The Environmentally Responsible Educational and Lifestyle Company

Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Logo with the Claire Lewis mission statement Making it cool to care about the Environment.

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The Facebook Cover, one of the ever changing looks with the mission statement.

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I hope you guys think they are as cool as I know them to be. Thanks to the very talented Ben McDonald for interprting my thoughts so well.


Malones of Dublin – Environment Kind Cleaning Products that not only help the planet but also asthma suffers too!

Reviewing products that embrace the Claire Lewis philosophy of being environmentally responsible is always a treat, especially when it is one of Irelands oldest companies – 100 years and counting.  Malones of Dublin have created an excellent range of cleaning products that do just that, CLEAN!!

Malones are best know for their furniture wax polish, which I knew about because my Dad has raved about this since I was a child. Not just a nostalgic product Malones has progressively developed a range that so importantly gets rid of chemicals from cleaning products and helps the environment in return. When we spray a cleaning product the amount of particles that become airborne as a result is incredible, we all have experienced the cough inducing reaction from a harsh chemical cleaner. Imagine what a chemical that shifts limescale from your shower will do to your internal organs & airways!!? Not worth thinking about, this is why I am so eager for every one to change  from chemical based cleaners to environment kind cleaners.

Malones is the only company in Ireland that has recognition from the Asthma Society which is good news if you are one of the 470,000 asthma sufferers in Ireland. The ingredients are chemical free and non toxic, so as I mentioned previously you will not experience any harmful reactions when busy cleaning. Just good mood inducing smells and a clean house made from essiential oils  lavender – what more could you ask for, besides someone else doing the work for you!

The Malones Environment Kind range is very good value and is stocked in all the large supermarkets, but will also be available in hardware stores nationwide. So it is a product that can conveniently be purchased as part of the weekly shop, great news for busy mums! One thing that struck me when reviewing the products was how cleverly thought out they all were. Not being sexist here, but if I hadn’t  already know, I would have said they had to have been developed by not only a woman but a busy working mum!! And yes indeed Liz Waters, director of Malones and mum to a family of four had the brilliant idea in developing as Liz says herself ” a range of products that were safe to use around my children and my home, smelled gorgeous, but really worked and were affordable”. Little things like the spray and mop wooden floor cleaner works a treat, smells heavenly and is so convenient.

The products that I reviewed from the Malones Environment Kind range were:

  • Malones Natural Floor Wooden Cleaner; great for cleaning wooden floors that need a good soaping. The liquid creates a lovely soapy consistency and is great for washing down wooden surfaces and doors.
  • Malones Spray and Mop Wooden Floor Cleaner; I used this last thing at night when the dogs were put to bed a light brush of the wooden floors and quick spray and mop. Very convenient and one that I found very useful especially if you have wooden stairs in the home. The essential oils come through of lavander and smell devine.
  • Malones Tile Cleaner; this is an amazing product especially formulated for the Irish damp climate it dries in minutes! For bathrooms, kitchens, porches anywhere there are tiles and in a busy house a product that cleans effectively and dries quick is a God send!
  • Malones Antibacterial All Surface Cleaner; loved this product especially with a toddler in the house. I used this for cleaning my bathroom, kitchen, car pretty much every where and smells of uplifting orange. Good Mood Cleaner 🙂
  • Malones Window Cleaner; very good product at making mirrors and glass shine with no nasty chemicals used, great news to my ears.
  • Malones Lavender Wax Polish; as I mentioned previously my Dad loves this product he always kept a few tins at home and on his boat. So if its good enough for my Dad then its good enough for me. With no build up of residue it leaves a lovely shine, free from solvents and silicones.
  • Malones Rose Wax Polish; same great results as from the lavender but smells of Damask roses.

Malones of Dublin have got the product right now its just up to you to go and review for yourselves.


I am on a two week holiday staying in Ireland, one week in Crosshaven, Co Cork where I spent holidays as a child and the second week in Kilkee, Co Clare. The weather is nothing to rave about nor does it give you a tan or even a freckle or two! It does however get you out and about on walks and adventures no time to sun bathe.

I am an Earth Scientist which is comprised not only of geology but lots of other sciences. On my first week a lecturer named Betty Higgs announced to us that when we have completed this course we will “never look at the world in the same way again” – this is true! I have become nosy, how rocks ended up in that position and why we are having colder winters and wetter summers. Geology for those unsure is the study of rocks and the processes that shaped the earths solid core. It is a useful science seeing as we all place or feet on the ground every day of our lives and it lends itself as an amazing hobby because every where in the world has rocks!!

On the first leg of my holiday we stayed in my parents summer home where the beach is a stone throw away. I have walked this beach thousands of times always noticing its geology, this time I took pictures and decided to write a piece on it, as many of you who will read this might learn a thing or two about a very familiar place, but those of you who don’t know this place it doesn’t matter because you will learn how to notice things you may have only passed by.

Graball Bay, Crosshaven, Co Cork has a number of different rock types most notably Old Red Sandstone but also mudstones and silt stones. The old red sandstone was laid down first during the Devonian period (geology has its own time scale) and at the time the land was a continental landmass not an ocean in sight!  More particularly the sandstones found here were laid down in a deepening hollow known as the Munster Basin.

The first trees, seed bearing plants and ferns were beginning to evolve around this time and corals were abundant in the oceans. These rocks are pretty old as the Devonian period started around 400 million years ago!!

When you think of how sediments were deposited, which over time go on to form rocks, they would have been layered like a sandwich in a horizontal 180 degree angle. Then ask yourself how do we see such twisted and angled rock like the picture above of sandstone in a 40 degree angle?

Stresses and strains cause rock to buckle and brake (fracture) and crumple into folds. To learn more about physical geology you can locate a well explained site here  I don’t want to overwhelm you with the technical jargon so if it is something that interests you well that is brilliant and go explore the internet and beyond. The fold you see here is tucked away under a cliff, very close to an area we call pegs. Not sure where the name comes from but as children we used to swim here all day every day. The fold is a syncline fold where the fold layers are warped downwards as a result of stresses known as compressional stress.

For those of you who never knew much about geology or ever gave it a second thought, knowing where and how our earth was formed is a very worthwhile hobby. I hope this piece has aroused even the smallest interest. It is a great hobby lots of places to see and so many people to meet through day trips and even excursions to amazing places such as the Grand Canyon a place where I plan on visiting one day!

So here is to Geology and how much I think it rocks!!


Have you ever stood at the bar and thought “eh, what would I like to drink?’ I have found the answer to my question. All natural Ginger Beer = Yummy Yummy!

I had the pleasure of enjoying an iced cold Hollows & Fentimans Ginger Beer in my local, ‘Cronins Pub‘ Crosshaven, Co Cork, yesterday evening. It was no surprise to me that I would like it as I love ginger and always drink ginger tea. The Pukka three ginger tea is a favorite! But I was surprised as to how refreshing and yummy this beer actually was.

It is botanically brewed using a time-honoured recipe that was passed on as a wedding gift in 1906! Made from only five ingredients: Ginger Root, Water, Sugar, Pear Juice and Yeast.

It is gluten free, there are no preservatives, sulphites or artificial sweeteners used in the beer. It also is available in a non-alchoholic variety which is very handy! The bottle is a nice size at 500ml and it has 4% alcoholic volume.

There are also some incredible health benefits from drinking ginger beer, more particularly the non-alcoholic kind!! Most notably is the effect ginger has at settling your stomach when you feel nauseated or experience indigestion, eh….. pregnant women listen up and read more for yourself here. All I can say is I am delighted to have discovered a drink with so many benefits and I can choose alcohol or not, very important as a mum with an early wake up call as I always found non alcoholic beers heavy and bloating. So yes in my opinion Ginger Beer = Yummy Yummy!


I am on holidays at the moment but the weather hasn’t been good at all 😦

We have a summer house a stone throw away from the beach but it is no fun sitting in the rain. Instead I have to think up ideas that can entertain young minds as a mother of a 2.5year old and the aunt to two young kids who are also on their holidays and live next door.

Today it was indoor Hopscotch! But with a twist…. of course the twist is to be as environmentally friendly as it can be and to also entertain kids for as long as possible – it was nearing my coffee break!! You can purchase the indoor floor mats with the numbers already on but these are bulky to store and aren’t as environmentally friendly as paper sheets and crayons. The DIY approach also is more entertaining and fun but they won’t take up much car space when going on holidays.

Hopscotch is a very common game played all over the world it was a favorite of mine as a child. It dates back to the 17th century in England and is thought to have been invented by the Chinese or Romans. It is a simple game to play and is easy for children of all ages to enjoy.

What you need for the DIY:

  • 10 sheets of paper can be colored or plain
  • crayons
  • Sello tape
  • an object for throwing like a shoe polish tin, bean bag or coin
  • lots of time & wet weather!! 🙂

 

Method for creating the course:

  • Draw out the numbers 1 through 10 on individual sheets
  • Stick the numbers in the sequence shown in my pictures to the floor. (1 on its own then 2,3 side by side and so on).
  • Make sure you pick a room that has ample space as there will be lots of hopping and jumping children and you don’t want any accidents!
  •  This is where the fun begins. Get the children to colour in all the numbers and make sure they colour every single one before the game of hopscotch can begin.
Method for playing Hopscotch:
  • Each child takes a turn of  tossing the object onto each number starting with number 1. The object must land in the square before the child can start
  • Hopping on one leg in the single squares i.e. 1, 4,7,10
  • Landing on both legs in the double squares i.e. 2&3, 5&6, 8&9
  • Turning on 10 and working their way back down the course
  • The object of the game is to skip the square that the object is in. But this can be altered depending on the skill and age of the children playing.
  • The players turn ends if they toss the object out of the squares, miss the numbers in sequence or fall over when hopping
  • The most important thing is to have fun and take turns.

 


I have always loved Kirstie Allsopp, she sums up what I love most, a unique style, arts, crafts, the country side and a beautiful homemade home. Kirstie is one of my top lady inspirations. I actually thought that she and Phil Spencer were married when they worked together on Chanel 4’s – Location Location! Kirstie has a wicked sense of humor and she is just herself, no one else. She follows her own interests and thats one reason why I like her so much she doesn’t adhere to the norm and she although I have never met her she seems like great fun. Also loving all her latest ventures especially the new bedlinen collection and M&S pretty collaborations.

A book that I go back to time and time again for ideas and inspiration is a book that was also a Chanel 4 series – Kirstie’s Homemade Home. It gives brilliant ideas from soap making to interior design and boy oh boy do I love getting knee deep in a project.

From a Claire Lewis Co perspective Kirstie shows ways to create things from scratch like beautiful cakes and how to decorate them. You don’t always have to go buy a cake there is a joy to behold when you start from scratch and DIY.

Kirstie also delves back into long since forgotten crafts like blacksmithing, glassblowing, willow-working. Not long ago every village and bourgh had a business that specialized in these crafts, if you needed something mended you sought out the local to do the job for you. These days we throw them “away” and replace them.

My favorite chapter is at the end and called ‘Search and find’ how to find hidden gems and where to find them. Not for the faint hearted as it covers auctions, markets, boot sales, the internet and skip diving! One mans trash and all that – loving the skip diving. I have been known to arrive at the door with a piece of furniture  such as a this sweet children’s chair that I re-upholstered with ribbon and made a cute little seat cushion. It cost me little or nothing and saved it from ending up in landfill and my purchasing a brand new one.

If you love beautiful things and creating bespoke designs for you home then this book is a must for your collection. Beautiful illustrations and lots of things to keep you entertained for years. Enjoy and of course thanks to Kirstie Allsopp for being Kirstie!


This piece is to create an awareness about the large number of animals on the WWF endangered animals list, some that you may not have ever heard of and sadly might not hear much more about.
Like this cute little guy!
I chose this animal because of the name it made me laugh and has a funny element to it. Most men I told about this animal looked at me and giggled – but when I asked them an hour later they all remembered the name.
When I set up Claire Lewis Co as an environmentally responsible education and lifestyle company my mission was to make it cool to care about the earth and have fun doing it. Well tough guys who didn’t really care about endagered animals took notice of this species all because of the name. The African wild ass!
It also is incredibly cute and I have never heard of this animal before. Lets hope we can create an awareness and help take this wild ass off the endangered animals list. It would be too sad to see it become extinct, gone, never to be seen again.