Novel on its way, free Mother's Little Helper book, baby apple pie recipe. I'm very excited to be heading to Waiheke today, where I am going to final


Novel on its way, free Mother's Little Helper book, baby apple pie recipe.

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I'm very excited to be heading to Waiheke today, where I am going to finally sit down and prepare my novel for publishing. Some of you will be aware that I finished my first novel five years ago and then failed to find the confidence to publish it.
My friend Nicky Pellegrino, who writes fabulously successful novels, has been gently nudging me to do something about it, so I got it out and had a read.
I have to say I was okay with it and it had been so long that I had actually forgotten a lot of the plot and would finish a chapter wondering what would happen next and then remind myself that I wrote it so I should know!
It is a chicklit/thriller which follows the path of a journalist who becomes a magazine editor and has two romances to deal with during that time. Then she loses her child on the overnight train from Paris to Venice, has a breakdown and stays living in Venice, becomes involved with a gorgeous restoration architect and works through her grief, which also means she becomes a nicer person. Then one night at dinner in Paris she sees her daughter - 15 years older but definitely her. Then things get complicated.
I wrote a lot of the novel in Venice and the picture at right is one I took while I was there and I think it will be my cover.
Fingers crossed I'll have it ready to go in a few weeks. I'm going to launch it as an ebook and then print a few copies off for Christmas gifts to sell on my website. So I'm not being too ambitious but it will be nice to have it out.


More vacuum bag ideas

The thing I love about the people who read this newsletter every week - that's you - is the wonderful feedback I get with great ideas.
Last week after I shared my brilliant idea of taping up vacuum bags with gaffer tape to recycle them several of you emailed to say you just fold the edge over a few times and seal with bulldog clips, which work really well.
And a couple of you shared this device, which is a cyclonic dust separator. Another person told me about a device called a turbo tube which you get from Godfreys which basically siphons off a lot of the pet hair and dust and therefore your bag lasts up to nine times longer.
I'm thinking of getting one as the contents of my vacuum bag is 90% pet hair at the moment!

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More baking soda beauty uses

I've also had a lot of feedback on using baking soda for your face and body. Here are some tips shared by readers:
* a tablespoon of baking soda mixed with a squirt of Cetaphil cleanser is the best exfoliater you'll ever get.
* my 15-year-old son used baking soda on his face last week. He noticed an improvement in his skin overnight and after a couple of days it was almost blemish free. He had been looking for natural remedies to clear his pimples before a stage show and was extremely pleased with the results and the fact that there were no chemicals involved.
* Mix baking soda with top quality apple cider vinegar to use as an all over body scrub, not just for the face.
I have tried this and it works. I have very sensitive skin and it does not irritate it at all. I love how it leaves the skin really smooth and clean. I use it once a week or more often when I remember in the shower as an all over scrub and about three times a week on my face, usually at night after cleansing and follow with a moisturiser......which is sometimes coconut oil or Jojoba oil.

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Flies in winter

Am I the only one to still have flies in my kitchen in the middle of winter? Normally we don't have to worry about them until the weather heats up but obviously we have some cold-resistant fly variety in Auckland.
I received an email with a picture of this unique way of keeping flies away. Apparently a zip-lock bag of water with some coins in it is enough for them to be deterred from coming inside. The theory is that millions of molecules of water presents its own prism effect and given that flies have a lot of eyes, to them it's like a zillion disco balls reflecting light, colours and movement in a dizzying manner. When you figure that flies are prey for many other bugs, animals, birds, etc., they simply won't take the risk of being around that much perceived action.
I'm going to hang up a bag this weekend and see if it works, let me know if you have any luck. We could finally have found the non-chemical way to keep flies out of our homes. Thanks to Jean for sending it in.


Free book with baby wipe kit

It's been ages since we put any baby products on special so this week we are offering a free Mother's Little Helper book worth $19.95 with every baby wipe kit sold. So for just $29.95 you'll get our all-natural baby wipe solution, a plastic cube with a lid you can open one-handed and a free book. This would make a great gift for a first-time mum or maybe you've always wanted to have a go making your own wipes but couldn't find the ingredients? Our wipe solution is made out of preservative-free rosewater and witchhazel - all you have to do is add the kitchen towels or the cloths.
To find out more about Mother's Little Helper click here. And to buy this kit and get your free book click here. Offer only available this week - it will close at 3pm next Thursday.


Shop has it's own Facebook page

For those of you living in Auckland who like to visit our shop now and then, we're pleased to announce that it now has its own Facebook page. Every week we'll post the special of the week and other bits and pieces that are happening in the shop. So like our page and make sure you don't miss out on any special events and specials. Click here to go to the shop Facebook page.



My friend Angela sent me these photos of a coat she had been given which was covered in holes made by moths while in storage. It is a Rosaria Hall coat and Angela desperately wanted to wear it, so she took it to her friend designer Liz Mitchell who came up with the brilliant idea of taking some fabric from the hem (the coat got a little shorter) and using it to cover the moth holes with leaves. I think it looks terrific and Angela thought it might inspire someone else to revive a moth-eaten garment


Kai Carriers

Sometimes Daniel decides to stock something in our shop without asking me. Which is fine because he has great taste and always stocks just the right products for our customers. This week we welcome Kai Carriers which are food pouches you can fill with home-made food such as yoghurt and fruit and send off to school or daycare safe in the knowledge that you know exactly what your children are eating. And then you can clean and re-use. They sell for $3 each and you can buy them in packs of 10, 5 or 3 at our shop and online here.

I've put their recipe for Creamy Apple Pie as my Weekly Recipe - scroll down to see it.

Changing your email address

At last count there were more than 10,000 of you receiving this every week. It's lovely to know how many of you enjoy reading what I write. But, some of you need to change your email address and unfortunately with this new system there is no easy way to do this. But emailing me means I spend quite a lot of time changing all of your email addresses! Instead please unsubscribe clicking the link at the bottom then resubscribe on my website home page on the left. I'm sorry it's not a litte easier.

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Come in and take a look at our shop at 356 Gt North Rd, Grey Lynn (opposite Elgin St and the Caltex service station). And save those empty containers and bring them back to our shop for a refill. Daniel or Sam will be happy to fill them up for you and take $2 off the price as well. We love recycling and we love you for it. Don't forget all our online specials are also available in the shop and we have a full range of Dr Bronner's products. For shop details click the picture (above) of the shop.


Has the rain brought slimy paths to your house? You need to sprinkle some of this soda ash on them, dampen with a hose then leave it. The slime will turn brown and will be gone. It's that simple and one $11.95 pottle will last you for ages. Click on the picture (above) to buy or call into our shop.


This week we are offering a free Mother's Little Helper book worth $19.95 with every baby wipe kit sold. So for just $29.95 you'll get our all-natural baby wipe solution, a plastic cube with a lid you can open one-handed and a free book. This would make a great gift for a first-time mum or maybe you've always wanted to have a go making your own wipes but couldn't find the ingredients? Click on the picture above to start shopping.


Creamy Apple Pie - from Kai Carriers

1 cup prepared baby cereal or baby porridge
100g Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp apple sauce or stewed apple
dash of cinnamon
Blend cereal, yoghurt and apple together adding a dash of cinnamon.


If you are new to this newsletter welcome, and thanks for signing up. I am a former magazine editor who left her highly stressed life and came home to tend a garden, some chickens and slowly discover a life free of chemicals and based on old-fashioned principles. I send this newsletter out every Thursday at 3pm (NZ time) and parts of it go onto my website blog page.I share recipes, tips, ideas and links to information about living a chemical-free life.

You can also find lots or recipes, tips, ideas and even knitting patterns on my website at and you can also shop here for my natural laundry, cleaning and baby products or my books.

Talk to me
I love hearing from you with your ideas and feedback so that I can make this newsletter and my website even better. Please contact me: - for any inquiries re recipes, household hints, living a chemical-free life. for any inquiries about using the online shop page, finding our retail shop or order problems. - for comments on this newsletter or if you would like to share something.

You can read my Agony Aunt and Nana's Pantry columns in the New Zealand Woman's Weekly and my Wendyl Wants to Know column where I analyse the ingredients in processed foods on Saturdays and The Supportive Wife column on Fridays in the New Zealand Herald. I also have regular radio slots on NewstalkZB with Mike Hosking on Fridays at 8.10am and with Jack Tame on Saturdays at 11.15am.

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