Sunday, 13 November 2011

Stay Safe During Christmas

Photograph by Lisa Clarke.
Well, Christmas is almost here again! How the year has flown. Time to get the cards sent out, work out the gift list and the menu, put up the tree and decorate the house.

This time of great joy and celebration means having extra cooking and food preparation, entertaining family and friends, flaming brandy Christmas
puddings, no spare power points because of all the lights and tinsel decorations everywhere.

As much fun and as beautiful as it can all be, this time of year can also bring with it an increase in the risk of accidents, injuries, fires and burglaries. I thought I would share a few safety guidelines with you to make your Christmas season safer.

With a house full of visitors to look after it is easy to get distracted. One of the leading causes of house fires is unattended cooking. Try to keep an eye on what it is you have in the stove or the oven to avoid the risk of fire.

Let your visitors know what they need to do if there is a fire in the house and explain to them your exit points and where to meet up should a fire occur.

You may have little visitors whose behaviour patterns you are not familiar with, so please :

Put matches, lighters and other dangerous objects well out of reach

Store dangerous chemicals and cleaners out of reach or ensure that you have safety locks on the cupboards.

Put medications away in a locked cupboard or container well out of reach.

Remove medications from bedside tables if you are in the habit of keeping them there and secure them in a safe place

Put your handbag well out of reach if you keep things like cigarettes or medications in it

If you have a swimming pool, ensure that the gate is secured and if children are swimming, that they have adequate adult supervision

If you have guests who are smokers, designate an area outside of the house where they can smoke, making sure it is well away from non-smokers and children

Provide deep ashtrays or containers filled with sand that also has a lid with a slot for smokers to dispose of their cigarettes. Cigarette butts can be toxic to small children  


If you are purchasing gifts for children make sure that they are age-appropriate and that they are not dangerous.

Read labels to make sure that they are not made from toxic plastics.

Check the toy for sharp points or edges, small parts that can be swallowed, strings or cords that could cause strangling if the child wraps it around their neck.

Be careful not to leave ribbons and scissors laying around after you have finished wrapping gifts to prevent a child from injuring themself.

Don't advertise to burglars what gifts you have purchased by leaving empty containers or packaging outside the house. Unfortunately Christmas time is an opportunistic time for thieves to rob houses and vehicles, so please be security conscious and don't leave items around that might entice someone to commit a crime.


Photograph by Lisa Clarke
Some families have heirloom ornaments and decorations that get passed down through the generations.

Be aware that some of these may be painted with lead paint and should be kept out of the reach of small children.

Do not use indoor lights to decorate outdoors as that is not what they are designed for.

If you are buying an artificial tree check to make sure that it is fire resistant and also that it has a safe base so that it does not tip over easily.

Make sure you turn the lights off on the Christmas tree before you go to bed. They can short and catch fire and very quickly burn and cause severe damage or even loss of the house.
Check out this video to see just how quickly a Christmas tree can cause serious damage if it catches fire.

By observing a few simple safety precautions you can be sure to have a very safe and happy festive season.

Cheers and good health to you

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sustainable Hemp - Natural & Versatile

Photo with permission Industrial Hemp Association of Qld Inc
Today I thought I would write about sustainable hemp.  No, it is not the "far out man" raid the refrigerator type of hemp LOL.

I have seen hemp products in markets before and have never really taken much notice because I felt kind of strange about it.

Then on facebook I saw this page  Cloth Nappies at Sustainable Hemp Products and it peaked my curiosity.
Gorgeous Nappies
To my surprise there were nearly 2,500 people, lots of them Mums, clearly supporting this page and purchasing the hemp nappies (diapers) and other products made from hemp. I checked out their website and was quite amazed at what I found.

Sustainable Hemp Products are all about trying to contribute their bit towards sustainability and reducing carbon footprints. They have all kind of clothing for babies and toddlers, personal care items for women and other products made from either industrial hemp, bamboo, organic wool and organic cotton, or a mix of materials.
Breast Pads

When you look at the picture above of the hemp crop and then look at these beautiful items it is hard to believe they were made from this material.

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They also have their own label, "Born of Nature"and manufacture a range of baby, toddler and children's clothing, nappy (diaper) accessories and women's cloth menstrual pads made from hemp and organic bamboo.

No....I am not a shareholder, nor do I get anything for writing this....I simply love the whole ethics behind this business and admire their efforts to bring to the world safe and natural products that will not harm our children or ourselves while at the same time not ravaging the earth to do so.

Hemp Oil Deodorant

It is great that businesses such as Sustainable Hemp Products are making safer alternatives in clothing for our babies. Regular clothing and disposable nappies are so full of toxic chemicals that it is unbelievable they are allowed to be sold as items to be worn next to baby's sensitive skin.

According to Jack Shiffert, executive director of the National Association of Diaper Services (NADS), disposable nappies are,  "composed of a bevy of chemicals, including chlorine bleaching agents and organic compounds (VOCs) such as toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and dipentene which have been linked to cancer and brain damage."  Disgusting isn't it.

I came to the realization I had this completely misguided belief in my head about hemp being a 'hippie thing'. 

I did a lot more research about hemp because by now I was getting quite fascinated by it all and I found out that they can use this sustainable annual crop for food, oil, insulation, bio-composites, personal care products, clothing, paper and more. The great part is that it is totally hypoallergenic and biodegradable and it can be grown without having to use toxic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

I found these really interesting historical facts about hemp:
  • The first American flag was made from hemp
  • George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp
  • Thomas Jefferson actually drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper
  • Ben Franklin owned a mill that made paper from hemp
  • The original Levi heavy-duty pants that were made for the California 49'ers were made from rugged hemp sailcloth and rivets
  • Rembrandt and Van Gogh painted on hemp canvas

I also found this video incredibly interesting as it went through all the different things that hemp is used for. It really opened up my eyes and my mind.

I really hope you enjoyed learning about hemp and its different uses as much as I did. I really found it to be a fascinating subject and I am glad that I checked it out.

Wishing you much health & happiness.

123RF Stock Photos