Natural Instinct Nourishing Facial Moisturiser

Natural Instinct Nourishing Facial Moisturiser

There are things I like about it, but it's not my favourite

Facial moisturisers are a very individual item. What works for one person's skin won't necessarily work for someone else's. My skin is fair and finicky: it doesn't like to be interfered with too much, or it arks up and gets its revenge with pimples and excess oil. I prefer to put natural products on my skin, so Natural Instinct seemed like the natural choice (sorry, yes, that was a bit of a pun).

I have used Natural Instinct shampoo and conditioner in the past and really enjoyed it. I like that it is an affordable yet somewhat luxurious brand offering products that are free of some of the nasty chemicals you find in conventional brands. In that sense, it ticks all the boxes. But how did it stack up as a moisturiser?

Not quite right for my skin

The Natural Instinct Nourishing Facial Moisturiser smells lovely, and is full of goodies like essential oils and vitamin E. Initially it feels quite thick and sticky on the skin, but it absorbs well and I don't notice it anymore after 10 minutes or so. I think that if my skin were slightly less delicate it would go on to be a ripper moisturiser, but I have found that it is just a touch too oily for me, and my skin has complained a little bit in the form of excess shine and slight clogging of pores.

In Short:

  • 4 stars – it is a slightly heavier cream, so if your complexion needs that, this is a good choice; otherwise a lighter product might be more suitable.
  • It is a good, naturally sourced product that pleases the senses.

Crystal Body Deodorant Stick

Crystal Body Deodorant Stick

Smell naturally good, without aluminium and chemicals

A bit of back story…
I first came across natural salt stick deodorant quite by accident. I was staying overnight at a friend's house; the following day I had a full day in the city with my uni class. I was mortified when I realised I'd forgotten my deodorant! Sacre bleu! Even worse, I was staying with hippies who had virtually nothing in their bathroom cupboard – beside a mysterious salt crystal. I stared at it long and hard before deciding to give it a try. I wet it and applied it to my underarms. In all honesty, I didn't expect it to do anything.

You can imagine my surprise when, after a long day in the city, walking about and generally giving my underarms a decent chance to work up a stink, I remained odour-free! It was like some kind of crazy hippy magic! When I came across a body crystal in a chemist one day I bought it straight away.

Crystal

My husband and I have been using this brand for a few years now. When our local organic shop closed down and we couldn't source it from there, we took to buying it online instead. It costs around $10 and lasts up to a year, even with two of us using it. We like this brand because it is big enough to last, the rounded shape is comfortable to apply, and it's less likely than some other ones we've tried to fall into the sink and shatter into a crystal dagger. [In saying that, it does have a tendency to detach from the base as the water seems to loosen the crystal after a few weeks of use, so we have to be careful not to tip the thing into the sink]

This product has no added scent. I like that – deodorants tend to smell a bit yuck as far as I'm concerned; if I want to wear a scent, I'd rather use a perfume or body spray. Conventional deodorants tend to "cover up" smells more than prevent them, so by the end of the day you end up smelling like deodorant and sweat. Crystal body deodorant naturally kills the bacteria that reside in your pits and cause the stank. Your body enjoys the freedom to sweat, and your nostrils (and those of the people around you) and not assaulted with BO.

In short:

5 stars – Get on it! These things are good for you, good for the planet, and good for the hip pocket. The best thing is they really work! Perspire away, you won't smell bad!

Healesville Sanctuary 

Healesville Sanctuary

Well worth a visit!

It may be tempting to think that a trip to Healesville Sanctuary, a relatively small zoo of native Australian animals, is unnecessary if you’ve been to Melbourne Zoo in the city. After all, the city zoo has things like kangaroos and other native animals there. But there is more to the Sanctuary than you might think, and upgrades made to the facilities over recent years (and continuing now) have made it a wonderful place to explore and relax.

The Animals

Koala sitting in tree eating leaves Aussie icons abound at Healesville Sanctuary. Emus, wombats, platypus, kangaroos and wallabies, and koalas, of course! You can catch the koala show at 1:30pm when the koalas wake up for lunch, and the keepers talk about koala life while feeding them and maintaining the enclosures. Also at 1:30pm is the platypus show, where you can learn some cool facts about platypus (did you know their bill is actually soft and rubbery? I didn’t, until the platypus show!) and have the chance to see one up close.

Paths meander throughout the park, weaving amongst native bush and branching off to different enlcosures. Keep your map handy as you find your way around to features like the reptile room, lyre bird forest, Tasmanian devils, dingoes, and so much more. See goannas, weird and wonderful insects, a possum that can run across windows like a ninja, and even bilbies! 

Don’t miss the Birds of Prey show at 12pm and 2:30pm where you’ll see parrots, a hawk, and the star of the show, Jess the eagle. The keepers move about behind the audience, calling the enormous, powerful bird across the arena so that she flies so close you could reach out and touch her – if you dared! [Don’t touch the eagle, please]

Two wallabies

Education

As well as the various talks and shows that happen each day, there are a number of educational features. There is the wildlife hospital where you can actually watch procedures being performed on sick animals, as well as a whole imaginary play area for children to test out the veterinary skills. Dotted along the paths and exhibits there are informative signs that will tell you all about the animals, the land, and the history of the area. Zoo staff are always happy to answer any questions you might have. 

Food and fun

If you’re feeling peckish or just want to sit and have a cuppa, there are 3 different cafes in the Sanctuary! Two are kiosk type things serving coffee and snacks. Harvest Cafe is a large venue with indoor and outdoor seating and they supply everything from coffee, chips and pies, to full cooked meals. I tried the Roast Lamb Pie at my last visit and it was SO good! The prices are reasonable, too; Harvest Cafe has become my new haunt when I’m feeling cooped up with the kids. 

Speaking of kids – my little one *loves* playing in the sandpit at the big playground. She has fun scurrying up the steps to the giant birds’ nest, crawling through the wombat tunnel and slipping down the slide. When she’s older she’ll probably enjoy the ropes course nearby. There’s also another, smaller playground in a different area which is more like your typical council playground, with a slide and obstacle course, etc. 

Shop

The souvenir shop is big and full of exciting things. Plush animals, plastic animals, hand puppets; magnets, stationary, regular souvenir fare; clothing, tea towels, bags; indigenous wares – I haven’t even seen everything they have because there’s just so much! It’s well worth a look on your way out. 

In Short

Five stars – Healesville Sanctuary has become a world class zoo with plenty on offer for young and old. I love that we live close enough to just pop in when we’re feeling bored at home. With a cafe for me to grab coffee from, playgrounds for the gal to expend some energy on, and those beautiful animals to wander amongst, it’s always a fantastic experience. [Well… so long as the kid isn’t in a feral mood, but that’s not to do with the zoo!]

Rafferty’s Garden Organic Banana Porridge foil sachets

Image of Rafferty's Garden organic banana porridge product packaging

Image taken from raffertysgarden.com.au

Rafferty’s Garden Organic Banana Porridge

It could have its applications…

I like to try new products, and with an 8-month-old to feed, that often means trying out new baby food products. Rafferty’s Garden has long been one of my go-to brands as I trust them to provide wholesome food without any unnecessary additives, and because they offer organic baby cereals.

This product offers their organic banana porridge in 8 individually foil-wrapped portions. To make up the porridge, you simply add water, breastmilk or formula to the desired consistency. The porridge itself is fine – it’s easy to make up, my baby enjoys it, and it is fortified with iron. The average supermarket price is around $3.50.

The packaging itself is, in my view, probably unnecessary. The only advantage it offers is that you could chuck a packet or two in the nappy bag. The trade-off for this convenience is extra packaging that cannot be recycled, set portion sizes that may or not match your baby’s appetite, and less product overall than is in the larger pouch products. Also, it’s a small thing, but the easy-tear feature is a small vertical slit in the top of the sachet, which makes it hard to tear a suitable opening – a horizontal tear option would be easier.

In Short:

3 out of 5 stars – the product itself is great, but the packaging is overall more of a hindrance than a convenience
Try it out if you’re looking for baby cereal that is easy to chuck in the nappy bag

Nescafe Coconut Latte – special edition instant coffee sachet

Image of Nescafe Coconut Latte product packaging

Image sourced from woolworths.com.au

Nescafe Coconut Latte

Surprisingly tasty!

I have to admit, when my 2-year-old chose Coconut Latte from the Nescafe instant coffee sachet range, I wondered if letting her choose was in fact the best way to stop her tantrum. Did I really want to try this seemingly unholy blend of coconut and coffee? Not really. Nonetheless, I chucked it in my daughter’s tiny trolley and decided to brave it.

I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried it! After my initial misgivings, it turns out my twonager had done me a wonderful service. This cuppa is a treat for the taste-buds: creamy, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, and that coconut flavour works PERFECTLY with the coffee!

I’m not keen on the regular price of the Nescafe coffee sticks – around $6.50 at the major supermarkets – so I look out for the half-price specials. When I ran out of sachets, I actually bought myself some coconut milk from the long-life aisle and made my own. Not as creamy, I’ll admit, and I miss the bit of foam on top, but a decent fill-in.

Given that this is a special edition, I will have to stock up next time they go on special, because my mornings just don’t feel the same without them!

In Short:

4 out of 5 stars (because at the end of the day, it is instant coffee, and I’m willing to bet there’s a hipster cafe out there who can make a better coconut latte)
Worth a try if you like coconut flavoured things