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5 simple, natural and effective tips to get your house smelling lovely

5 simple, natural and effective tips to get your house smelling lovely

People often say that me and my house have a certain smell – I assume they mean a good one! 😜 

Seriously though, they do, they say it smells fresh and clean and earthy! I’ll have to take their word for it because I can’t smell it myself – but that happens with scent doesn’t it, we get so used to it that we no longer notice it?

I’m going to give you some clever ideas, aside from the obvious ‘flowers on the coffee table’, to ramp up the scent in your home, the natural way!!

Clever little tips

Tip 1 – add a few drops of essential oils to your fabric softener

Hopefully it’s this homemade version, made from vinegar and salt! I use eucalyptus and lemon mostly, and whenever the rinse cycle starts, everyone knows about it (even if this natural scent doesn’t last on your washed clothes).

Tip 2 – Add essential oils to an old sock

When drying clothes in a clothes dryer, add a few drops of essential oils to an old sock (or any sock really). It really transports a beautiful (natural) scent through your home.

Tip 3 – Use Banksia pods!

Get a Banksia Pod and place one in each room you want a soft, gentle aroma. I get mine from here (and you can get a discount with code: Krissy15). You simply drop oils into the little hole on top and let them do their thing. They’re also super cute, don’t you think? Or, another idea is to grab a cinnamon stick, and drop some essential oils onto it. Cinnamon is the obvious choice here, but orange is also lovely. Then, hide these sticks on bookshelves and window tracks, in drawers and wardrobes, topping up as you feel like it.

Tip 4 – Get a Simmering Scent Pot going!

This recipe is from Naturally Inspired, my book with 125+ recipes and tips for natural DIY, but I’ll give you the basics. Simply fill a large saucepan with 1 litre of water and things like apples, oranges, limes and lemons (quartered), cinnamon quills, star anise, cloves and vanilla bean pods, then simmer on a stove, topping up with water as required. It smells DIVINE (trust me!!). And it is a good way to use up any extra, or old fruit you may have lying around!

Tip 5 – Make up a bottle of room spray

You have a few choices here: fill a little spray bottle with rosewater and spray away (no need for essential oils); or you could add 2 tbsp water, 2 tsp alcohol (the highest proof you have, the better) and 40 drops of essential oils of choice, to a small 50ml spray bottle, then shake well (before every use) and spray as required.

What do you think? Simple and achievable?

Just because you’ve made the decision to ditch the toxins, doesn’t mean you can’t smell delightful! Gone are the days where we rely on nasty fake fragrances squirting out of automatic plug-in systems to ‘freshen’ the air. Yay! 💪

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

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Converting recipes for thermal appliances and microwaves

Converting recipes for thermal appliances and microwaves

So, you have a thermal appliance in the house and you’d like to use it to make my recipes?

The good news is that many of my recipes (unless they’re super-dooper easy) already have a thermal appliance method listed.

Recipes that have been written specifically for kids don’t. Why? Because I found that the simplest, and often safest, way for kids to make my recipes is the conventional way!

But, I am here to help you with some tips to convert recipes, just in case you want to use your thermal appliance!

Top tips when converting recipes

Weighing 

While ingredients can be weighed straight into the bowl, I prefer separate digital scales, as they are the most precise, especially for small quantities. You can pop the thermal appliance bowl on the kitchen scales and weigh in the ingredients that way.

Melting 

Keep the temperature between 60-70 ˚C and on low speed.

Mixing 

I recommend low to moderate speed.

Blitzing and Milling 

This will need to be done at the highest speed.

Kneading 

Most thermal appliances have a special function (or attachment) that will come in handy when kneading.

Extra tip

Be sure to use the little cup on the lid of your thermal appliance when mixing and milling to prevent the ingredients from escaping.

What about a microwave?

If you choose to use a microwave to melt your ingredients, just keep your zapping to short 15-20 second bursts, on the lowest power setting.

Check the ingredients and mix (as you would when using the conventional method) each time.

Please, don’t stand too close!

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

Keeping ants outside – naturally

Keeping ants outside – naturally

I’m sure most people want to live in harmony with nature’s creatures, big and small, but ants are often an exception for many of us.

Seeing their endless black trails from the smallest of gaps in your flooring, and having muffins (left on the bench for what seems like 2 minutes) engulfed by an army of tiny black soldiers is enough to spark genuine rage!

I feel awful killing these guys, and we actively step over ant trails when out walking, but I certainly do not want them in my kitchen!

Did you know that ants are very successful little creatures, with more than 10,000 known species? The ants you see rushing around are the workers; they are wingless females that never reproduce, but instead, forage for food, care for the queen’s offspring, work on the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties.

Doesn’t that make you want to deter them, and not kill them?

Why are ants coming inside? 

To survive, of course, as is what motivates all animals.

Ants smell food, and in dry biomes, they’re also chasing water. Sometimes their nests get flooded by heavy rain so they look to make their nests elsewhere.

The solution to keep ants out of your house should be relatively simple:
1. Prevent them from coming in, and
2. Not be their MasterChef kitchen.

Here are some tips on handling some of earth’s smallest little creatures:

Results will vary depending on so many factors, including the type of ants, how well you actually clean versus how well you think you’re cleaning, whether wind or rain destroys your best efforts at barrier control…

If your chosen method doesn’t work first go, don’t give up, try again (or another natural method)! You got this!

Block them

Follow ant trails to their source of entry. It will likely be a crack in a wall, loose window frames, or power outlets. Seal the crevices with putty, glue, or plaster. Failing an opportunity to permanently seal off their golden gateway to your home, pour a few drops of peppermint oil onto a piece of cotton wool or cloth and carefully wedge it into the crevice.

Deter them

It’s a handy fact to know that ants are repelled by cinnamon, black pepper and garlic, so sprinkling these around entrance points may be useful. Peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils are natural insect repellents – just add 10 drops of essential oils to 1/4 cup of water/vinegar to a spray bottle, then spray and wipe down surfaces to keep your home smelling fresh and ant-free. You could also diffuse these essential oils.

You could try filling a spray bottle with water, liquid castile soap (½ tsp for every ¼ cup of water) and peppermint essential oil (10 drops of peppermint for every ¼ cup of water) and spray around their entrance.

Apparently, ants don’t like chalk so try drawing (quite thickly) near entrance points (for ants) – I’m sure the kids will love this one!

Coffee grounds, lemon juice and diatomaceous earth have also proven successful for some members of my Facebook discussion group.

Don’t feed them

Like many animals who live in a modern world, ants just love sweet and fatty food, and water! By making the following tips normal practice in your home, you will definitely reduce the temptation for ants to make their way inside.

🐜  Clean your kitchen after mealtimes.

🐜  Eat in one place – crumbs between sofa cushions and between your sheets make your home oh-so-tempting for ants.

🐜  Store food in airtight containers, and ripe fruit in the fridge.

🐜  Clear out lunchboxes straight away after kids return from school (and maybe shake out their school bags too!).

🐜  Wipe down benches, rubbish bins, and the sink with a mixture of half water/half vinegar. Ants can smell vinegar once it’s dry, while we can’t, and they don’t like it.

🐜  Ants can track down leaking taps. Inspect your bathroom pipes and household taps regularly. Don’t leave pools of water around.

🐜  Leaving your pet’s food bowl in the middle of a moat will indeed keep ants out of the bowl, but the smell will still attract them inside your house. Consider feeding your pet then cleaning the bowl straight away afterwards.

Kill them

Use equal parts borax with equal parts sugar, combine into a paste and place near the cracks where ants are entering. This concoction is delicious to ants and should kill them (no doubt it’s the sugar!). Best to keep the borax-sugar mix away from tiny humans.

Pouring boiling water may also be effective at killing ants, but some nests are very deep so you may not be killing them all.

Let’s hear it for the ants

They are wonderful earth companions. They will kill cockroach nymphs, spread the seeds of native plants, and break down waste in your garden. As talk amps up about the need to protect our earth’s biodiversity, ants will certainly be the heroes in this discussion. If you see one or two in your house and it’s a Sunday afternoon and you’re feeling chill, give them a name and thank them for all that they do for our beautiful planet. Then clean all of your surfaces because they came in for a reason.

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

Running my business – the tremendous highs and necessary lows

Running my business – the tremendous highs and necessary lows

A question I get asked a lot is: how did you do it – start your business, keep it running, make it successful?

Well, ain’t that the million-dollar question!

I’ve answered hundreds of questions individually, and it has been on my to-do list for a long time to put a blog post together (after all, I am a sharer!). But, I’m kinda glad I dragged my heels on that one because now there is a podcast episode for you to listen to!

The awesome team, Amanda and Kingsley, at Journey To Happiness reached out recently and asked me to be the first guest on their brand new podcast show, Heart Driven Hustle. Usually, I’m asked about toxins and natural DIY (and I love that!). But I won’t lie, it was highly refreshing and exciting to have the chance to discuss the business aspect of The Inspired Little Pot and my journey so far.

So, if you’re keen to learn about how I started (social media, websites, lounge room-workplace) and what happened along the way that influenced my decision making (consumer needs, gaps in the market, competition), then this is a must-listen!

I’d truly love to know what you think once you’ve had a listen. And I’m happy to answer any other questions you might have!

Enjoy x

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

Wash your face with oil

Wash your face with oil

You’re sick of oily skin and breakouts. You’re tired of dry and flaking skin. You no longer want to use commercial products that strip your skin of its natural goodness, sending who-knows-what down the drains.

Well, if the oil cleansing method is not already on your radar, then read on because this, my friends, is a game-changer.

What is the oil cleansing method anyway?

In a nutshell, you wash your face with oil.

Yep, that’s right, wash your face with oil. It may seem unusual but stay with me. I personally have very oily skin (it’s not all bad news – I figure I’ll have less wrinkles as I get older🤞).

Since I started oil cleansing, my skin is clearer, smoother, more supple than ever! No longer am I using harsh ingredients on my precious skin, something I did a lot in my teen years.

Who remembers the stuff that would bleach your towels and pillowcases? I’m cringing even thinking about it; how is this stuff even allowed to be sold?

Many mainstream skin care products contain some very questionable ingredients. (Read more about the ingredients I think we should all be looking out for and avoiding if possible, here). These ingredients can strip our skin of nourishing oils, send the microbiome into chaos, damage the sensitive cells on, and beneath, the surface, and the list goes on.

We only get one face and we need to take good care of it.

How do you oil cleanse?

It’s soooo easy!

Just massage a small amount of oil into your face (a few minutes is ideal but I often settle for 60 seconds!). Then, run a washcloth under warm/hot water, wring it out and use it to gently wipe away excess oil. Repeat if needed, until your face doesn’t feel greasy.

It’s okay for some oil to remain – simply massage it all in. There is no need to tone or moisturise afterwards.

Which oil should you use?

Honestly, olive oil is the simplest, cheapest and best choice for most people, but combining it with avocado and castor oil is even better! You really could use any oil you have handy, don’t overthink it.

As for essential oils, totally not necessary but frankincense and lavender are divine for the skin.

How often should you do it?

You can use this method every evening, or just once a week, it’s really up to you. In the morning, following an oil cleanse the night before, I usually wash with just water, then moisturise (or apply this sunscreen).

If you want to alternate between oil cleansing and another natural face wash, you might like to try this face wash, toning afterwards with good old apple cider vinegar (diluted with water 50/50 if you like, but I don’t usually bother with watering it down these days), and then moisturise with something like this.

I’d love to hear from you if you’re already doing this, or plan to give it a whirl after reading this post!

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

Septic systems: your questions answered

Septic systems: your questions answered

I’ve been getting quite a few emails recently regarding septic systems, and whether natural DIY ingredients, like citric acid and bicarb, can be flushed into them.

As I don’t have one myself, I’m pretty green in that area so I had to do my research. I decided to have a chat with a local septic system installer who was so helpful and more than happy to share his knowledge with me. If you’re reading this and know something I don’t know, please leave a comment or email me and I’ll be more than happy to explore further.

What is a septic system?

Basically, it’s a personal waste treatment system. It consists of a tank under the ground that collects your household waste. It is typically used by people on properties that aren’t connected to ‘town’ waste treatment systems. A healthy septic system relies on bacteria to feed on, and decompose waste matter. If you’re after more info on septic tanks, check out this link from Australian Govt. Dept. of Health.

In order to maintain a healthy septic system, basically, all that should be flushed into them is human waste and toilet paper. That’s it. But let’s be real, who does that? At the bare minimum, I’m sure dishwashing liquid, washing powder and shampoo would be making its way into most domestic septic systems.

What is septic safe?

You can buy products that are ‘septic safe’ but are they ‘human safe’? I wish more people asked that question… Many ingredients in the ones I’ve seen raise my eyebrows, that’s for sure. If leading a natural life and removing toxins is a priority for you, you’re probably using recipes like my natural Washing Powder and Liquid, Dishwashing Tablets, and Toilet and Shower Cleaner, sending ingredients like citric acid, bicarb, washing soda, vinegar, borax and castile soap down the drain and into your septic system. Is that allowed?

Well, according to Septics and Soakwells WA, yes, it’s ok. Natural, biodegradable ingredients are best because they won’t destroy the bacteria in your soakwell, but that doesn’t mean you should go and pour a bucket of vinegar down the toilet. Normal (light/average usage) amounts should be fine; it’s all about balance.

Call and ask!

If you’re still worried, call your installer and ask a few questions. It’s worth it! Have them test your system to assess its health (preferably before and after you make the switch to natural products – that’s the best way to find out for sure). I once had a lovely member of the TILP Facebook community tell me that her septic servicemen congratulated her on the health of her system – and guess what? She only ever uses my recipes. Yahoo!

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.

Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website The Inspired Little Pot.

 

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