Me and my girl and boy, raising awareness and acceptance of autism

Archive for the ‘Sensory’ Category

Saving money and helping the environment with an Ecoegg – Product Review

How much do you spend on laundry products a week? A month?

It’s not cheap is it. The tablets we use work out at £2 a week, they’ve recently jumped in price to £3.35 a week. Multiply that by 52 weeks and that’s £174.20 a year (excuse me whilst I fall off my chair!)

Factor in the sensitive skin issues that my family all have – a telltale itchy rash will appear very quickly if the incorrect laundry product is bought – the fact that the children’s sensory issues may mean that clothing can smell “wrong” and the chemicals released into the water during a cycle all mean that I was on the lookout for something new and cost-effective to try.

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I was delighted when ecoeggo.com agreed for us to give an ecoegg a trial.

Here’s some information from the website:

“I’m Kim Woodburn, celebrity Queen of Clean, best known for my time on channel four’s “How Clean is Your House” and ITV’s “I’m a celebrity”. Ecoegg specialise in manufacturing a range of eco-friendly cleaning products and I am proud to endorse them. Ecoegg are revolutionising the way people wash their clothes all over the world.

Ecoegg products are all:
• Kinder to your skin
• Kinder to the environment
• Kinder to your pocket

Change the way you wash your clothes, for less.
The ecoegg laundry egg is saving people so much money up and down the country!

The ecoegg laundry egg is the revolutionary new way to wash your clothes. It completely replaces washing powder or liquid and is just as effective but will save you so much money.

The ecoegg laundry egg lasts for up to 720 washes. For the average family that does 4 to 5 washes a week, it’ll last for 3 year’s worth of washing. Imagine never having to buy washing detergent for the next three years – think of all the money you’ll save!

– Saves you so much money – never buy washing detergent ever again
– Hypoallergenic – great for sensitive skin, supported by Allergy UK
– Eco-friendly – great for the environment, no harsh chemicals, far less pollution

Easy to use
Simply place the Ecoegg laundry egg on top of your laundry in the drum of your washing machine and wash as normal – no washing powder or liquid needed.

It’s not magic – it’s science
The Ecoegg laundry egg is packed with our unique scientifically forumlated, hypoallergenic cleaning pellets. These pellets naturally activate in the water to gently lift away dirt and grime, without using any harsh chemicals.

It works – it’s proven to remove dirt and grime
The ecoegg is scientifically proven in one of the UK’s leading product test laboratories to remove dirt, grime and stains.

Hypoallergenic – great for sensitive skin
The ecoegg is supported by both Allergy UK and the National Eczema Society.

Fragrances now available
The ecoegg is now available in either Soft Cotton or Spring Blossom fragrances, in addition to the original Fragrance Free option.”

The one (ever-so-slight!) problem I had is that I currently don’t have a working washing machine so we not only tested the ecoegg but also someone else’s washing machine!

So, how did we get on?

I tested the ecoegg on a 30degree fast wash. The egg is placed on top of the washing, inside the drum and the pellets inside the egg “naturally activate in the water to gently lift away dirt and grime”.

And they did! D has a habit of wiping her hands down her clothes when she’s eating (as does T), despite having wipes nearby and being requested to use them, I think it’s involuntary. Consequently, clothes get marked and of course, Mr Bluecrisps is a manual worker – painter – so his clothes get sweaty and dirty as a matter of course.

I wasn’t sure whether the combination of ecoegg, rapid wash and low temperature would produce results, but they did! Obviously for more soiled/heavier items, I’d use a higher temperature and longer wash cycle but I’m confident of success.

A big bonus for us is that we’ve had no sensitive skin reactions and the egg is fragrance-free so no sensory issues either.

The egg is refillable and the pellets are available from the original point of purchase (click here for stockists).

As a price guide, the ecoegg (54 washs) we were sent (which should last the average family for three months) is available from Argos at £9.99, with refills at £6.99, a vast improvement on price and environmental impact.

The eggs are also available in 210 wash and 720 wash sizes, with dryer eggs available too.

It’s the sort of product you wonder if it will work, then – due to environment and sensory issues – are so grateful it does.

The egg needs to be kept out of the reach of children, as with any laundry product, the twist-off refill mechanism being easy to operate.

Disclaimer:
We were sent a fragrance-free 54 wash pack ecoegg for the purpose of this review, my views are my own.

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Ranty Friday – why don’t people FLUSH

It’s not difficult is it? Finish whatever you’ve just been doing…and flush. “Leave as you’d wish to find” as my Grandma would say.

If we’re out in town or at the local shops, D will usually “hold on” until we get home – and I’ve started to notice T does that too – the public toilets are “too noisy” – with their hand dryers – and “too smelly” – I think with the air fresheners and products they use.

It is a rarity for D to use a public toilet, or even one at school. Does that make me feel good, knowing that it must be hurting her? No. Does it speed up the process at which we whizz around places, not wanting to have an “accident” as soon as we’re through the door? Of course.

She wanted to “go” earlier, decided she couldn’t wait until we got home. Very rare. We went in a public toilet…and whoever had been in there before hadn’t flushed.

The sight, the smells…all too much.

That took a lot for her to decide to brave it, now put off completely.

Thank you so much whoever that was.

MummyBarrow

Linking up with Mummy Barrow for Ranty Friday.

Approaching Puberty with Sensory issues – Product Review

My two – very individual but with similar issues – children are approaching puberty. They’re in that pre-teen or “tween” period, where I’m starting to notice that they need a little more assistance with their cleansing routines.

Both T and D have sensory issues and sensitive skin – the latter they’ve inherited from me – and so any additional products used have to be as natural and scent-free as possible, but effective.

We’ve been trialling out products from two separate companies over the past few weeks and here’s our reviews below:

Firstly from Keep It Kind (KIK) we reviewed a deodorant range designed from 8-14 year olds.

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Here’s some information from the website:

“Kind2Skin Limited, the company behind the Keep It Kind (KIK) deodorants was formed in 2011 with the primary goal of producing naturally based deodorants that provide effective odour protection for the pre-teen and early teen age groups. Not only was it essential to create a brand that parents could trust, but at the same time we wanted to design the range so kids would also want to use them… not an easy task, but we have done it!

With over 20 years of pharmaceutical experience our founders discovered that there was a huge need for a kid’s deodorant range that simply wasn’t being filled. Therefore they spent several years working closely with leading scientists and laboratories, developing what we believe is the ‘best in class’ range of deodorants that are formulated for younger, sensitive skins and are free from any potential harmful chemicals.

Our ultimate mission is to create a natural based range of personal hygiene and skincare products for kids aged 8 to 14 and we continue to research and develop new products that are ideal for the new youth generation.”

The priority for me, as a parent, was the sensitive skin issue, together with the fact that there was no obvious scent to the product. Quite simply, if the deodorant had a strong scent, T and D would refuse to use it.

The fact that the deodorants are free from aluminium, parabens and alcohol are also bonuses, the products have not been tested on animals either.

T is very active with all his sports and D – who is approaching puberty faster – has a sports-filled week at school.

The deodorants have worked well for both of them, with no after effects sensitivity-wise.

The deodorants are available in Boots Stores nationwide and online at boots.com. RRP of £2.99 for the Fresh Kidz roll-on, other variations available.

Disclaimer: we were sent two roll-ons for the purpose of this review.

Secondly, D and I have been trialling products from Green People, a company recommended by so many people when I had a specific cleansing query associated with the onset of puberty – spotty backs.

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Here’s some information from the website:

A pioneering brand established in 1997, Green People is the leader in certified organic body care products. With an extensive range of natural products – shampoos, face creams, sun lotions and body washes to name just a few – it is one of the biggest names in organic beauty in the UK.

However, it was started by a mother simply wanting to help her young daughter:

In 1994, 2-year-old Sandra was suffering from eczema and severe allergies. To relieve her obvious distress and itching, her mother, Charlotte Vøhtz, decided to get to the bottom of the problem.

Getting to the root of Sandra’s allergies: personal care products

Charlotte discovered that many of Sandra’s skin allergies were linked to chemical-based household and personal care products. This is because exposure to toxic chemicals causes a build-up in the body which can lead to allergies and sensitivities. Although steroid-based treatments were suggested, Charlotte did not want her daughter’s skin to be exposed to such harsh chemicals and decided to look for natural skin care products instead.

However, when she started looking into what some of these products contained, she was dismayed to find that even those advertised as ‘natural’ could contain up to 99.9% synthetic chemicals.

Charlotte says: “From that moment, I realised that we all are children of the chemical age and that man-made chemicals found everywhere, combined with changing dietary habits, profoundly affect us all”.

Did you know?

1 in 4 people now suffer from skin sensitivities or allergies
100,000 tonnes of man-made chemicals are used in so-called “natural” and “organic” cosmetic products each year
Up to 60% of a substance can be absorbed through the skin
Synthetic chemicals entering the skin bypass the liver and go straight into the bloodstream. They are not degraded unlike chemicals in food.
Many of these chemicals are known to be harmful in isolation
Synthetic chemicals accumulate in the body and are stored in organic and fatty tissues causing a cocktail effect that can lead to eczema, allergies and immune disorders
She was so impressed by the difference that her natural methods and home-made natural skin care products had made that she thought she should share her discoveries with others. So Green People was born.

“With a nursing background, knowledge of herbal medicine, and more than 11 years of experience within the pharmaceutical industry, I decided to take action,” she says.

Green People are committed to offering products that are natural, gentle, organic and highly effective.

We will maintain our quest for excellence, creativity and innovation at all times, and will not compromise the quality of any Green People product.

None of our formulations or products are or ever have been tested on animals and most of our products are registered by the Vegan Society. All of our products are approved by the Vegetarian Society.

We believe that you have a fundamental right to know exactly what is contained in the products you are buying and therefore give full ingredient disclosure on all of our products.

We also support charities with related environmental concerns and each year 10% of our net profit is donated to charitable causes linked to ‘green’ or environmental issues.

The Green People team is a small group of dedicated people all working together for a healthier future and a less polluted world.”

The first product we tried was the Shower/bath gel suitable for sensitive skin, retailing at £9.95 for a 200ml size.

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I’m very impressed with this gel, a little does go a long way! There is also no scent and it can also be used as a facial wash as well as a bath/shower gel.

The fact that it has no scent means that it can be used without affecting D’s heightened sensory awareness. I’m noticing an improvement already in her back after a couple of weeks.

We were also sent a Scent-free Cleanser and Make-up Remover, which retails at £9.95 for a 50ml bottle.

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I’ve been using this for a couple of weeks and have had no adverse reactions. It’s applied in small, circular movements and then washed off. Removing cosmetics easily.

Greenpeople.co.uk also do a scent-free sensitive skin range of sun care products, I’ll be stocking up on those for when the good weather arrives, we’ve all reacted to sun care products in the past.

Disclaimer: we were sent bath/shower gel and cleansers to review in a very funky green gift tube.

Bunny takes over the blog!

Psst! It’s me, Bunny. Don’t tell her…that Mumma woman, I’ve snuck on because I.Am.Cross.

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(That’s me looking cross by the way)

I am D’s comforter, her anxiety tool, her best toy ever. Go on, ask her who is her favourite toy and she will say me, guaranteed.

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We go everywhere together; D moves to another room in the house, I’m there; school, outings and bedtime I’m always with her. If she’s drawing/reading/playing I’m tucked safely under her armpit, ready to come out and be cuddled. I’m special and I know it.

So why, in the name of everything cuddly, has she (that Mumma woman) been onto eBay and brought these?

I mean, does this one look as loved as me? Does it?

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And, as for this, she totally got the measurements wrong!

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*sniffs* I can’t be replaced, I just can’t. These other Bunnies are all well and good but I’m the original, the best.

She (that Mumma woman) has started carrying one around in her bag, she’s said to D that it’s something to cuddle and love if ever I’m dropped (what?) and during the time they’re searching for me. How can I ever be replaced?

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I’m Bunny, the original and the best and D couldn’t be without me, simple as that.

This YouTube clip, this Toy Story segment, says it all, 2 minutes 20 seconds in. I DO see everything and I’m NOT being replaced!

Squease inflatable deep pressure vests – Product Review

Recently we were offered the chance to trial a Squease inflatable deep pressure vest – click here to visit their website.

“Squease is an inflatable deep pressure vest that is hidden away inside a hooded top. No weights are used; hug-like pressure is applied to to the upper body simply by inflating the vest with air.

The vest is lightweight and may be worn by itself or zipped inside a Squease hooded top, making it discreet and mobile.

The vest is inflated by squeezing a hand pump, allowing the wearer to regulate and apply soothing pressure in everyday situations that may lead to anxiety, stress or sensory overload – whether that is at home, at school, or on-the-move.

For people with sensory processing difficulties such as many people with autism, who find dealing with change, busy environments or contact with other people to be highly stressful, applying pressure to the upper body may be calming, increase body awareness or improve attention and focus.”

These two YouTube videos explain how the Squease vest originated and how it works – click here and here to view. These are two separate films.

My first impressions:

The vest is incredibly light when deflated and because it works by squeezing an air pump (which if you have the Squease inside the hooded top option) is very discreet to inflate and deflate. The two pictures below show first a deflated and then an inflated vest.

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How does it work?

Firstly set-up your pressure vest over a t-shirt or vest whilst standing. Fasten the Velcro side-straps so that the vest fits loosely, Squease recommends leaving a gap of one or two finger-widths between the front of the vest and the body.

To inflate the vest, simply squeeze the hand pump until the desired level of compression is reached on the upper body.

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To deflate, press the air release button at the top of the hand pump and the vest deflates quickly and discretely.

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The benefits we found:

D mastered the act of inflation and deflation quickly. I had to prompt her to inflate it when we were out-and-about in a busy environment and anxieties were emerging, but the compression benefit was instant and she likened it to “receiving a bear hug from you, Mumma”.

I really like the idea that the vest can be zipped inside a Squease hooded too, with the hand pump fitting into a pocket slot.

The Squease is available in a variety of hooded top/without hooded top colour and size combinations – click here to visit the online store – and the company are planning to introduce child sizes shortly, but to give an idea of adult sizing, the adult small fitted D very well, the Velcro straps enabling a perfect fit.

The vest (and optional hooded top) can be rented or purchased outright and a VAT relief scheme is available:
“If Squease garments are purchased for personal or domestic use by a chronically ill or disabled individual or are made available to a disabled person or persons for domestic or personal use, then we may supply the products at zero-rated Value Added Tax (VAT).

When you purchase an item online questions are asked through the checkout process assessing whether VAT is required. If you wish to pay by cheque or bank transfer then please fill out the form on the right and post it to us or email it to us.”

The company also offers a “Trial
before you buy scheme” – click here for details.

Would D and I recommend it?

Yes, definitely. So many weighted products are extremely beneficial but naturally extremely heavy, the Squease is lightweight and discreet.

I like the idea of trialling one first too.

Would we buy one?

Absolutely.

I’ll end with some pictures of a very happy D, wearing the vest. She instantly relaxed and felt the benefits and it’s something I’ll be looking to purchase once she’s finished her current (rapid) growth spurt.

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Thanks for reading, comments/RTs/shares as ever welcomed.

Disclaimer: we were sent a Squease vest to trial for a few weeks. No payment was received and our views were our own.

Bionsen deodorants – Product Review

One of my reasons for having two blogs – the autism awareness blog and the lifestyle blog – was that certain products and posts would fit better on one than the other, this product fits nicely onto both.

Having sensitive skin myself and a daughter who’s skin is even more sensitive, plus her sensory issues, I was pleased to be asked to trial these:

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Bionsen have created a hypoallergenic-approved formula using “vital minerals found in the volcanic spas of Japan (known as “Onsen”), long prized for their ability to nourish the skin and keep it healthy.”

Well, D and I have been testing these all week with no sensitive-skin after effects. There is a very faint fresh-smelling fragrance to the deodorants and she’s worn it during the day at school during PE etc and I’ve worn it during the heavy-buggy-pushing school runs, it passed the test! I’m confident that once I start my sessions at Curves, it will also keep me fresh.

How the deodorants work (taken from the website):
“Bionsen is specially formulated to be naturally protective. Using natural minerals, Bionsen effectively neutralises the bacteria responsible for bad odours, and it keeps them at bay all day long.

Using natural minerals
Spa minerals have long been regarded as highly nourishing and protective for the skin. These natural minerals are found in volcanic spas (known as “Onsen”), and include elements of zinc, copper and manganese. For centuries, the Japanese have recognised the health-giving properties of these minerals and even today, continue the ancient tradition of bathing in mineral spas to nourish and soothe skin.

How Bionsen works
Bionsen is a deodorant, so it doesn’t stop your body from sweating like an anti-perspirant sweating is a natural cooling and detoxifying process needed to keep the body healthy. Bionsen simply prevents bacteria from growing and is as effective at neutralising body odours as the leading brands.

Bionsen is aluminium and paraben free. It’s dermatologically tested and its hypoallergenic formula is perfect for even the most sensitive skin.”

I’ve been trialling the pump spray bottle (and it’s a gentle spray, unlike the sudden harsh sting of an aerosol) and D has been using the roll-on. I like the thought that both are paraben and aluminium free too.

The RRP for the roll-on is £2.35 and £2.75 for the pump spray, both are now available in Morrisons as well as Boots and other leading supermarkets plus online at www.bionsen.co.uk.

Having an ever-growing daughter who has sensory issues and related anxieties, it’s good to know we’ve found a product that suits her.

Disclaimer:
We received a roll-on and a pump spray deodorant for the purpose of this trial.