Locally-made Natural Organic Suscreen

I had meant to write this review, what seems like, a year ago, but then life got in the way and my blog has mostly gone unloved. But, now it is heading in to the warmer seasons again, I’m reminded almost daily that I need to write this up!

Greenfoot Mama is based in the Northern Rivers, on the coast. She makes a line of organic products and is passionate about decreasing carbon footprints, living holistically and helping nature while becoming more attuned to nature and living ” naturally”.

‘The key focus was to create an indulgent choice of organic products that protect and nurture, whilst providing an array of holistic qualities without damaging our bodies or our natural environment.
Respecting and preserving our precious oceans whilst honouring our bodies with safer products is where Green Foot Mama is at.
It’s been such a pleasure creating produts, I hope that you love them too!’
– Olivia

Now, BallinaGirl has some weird genetic throwback that has given her a lovely light olive complexion. But, BallinaBoy on the other hand, is the definition of pale. I have used this product on both of them, and myself and the first thing I have to say is I love the smell!! I actually had one of her first tubs that didn’t have her new labelling on it before this new batch, and loved it too, but I find this one to be even better.

The main reason I love this (other than the smell) is that I can pronounce the ingredients (well, the unscientific names for them anyway) and actually know what they are, and while it isn’t ideal, I don’t have to be scared of the kids eating it (which has happened with other creams!).


I have used it at all different times of the day, and have found that it works best when applied 10-20mins before you get to the beach, particularly for outings during the ‘UV danger zone’. Nothing scientific behind this reasoning, I have just found this works better for BallinaBoy. Also, reapplying a lot more often than those “4 hour waterproof” sunscreens you get in stores (we also make sure he has other sun protection on too, as this sunscreen alone does not stop the burn on him during the peak UV times). I’ve been caught out a few times, getting home from the beach with BallinaBoy looking a bit like a tomato. But, luckily you can also use the cream as an after sun balm, and it still smells good then too.

It can feel a bit oily when first applied, but still feels a lot better than normal store bought sunscreen. It feels lighter, like your skin can still breath. It feels good for your skin, like it is moisturising it at the same time. It doesn’t have that thick sticky feel when you are trying to apply it either.

It seems to work great for BallinaGirl, and have often considered giving the preschool the tub for her to use there, but I think I’ll have to get a new tub for us before I can do that.

If you want to get your hands on some, you can purchase some from her website (which seems to be currently undergoing some renos), through her facebook page, or you can email Olivia.. Or if you’re local to Lennox Heads, I believe a few stores stock it too!


Swimming Lessons in and around Ballina

I have tried three different places for swimming lessons in the area, and BallinaGirl has attended all three. For her, I found they differed and had positives depending on age, her swimming ability, and her developing personality.

Lennox Aquatic Centre ( 128 Newrybar Swamp Road, Lennox. Head )
They have a great set up for babies and young toddlers. BallinaGirl attended when she was a baby, and again when she was a toddler. It was really good when she was a baby, but we couldn’t afford to continue the lessons. They have a small pool that is extra warm so they stay comfortable the whole lesson and don’t get a rude shock with the water temperature (which can affect their relationship with the water). They do a similar pattern each week for learning, with lots of songs and “actions”. I would highly recommend this one for parents with babies. From their website, they start from 3 months old.

Ballina Swim N Gym (behind the cinema at Ballina Fair)
This is Ballina’s only indoor pools. We tried this when BallinaGirl was younger, but found the water to be too cold for our liking (although was fine for my aqua classes I did during pregnancy). We went back again for an Intensive Swim Program for the kids over the school holidays to help catch them up, and they were pretty cold by the end still. BallinaBoy particularly complained of the cold, although the air within the pool are was quite warm. It was quite good that the pool was a bit deeper than what they usually learn in, so were able to practice swimming without the ability to stand easily in the water, which was a plus, although BallinaGirl spent most of the lesson swimming around the platform in the water than actually paying attention to what was going on. These classes seemed to be the cheapest of all.

Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre ( 50 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah )
Attending the swimming lessons at this pool were the best solution for us. Although I preferred the baby swimming lessons at Lennox, BallinaGirl loved the swimming lessons here (started about 2.5years old). They have games, she loved her teacher, and after a few lessons, was quite happy to go off with the teacher without us being in the class also. It also helps that the pools are a lot of fun to play at afterwards, with a dedicated toddler pool and slide, as well as the main pool having a slope to walk in to (similar to a beach) with access to the pool toys they use during their lesson to practice with in the shallows. She has wanted to stay there all day, she loves it so much there, we’ve had 3 of her birthdays there!
The travel time does make it a bit of a drawback, so I try to arrange for anything that might have to happen over that way to coincide with the swimming lessons.
As for BallinaBoy, he is still a bit on the fence with the lessons here, I think in part because of the timing of the lessons we had, as well as him not being confident in the water, nor away from me. I am contemplating trying him in the Lennox ones this semester instead, or as well as.
GSAC has also won awards for their swim school, swimsations, at a National level, which is pretty impressive.

Contact details for the pools are as follows:
Ballina Swim N Gym – (02) 6686 8299
Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre – (02) 6625 5370
Lennox Aquatic Centre – (02) 66 878 800 (or Tricia who runs the lessons on 0404156195)

Update: I have had a few friends attend and/or enrolled and waiting to attend swimming lessons in Bangalow. The pool looks like it has an amazing outlook, looking out over the Byron hinterland (a friend posted a photo of her child there which made me want to know more!) and is run as a private business. For more information here is their website and you can contact them on (02) 6687 2911. They have water babies classes through to stroke correction classes for older children. They also offer swim intensive programmes during the school holidays.

Life Factory Glass Drink Bottles

I bought some of the Life Factory Glass drink bottles from our local GoVita after seeing them there. I actually got the big one first (600mL), and after consulting a friend who had purchased the kids ones, I ordered in the little one (200mL). 

We had a couple of stainless steel drink bottles that I felt made the water taste like metal by the end of the day, so this seemed like a great alternative.


I really like that you can see the amount of liquid you have in your bottle, I like that it doesn’t take on any taste, and I also liked how resilient it has been. It’s been dropped a few times and is still going strong, although the lid has got a few scratches and dents on it as it’s made out of plastic. 


The way the flip lid works means you can get to your beverage quickly, but it can be a bit hard to drink out of. I’ve found drinking it, what seems, sideways seems to help as it can allow airflow in so you can have a large drink without it feeling like it’s trying to suck your face in. 

The large bottle comes with a little handle you can carry your drink from, or use to grab it to pick it up easier. I’ve used it many times, but my butter fingers, I think is what has caused it to drop so many times too.


The little kids bottle I found a little hard to get used to at first. You need to make sure the lid isn’t tightly screwed on when your little one (or you) want to drink from it, to allow airflow, which in turns allows the water to come out of the little hole easier. It still needs a fair amount of “sucking” to get a good drink out of, so usually if I need a drink out of the kids, I just remove the lid completely as I like to guzzle down a lot of liquid when I have a drink. The kids bottle isn’t completely leak proof, but I have found if you have the lid screwed on tight, it’s better than some of those other (little) kids drink bottles’ spouts. This means you need to loosen the lid for a drink, and tighten it again before you pop it in a bag. 


With the little kids bottle, you can also use it as a “baby bottle”, I had a teat and ring set that matched it, and have used it many times to give some milk to my littlest. It’s much better than using some of those plastic bottles!


The downsides of these bottles seem to be that the 600mL bottle doesn’t fit in to normal cup holders. This means you have to have it either rolling around on the floor in the car, or left on your passenger seat if no one is sitting there, which leads me to the next problem. I’ve also had issues where I’ve either not closed the flip lid completely or, it’s been knocked slightly and has leaked without my knowledge, which can happen quite quickly! I’ve ended up arriving at my destination to discover my passenger seat, handbag, and all the other stuff I sometimes keep on my passenger seat saturated as my newly filled bottle has leaked it’s entire contents. The flip lid can seem to be knocked open while rifling through your bag too, so I try to keep it upright to avoid issues. The other issue I have is, being either pregnant or breastfeeding for he past few years, means I can drink some serious amounts of water during the day, and while running around with the kids, means that water (especially filtered water!) isn’t always around to be able to refill your bottle. 600mL was the biggest bottle I could get, and to get my daily water intake I’d have to fill it 5 times, at least. 

Something to consider with the kids one is that some young kids like to throw their drink bottle around, and with a glass one, this can present some safety issues. I haven’t had a problem with ours breaking, but I have had moments where I thought the throw from one of my kids would end in disaster.

Another downside is that they are quite expensive, and have gone up in price since I purchased them, so much so that my local GoVita decided not to stock them any more (I found out when I went back to get another kids one). So now, my “reduce reuse recycle” side of me now also uses old glass alcohol bottles to store water in. This glass doesn’t seem to be as robust, or maybe it’s because it doesn’t have a sleeve, but I’m definitely more careful and aware of these glad bottles than I am of my Life Factory bottle, and would not give these to my kids. I usually just refill their bottles (or mine) with my recycled (upcycled?) glass bottles.