Growing up, “hippy” was a bad word. A lifestyle which embraced nature and sustainability was one that was scorned by my parents. We ate white bread, and sprayed fly spray around the house with abandon! The one concession to being “green” was our vegetable garden and that existed because of tradition and money savings rather than any leaning towards ethical or healthy choices.

And so I began my parenting journey with many of these prejudices still in place. I used soaps on my kids and cleaners around the house with no thought to how this might affect their health, or the health of the planet. 

Then Connor started getting eczema. Goodbye bubble baths and goodbye fruity smelly soap. Hello aqueous cream. Suddenly I was aware of all the chemicals that were a key part of my daily routine. 

So now when I cleaned the bath with Jif I’d spend ages (and litres upon litres of water) rinsing and rinsing and rinsing to get rid of the gritty, chemical residue. I’d spray my bench with cleaner and then wipe and rinse and wipe some more to hopefully get rid of the cleaner before I started to prepare food there.

About 6 months ago, I started using a homemade citrus and vinegar cleaner throughout the house. While it certainly reduced my anxiety about the chemicals my kids are interacting with, a lot of the actual “cleaning” was being achieved through elbow grease rather than the vinegar… and my house constantly smelled like vinegar. But, it was a positive step in the right direction and the amount of water I used while cleaning reduced as a result. Mother Earth is thanking me for that one!

Then Olivia discovered Second Nature Botanicals on Instagram, a fellow Kiwi mum with a desire to make better choices for the health of her family and the health of the earth by eliminating plastics and chemicals. She very kindly offered us some of her products and I leaped at the chance to get my hands on some Organic Cleaning Spray.

Before I get into how awesome this cleaner is, I need to talk about the smell! Oh! My! God!! I grew up with the Abel Tasman National Park on my doorstep. I’ve spent many summers visiting, tramping and camping in this park. The moment I smelled the Organic Cleaning Spray, I was immediately overwhelmed by warm nostalgia. I’m assuming it’s the Manuka oil in the cleaner because Manuka grows in abundance through the Abel Tasman, but whatever it is, every time I use this I’m transported to golden sands and clear blue oceans and carefree summers. I LOVE IT!!!

As a cleaner itself, it’s awesome! My most frequent cleaning challenge is yoghurt and cereal, dried hard and clinging strong to my placemats. This makes cleaning a breeze! (I’ve tried to write that sentence without sounding like an ad, but I can’t. This cleaner is just so damn good!)

The glass bottle and natural ingredients really put my mind at ease over how my product choices are affecting my kids and our planet.

I’ve avoided buying household products online because I’m inherently lazy. Why go through the effort of online shopping when I’m at the supermarket each week? I think that the answer is, because it’s the more ethical and responsible choice! Supporting local, supporting other mums, knowing who made the product and what’s in it… they all are worth the extra effort. 

When Second Nature Botanicals creator, Kirsty, first decided to ditch the chemicals, she committed to one product at a time. This feels manageable. Small steps towards a healthier family and a healthier Earth. Growing up, it may have been “alternative” to give thought to green and ethical purchasing, but as an adult, it feels right in my heart and in my mind. I’ve done one product and am so very happy with the results. My next will be laundry detergent, so if you can recommend a great, Kiwi-made, soap and chemical free laundry powder or liquid, let me know!

Olivia says…

Unlike Kat, I embraced my “hippy” side years ago. Sage, essential oils and crystals are all in common use in my house. They help me find balance and calm when my anxiety or the everyday challenges of parenting threaten to overwhelm.

A few weeks ago, we were up to our eyeballs in a 40 degree fever and snot galore. We had not left the house in 24 hours and cabin fever was at an all time high. 

A knock at the door jolted us from our slumps. A package from Second Nature Botanicals! It really couldn’t have come at a nicer time. With no plastic packaging it was a joy to open and find the Chill Me Out spray… and boy did I need chilling out!  

I instantly went for the smell test… things I’ve had in the past that have included a hint of lavender can often just smell like, well, lavender. It’s such an overpowering smell that it can almost be too much. To my delight the lavender wasn’t overpowering and I could smell the chamomile and cedarwood! So off I went, spraying all the pillows and linen in each room. It instantly felt like we had opened a window and allowed the fresh air to come in even though we hadn’t.

Every day I have sprayed the beds with the Chill Out Spray before the kids have gone to bed. It really adds a nice ambience for bedtime and Maya loves that her pillow smells like “outside flowers”. I love that I know she’s laying her head down on a pillow that’s smelling amazing without worrying about the chemicals she could be breathing in!

How great is it that it’s easy to find and support local businesses who also love the environment AND their products are great quality?!