I discovered a couple of good things recently I thought I'd share
1. washing balls
I purchased these from http://www.livesimply.co.nz/ after doing a bit of reading about them. ( in case you are wondered - no sponsorship , just things I like) You just chuck 1 or 2 of them in the machine depending on the size of the load. Based on the estimates from the website I think I will save almost $150 NZ a year on washing powder. So far they have been great - no powder marks on the clothes and even quite dirty mountain bike gear comes out clean. I thought they might rattle around in the machine a bit but they don't seem to.
I bought the started kit which came with the stain remover and a refill for the ball , stain remover seemed to work pretty well too. I think I'm sold on these .
2. Smooze ice blocks (http://smooze.com.au/) Coconut milk and fruit ice blocks with no artificial colours or flavours - dairy free, plus a whole lot of other stuff . I try to make our iceblocks but sometimes just don't get around to it so I bought a pack of these the other day. The come in packs of 10 mini blocks which has a pretty decent shelf life and you just freeze them when you get home. We got the mango flavour and they have been a hit, so I plan to keep some in our freezer for summer. ( I got ours from a local food distributor , I am guessing they will be in main supermarkets too.
3. Labonic sunblock ( http://www.labonic.com/). I have been looking for ages for a good "natural " sunblock. I am very aware that I slather sunblock on my daughters fair skin in large quantities over summer and the standard ones seem to be drying out her skin .Also when I did a bit of reading about the content I was keen to find one without parabens, retinyl palmitate amoungst other things. The few I have tried just haven't been effective until now. This is an spf 30 and I really like it, when you first rub it on it seems quite thick and greasy but after a few minutes it is all absorbed and with no residue evident on the skin surface. It seems effective so far although I have only used it this past week. The down side is the tubes are quite small - 50mls so I imagine we will go through a few. They make a stick and a roll on so I thought I would try the roll on as imagine this will be good for putting in my handbag etc.
Skinnies sunblock ( http://www.skinnies.co.nz/) is also really good spf30 sunblock and really nice to put on, goes a long way and works well. It does contain avobenzone but other than that ingredients seem all pretty good.
I've also tried Oasis Sun and natural instinct sunblocks which were both ok but I found them a bit greasy and harder to apply on my 5 yr old with a big dislike for any skin cream. They also left quite a white residue which I didn't really like either. Although my oasis one is near expiry date so the new ones may be better. I have to say the skinnies one is by far the easiest and most pleasant to apply but I like the feel of the labonic one a lot too.
Hope you find something in this mini product review useful - I know a bit of a random post in the midst of my usual craft rantings.