll has hand painted features and comes with a label with their name on it. They are too beautiful and will be treasured for many years. You also get the feel-good aspect of helping out a community of talented women.

Woomen

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Woo-men Plush Toys are a range of quirky, comic plush character toys for kids and grown-ups.
They’re each handmade in Cape Town South Africa. The Woo-men characters were designed by Pete and Elaine Woodbridge of Studio Woo in Cape Town. It was a combination of comic illustration and handcrafts that gave rise to these lovable character toys.

There are 16 unique characters each with its own quirky personality. Woo-men are immediately appealing and irresistible to touch. Kids love them and so do ‘Kidults’. Woo-men will brighten up a bed, chair, book shelf or dresser in your home.

The Woo-men characters are Bed Head, Bru, Cherrie, Carrot Head, Funny Bunny, Little Alien, Kitty Myow, Ninja, Skully, Space Baby, Ted, Woo, Woof and Woohoo, Woo Mama and Mr. Tiny.

I was sent a pink Space Baby. According to his tag, Space Baby is a natural astronaut who floats around and giggles. Space baby time travels and his clock gives the time for jumping through the portal. Baby is meant to be looked after (when around). Space Baby loves yoga.

He really is gorgeously cute and funky, and my daughter loves carting him around by his pointy top bit. The Woo-men are safe for babies and made with top quality materials. These Woo-men would make a fab present for kids both young and old.

Aromasoothz  

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Aromasoothz sent me a sweet little Aromahugz soothing bunny. This silky soft toy goes in the microwave for 30 seconds. Your baby or child gets to hug a warm little bunny that exudes gentle lavender oil which soothes baby to sleep. Aroma Soothz products are sourced and crafted by an all-women team based in Durban, South Africa.  They assure their customers that only materials of the finest quality are used.  This little bunny is SO soft and cuddly and my daughter just loves it!

They have a special Christmas Aromahugz called Christmas Rusty Roary and Christmas Baby Roary, both dressed in cute red t-shirts and red and white scarves. These would make SUCH cute Christmas presents!

They also make a lovely Earth Baby massage oil under the Earth Angel range. The grape seed and wheat germ oils are light, glide well and are well absorbed and the lovely lavender and chamomile scent is very soothing.

WIN WIN WIN!!

For a chance to win a Rusty Roary and Baby Roary Christmas Hugz like the Dr Mom’s Facebook Page, Pop along to the Aromasoothz page and say that Dr Mom sent you.

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Natural Baby Products

Many moms are concerned about the number of chemicals our babies are bombarded with. Here are some of the companies in South Africa that sell baby-friendly and earth-friendly products. They do not contain parabens, petrochemicals, sulphated surfactants such as SLS, ethoxylated or PEG ingredients, propylene glycol, or any synthetic fragrances, preservatives or colourants.

Victorian Gardens

Victorian Gardens makes safe, healthy and gentle skincare products which are free from harsh unnatural ingredients. They believe that baby care products marketed as “natural and organic” ought to comprise ingredients which are genuinely natural and organic to as near 100% as possible. For safety reasons, the amount of essential oils used in their baby products equals about one tenth of that used in their adult formulations. They sent me 3 products to test:

  • Rosehip and Hawthorn Baby Cleansing Cream – This cleansing cream smells lovely. I think it would be great for newborns as it is really gentle and would be a wonderful baby-friendly alternative to aqueous cream (which is often recommended in the early days). I prefer a product that foams slightly for older babies and kids. (They do also make a gel body wash which I believe foams)
  • Chamomile Flower and Lavender Baby Massage Oil – The combination of lavender, chamomile and geranium make this silky massage oil very soothing. I really love this product.
  • Calendula Flower and Clover Protective Nappy Cream – This nappy cream is designed to be used at every nappy change as a protective barrier cream. I love the addition of corn starch which has lovely protective qualities, and the organic oils used are all very healing and soothing.

I have used the Dusting Powder, which is great on hot days when baby’s skin is clammy, and I love their Tangerine and Rose Scented Geranium Foaming Bath Oil which is pregnancy-friendly and just lovely after a long, hard day. I also use the Lavender Foaming Gel Cleanser for my son’s pre-teen face.

Eco.kid

A child’s skin and scalp can be sensitive to synthetic perfumes, colours, preservatives, heavy film-forming conditioners and aggressive surfactants. Eco.kid is an organic, healthier, biologically friendlier and more effective product range formulated exclusively for the hair, scalp and skin of children aged 3 to 12 years old and so is able to help prevent common problems faced by this age group. Eco.kid helps prevent pollution of our waterways and planet because of their commitment to ecologically responsible, sustainable and readily biodegradable ingredients and manufacturing practices. They sent me:

  • TLC: Hypo allergenic hair and body wash – TLC is a gentle plant derived ‘no tears’ cleansing solution for the hair and body that has been formulated for hyper-sensitive skin. One of the key reasons that this product is so gentle on delicate skin is that it contains ingredients which match the oils and amino acids found naturally in the skin. This product has a very subtle fragrance and foams well
  • Potion Lotion: Hypo allergenic body lotion – This is an energising natural product that helps to protect young skin from environmental damage. I really like this lotion and LOVE the name. It is very light and absorbed very quickly. Comfortable to use even in the sticky Durban summer weather.
  • Bug a bug: Hypo allergenic insect repellent – summer in SA means mozzies. So many repellent products contain harmful ingredients. Bug a bug contains Australian indigenous oils combined with wild harvested organically certified Andiroba Oil and a pure carrier oil blend to hydrate and nourish while repelling bugs. Durban mozzies are very persistent but my children said they noticed a big difference when they used Bug a Bug.

Pure Beginnings

Pure Beginnings believes in keeping baby’s skin as pure as the day she was born. They are a family owned business based in Durban, South Africa. Pure Beginnings specialise in combining traditional herb botanicals with some of Africa’s most beneficial plant ingredients, while at the same time contributing to the welfare of its rural communities and protecting its biodiversity. All Pure Beginnings products are formulated with certified organic ingredients.

I have used Pure Beginnings products on my daughter since the day she was born and their distinctive, subtle rose geranium scent will forever remind me of her newborn snuggly stage. They sent me:

  • Baby Bum Cream – This therapeutic baby bum cream contains baobab extract as well as olive, lavender and tea tree oil. It is an extremely effective barrier cream, and with its natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, can be used to treat nappy rash as well as little insect bites and stings. I like to use this as my everyday bum cream.
  • Baby Wash and Shampoo – This mild, rosemary and geranium scented, all-in-one baby wash and shampoo contains baobab extract. It foams very well and is very gentle – no tears if you accidentally get it in baby’s eyes.

I have used their Baby Body Lotion for baby massage as well as their wipes. The wipes are very wet which I liked – my sister-in-law thought they were too wet. I really love this product range!

Beautiful Earth

Beautiful Earth is a specialist manufacturing company, distributing natural products for personal care, to individual consumers and the hospitality industry. They are committed to natural products and they are an environmentally friendly company with a sound Environment Management System. They use 100% therapeutic grade essential and base oils preferring to source organic or wild crafted essential oils where possible. They sent me:

  • Bath and Massage Oil (Baby) – This is a lovely oil to use on baby after a bath. It is easy to spread – ideal for baby massage. Essential oils of Chamomile, Lavender and Neroli to help calm colicky pains and induce a peaceful sleep. I found it to be really light and quickly absorbed and have also used it on moms in labour and they really loved it. The pump dispenser is very handy.
  • Hair and Body Wash – This wash foams beautifully and smells lovely. It is a really nice product and I love that it comes in a 300ml bottle, making it very economical.
  • Bubble fun – Children (and adults!) love bubble baths, but often the bubbles contains harmful chemicals that dry the skin. This product is a non-drying bubble bath that avoids the use of synthetic fragrances and harsh bubbling agents. This product was developed to avoid irritation. It has a lovely hint of Sweet orange and really delivers what it promises

WIN! WIN! WIN!

Beautiful Earth has given us a lovely hamper of their products to give away. Simply tell us in the comments section why natural baby products are important to you and what area you live in.

Please note that this giveaway is only available for collection in the Durban area

*I was not reimbursed for this review. I received products from the companies listed above

Remembearance Bears

I am a very sentimental person. I have the first outfits that each of my babies wore, and I have loads of baby clothes and blankets that I simply can’t part with. I stumbled across Remembearance Bears who make the most gorgeous teddy bears using (amongst other things) baby clothes. 

I was absolutely thrilled when my bear arrived made with my youngest’s clothes. Isn’t it just the MOST adorable thing?! It is something she can keep and pass down to her own children…the thought makes my heart melt!

These would also make amazingly touching gifts.

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Eco-Friendly, Baby-Friendly Disposables

Most of you know that I am a huge fan and promoter of cloth nappies. But sometimes, you need the convenience of a disposable. I like to use disposables when I am out for a long period. I also used them when my daughter was in hospital. I am SO pleased that we have an eco-friendly, baby-friendly option in South Africa!

Moltex Öko nappies from Baby Loves Nature are free of all the nasties that you usually find in disposables. They are made with more than 50% biodegradable materials and 100% biodegradable breathable protective back sheet film. They also have 100% chlorine free absorbent pulp core and are made with 40% renewable materials in the super soft top sheet. They are packaged in a 100% biodegradable and bio-bag which can be re-used and composted (mine is currently sitting in my compost heap).

I found these nappies to be super absorbant. They have a nice high rise in the front so no leaks. They also have nice gathered leg gussets which fitted my baby really well but didn’t leave marks. Aesthetically, these nappies are great. Unlike other eco-friendly nappies I have tried, they are a nice white colour (and don’t look like old newspaper) and have a cute printed top band just like normal disposables (we moms have to get our thrills where we can and cute characters on nappies do it for some of us 😉 )

So if you are an eco-friendly mom but need a quick ‘sposie on the go, these are really great!

*I was not reimbursed for this review. I received a pack of nappies from Baby Loves Nature