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The Green Compass [Let it grow]

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“…the true value of argan oil can be appreciated by noting that it takes 15 hours to make just 1 litre of oil…”

Mariam’s (Founder of Marocaine) skin literally glows and her secret is pure organic Argan Oil (Certified by the United States Department of Agriculture USDA and the European Union EU). The young lawyer runs Marocaine on the side and there is no doubt in the magic that her nourishing product range provides to our skin and hair. She generously gave me and the girls a little goodie bag of products to try and to be honest, I have struggled to find a decent facial moisturiser that is good for me and is good for the earth – I can safely say, this is certainly it.

Argan oil is highly valued for its cosmetic, nutritional and medicinal applications. Renowned for its healing and moisturising qualities it is naturally loaded with antioxidants, essential fatty acids like linoleic acid and also has the highest concentration of vitamin E of any natural oil on earth, making it especially famous for its anti-ageing and restorative qualities.

*Marocaine Argan Oil is a certified Fairly Traded product and is not tested on animals. 

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The magic of Argan Oil comes from the iconic argan tree of Morocco. Argan tree groves survive for between 125-450 years making them a valuable inheritance for generations of Moroccan families.

Deep in the Atlas mountain range of South-West Morocco, the Berber women hand press the argan kernels in a collective called the South Western Women’s Cooperative.​

By working together, they are able to share their profits and in doing so, significantly increase the standard of living for themselves and their communities. As a result, many more Moroccan children have benefited from gaining an education and better healthcare.

The true value of argan oil can be appreciated by noting that it takes 15 hours to make just 1 litre of oil.

Amazingly, tree climbing goats play a major role in harvesting Argan Oil as they fetch the fruit from the branches of the argan tree, chew on the nut and spit out the kernel so that farmers can collect them for processing.

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[Ingredients: Sweet Almond Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Coco-caprylate, Jojoba Seed Oil, Benzotriazolyl Dodecyl P-Cresol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Limonene, Linalool Perfume]

On skin, Argan Oil will assist to alleviate: stretch marks, wrinkles & fine lines, scars, acne, dry skin, eczema, red blotchy skin and psoriasis.

On hair, Argan oil will improve: dry hair, split ends, itchy/flaky scalp, fly aways, dull lifeless hair and damage caused by colouring,

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[Ingredients: 100% Pure Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil]

DAILY USE ON FACIAL AREA

Benefits

Pure Organic Argan Oil is renowned for its ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines on the facial area (and indeed all over the body).


Application

Add one or two drops of Pure Organic Argan Oil directly onto face and rub gently across the skin. If you are more acquinted to using a favourite moisturiser, simply add a drop or two of oil into your existing cream and apply as normal.

DAILY USE ON HAIR

Benefits

Pure Argan Oil is the one ingredient in the argan hair treatments that make them so effective and have become so popular in hairdressing salons these days.

The problem is that these products contain a range of other active ingredients such as silicones and petro-chemicals. The good news is that you can use our Pure Organic Argan Oil to perform the same function with amazing results.

Use for dry hair, split ends, fly aways and for restoration after (and before) use with your straightening iron.

Application

Apply a small amount of Pure Organic Argan Oil to the palm of your hand, then proceed to apply to fingertips and stroke through the tips of damp hair.

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“A dual Moroccan and Australian citizen, Mariam gained her inspiration to share the little known treasures of Morocco whilst visiting there in 2011 on a trip commissioned by King Mohammed VI.

Motivated by injustices witnessed in the courts as a child, Mariam has dedicated herself to promoting the goodness of argan whilst ultimately seeking to raise the awareness of humanitarian issues worldwide.

Born to a Moroccan father and Australian mother, Marocaine has​​ enabled her to maintain an emotional and spiritual connection to her late father.

“Morocco is such a vibrant, busy place where the people still live and survive communally. The culture is filled with overt love especially amongst family and makes for terrific life long memories”.

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[Ingredients: Water, Emulsifying Wax, Almond Oil, Apricot Oil, Beeswax, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Stearic Acid, Jojoba Oil, Veg. Glycerine, Rosemary Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract & Orange Blossum]

USING ARGAN OIL AS A PRIMER BEFORE MAKEUP

Benefits

Absorbs quickly, hydrates quickly, calms aggravated skin, mixes well into most foundations without curdling

Application

Brush a thin layer of pure Argan on clean skin before applying foundation. Leave on skin for approx 30 seconds and it will absorb, and then apply makeup normally. Alternatively Argan can be mixed into a foundation on the palm of your hand to dilute makeup consistency or to create a dewy glowy affect on clean skin.

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ACNE, BLEMISHED, SCARRED SKIN

Benefits

Pure argan oil is ideal for aggravated or blemished skin because it has antiseptic and bactericide properties. Amazingly, argan oil naturally contains a sebum regulating action for oily skin.

Its high vitamin E content reduces recovery time by healing and preventing scars left by acne or surgery.


Application

Add pure argan oil to facials, exfoliates, or creamy cleansers to affect sensitive skin, acne or dermatitis. For surgery scars rub pure oil directly on affected area

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Visit www.marocaine.com.au to order some for yourself or click here to find your nearest stockist to purchase so you can feel and see the benefits of the wonders of Argan Oil.

[The Green Compass - Let it Grow]

*Disclaimer: All photographs in a bLANk’s ‘The Green Compass’ are taken by bLANk and rightly owned by bLANk

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Given the ubiquity of cosmetics and skin care products that promise to make you beautiful, it can be easy to forget that skin’s primary purpose is not to make you look good. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and plays a role as central to your body’s operations as your liver or kidneys. Among its many duties, skin assists in protecting the internal organs, regulates body temperature and helps eliminate dangerous toxins in the body. Accordingly, taking good care of your skin is of utmost importance as it is our first line of immunity.

We have all experienced it once or twice in our life time and vowed never to do it again – sun bake that bit extra or add another coat of baby oil, promised ourselves “I will never get that burnt ever again”. I was the talk of the town a few weeks ago as I was the reddest tomato in Melbourne, burnt to the core (Literally, my internal stomach lining had been affected). For someone being so health conscious and careful when it comes to her body, I forgot about one of the most crucial organs I have – my skin. It wasn’t that sunscreen was an issue or that it was an extremely hot day but the fact was we were out just that bit too long! I personally hate sun-baking, I get bored and can’t lay there when the water is metres from me being a water baby, so this dose of baking hit me hard!

After a road trip down to Barwon Heads, at the end of the day when we jumped in the car, Abbie just said “Oh my god Casey”. Cutting a long story short, I woke up on the Monday morning with an extra 7kg’s packed on due to the intense water weight and swelling from the sunburn. I suffered from severe sunstroke and couldn’t move or stand up straight for 8 days. Considering my stomach had not seen much sunlight, it got scorched, by scorched I mean I couldn’t even touch it, after my shower I got out and was already dry. My stomach was purple due to the damage on the insides and the story goes on.

Rubbing aloe vera everywhere, spraying soothers, using pure lavendar oil mixed with vitamin B plus eating loads of turmeric and purple carrots (Anti-inflammatories for my stomach), I then really understood the importance of my skin. I began to explore home remedies to ensure I didn’t expose my skin to unnecessary toxins and it turned into a small natural lab in my kitchen. By using natures gifts we then give our skin the purest of treatments.

“Medical research shows that significant amounts of cosmetic ingredients, including carcinogenic substances, penetrate the skin and end up in the blood stream. Many chemicals in cosmetics don’t cause obvious signs of toxicity on the skin but slowly poison us thorough repeated use.”

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Exfoliation Body Scrub – Contains Raw Rolled Oats, Organic Honey or Olive Oil, Vanilla Extract and Brown Sugar

The brown sugar in this combination exfoliates away all the excess dead skin without being too abrasive and with the addition of the honey or olive oil, the blend softens the skin and is free from toxins.

In a blender or processor add 1 cup of Oats, 1 cup of Honey or Oliver Oil, 1 tbsp of Vanilla Extract and 2 cups of Brown Sugar and blender until it becomes a thick paste. Store in a tight jar.

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Decolletage Nourishing Mask – Ground Almond Meal, Fresh Lemon and Organic Honey

This mask helps nourish the delicate skin of your decolletage (Neck and chest) , assisting in exfoliation and healing damaged skin. (Use this treatment once a week)

In a small bowl, mix together 3 tsp Ground Almond Meal, 1 tsp Lemon and 1 tsp of Organic Honey well and apply it to the surface of the skin.

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Coconut Skin Relief – Cold Pressed Organic Coconut Oil, Runny Honey and Coconut Milk

Before showering, massage the mixture into the body focusing attention to the dry areas. Rinse and dry softly.  This is deeply nourishing for the skin as it has anti microbial qualities so try not to use soap afterwards. 

Mix together 2 tbsp of Cold Pressed Coconut Oil, 1 tbsp of Runny Honey and 1 tbsp of Coconut Milk and apply to the irritated/dry skin.

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Pantry Pampering from around the world – INDIA – Turmeric is said to help detox and give your body a glow. People mix turmeric with almond oil and rub into the body and face, washing it off after 10 minutes . ITALY – Rosemary is a wonderful tonic for hair. Steep some rosemary in hot water with vinegar and let it cool and then use as final rinse for lustrous locks. FRANCE – Salt is popular and used as an exfoliant. Mix a tablespoon of high quality salt with a tbsp of olive oil for a winter skin slough. THAILAND – Coconut milk moisturises and softens then skin, pour a can into a bath next time.

“Remember: What you put on your skin – soaks in – use organic!!”- Miranda Kerr, Kora Organics 

50 Incredible Facts About Skin – Click here  

Re-use, re-invent, re-cycle – everything can be repurposed.

[The Green Compass - Let it grow]

*Disclaimer: All photographs in a bLANk’s ‘The Green Compass’ are taken by bLANk and rightly owned by bLANk

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Botanical Alchemy: Exploring the endlessly variable world of plant colour

“Dyeing with plants is a kind of botanical alchemy, a process that gives beautiful and sometimes surprising results. It is also a gentle and ecologically sustainable alternative to synthetic dyes, which are often harmful in themselves and in the processes used for their manufacture. Literally every plant has some potential for dyeing cloth.” – Eco Colour, India Flint 

I wanted a new pillow for my bed that represented natural, was cheap but still showed effective design. I got some left over material and stuffing, some beetroot tins out of the cupboard and bang, a few steps and theres a new pillow that ticks all my the boxes! This is the photo step by step process of my environmentally friendly bolster pillow!

DIY Beetroot Dyed Pillowcase Photo Step by Step Process

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1. You will need: 2 tins of Beetroot (Or fresh beetroot) – 1 tbsp Vinegar – String or Rubber Bands – Calico (Enough for the size of pillow you want)

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2. Cut as many 10cm pieces of string (or rubber bands) you want, depending on how tie dyed you would like your pillow to look. Bunch up the calico fabric and tie the string around it. Make sure you vary the sizes of them.

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3. In a big pot, add the beetroot juice from the two tins with the tbsp of vinegar. Put the pot on the stove on low.

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4. Put the tied calico into the pot and bring to the boil for 5 minutes. With a wooden spoon, make sure the entire surface of the material has been covered by the juice.

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5. Allow to infuse for approximately an hour. *Don’t forget about it on the stove (like I did!) because it will begin to caramelise!

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6. Squeeze it out and take off the strings.

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7. Hang it up on the washing line to try out completely.

Did you know that the World Bank estimates 17 to 20% of industrial water pollution comes from textiles dying and treatment?

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8. To ensure that the dye stays in the fabric, iron it extremely well. Be careful not to burn so you may need to iron over the top of something else. *Due to mine slightly caramelising, I had to rinse mine with water so the colour faded but it is still all natural and gave it a unique look.

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9. I wanted a bolster pillow but you can make any shape you want by sewing the edges together, leaving a slot to put your stuffing in.

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10. Once the pillow has been completely stuffed, sew the opening shut and you have a completely natural, homemade pillow to be proud of. I know I was!

Modern life surrounds us with a constant cocktail of toxins. They are in the food we eat, the cosmetics we apply, the household cleaning agents we use. The upholstery in our cars, home and offices gives them off, by building materials and even by our clothes. Synthetic textiles and synthetic dyes are silent contributors to ill health. Many commercially dyed textiles still shed colour after many rinses. Even so called natural dyes that have been fixed or enhanced with toxic mordants will inevitably disperse unattached molecules of indeterminate matter.

You can use anything – the scope is endless.

Ideas (Never ending): Foliage – Berries – Leaves – Bark – Roots – Flowers – Fruit – Sap – Logwood – Elderberry – Australian Indigo – Red Maple – Fungus – Celery – Spices – Vegetables – Coconut – Eucalyptus – Ginkgo – Ivy – Fennel – Manuka – Wallflower – Guava – Dandelion – Nettle – Chamomile – Wormwood – Jackfruit – Pawpaw – Tumeric – False Hemp – Gardenia – Tiger Lily – Pomegranate – Sumac – Jerusalem Artichoke – Birch – White Oak

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*Information Reference & Recommendation: Eco Colour : Environmentally Sustainable Dyes, by internationally renowned dyer, costumier and artist India Flint, draws on her two decades of experience and experimentation in natural dyeing techniques to present an expert, highly accessible and achievable handbook of ecologically sustainable plant dye methods using renewable resources, most of which can be found in the average home garden.

Re-use, re-invent, re-cycle – everything can be repurposed.

[The Green Compass - Let it grow]

*Disclaimer: All photographs in a bLANk’s ‘The Green Compass’ are taken by bLANk and rightly owned by bLANk

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[Introducing bLANk's new sustainability series, 'The Green Compass' - Let it grow]

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“25% of the worlds population of 6 billion people account for 80% of global energy use.” 

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Being a designer and eco-conscious citizen, I feel and know I have a responsibility to ensure that what I do, design, eat, use or facilitate must tread lightly on this planet. It is my aim to focus on living with a very small carbon footprint, to do things with integrity, sensitivity and compassion.

So to, to serve my human needs without depleting natural and manmade resources, without damage to the carrying capacity of ecosystems and without restricting the options available for present and future generations.

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1. My responsibility as a human is to be ecologically sensitive with a thorough understanding of the importance of the invisible thread that is tied to my actions and my ability to improve these activities by sustainable means.

2. My responsibility as a designer  is to understand the capability of design and with this knowledge challenge the status quo – the power of designers is catalytic.

“Cycling 10 kilometres each way to work can save you about $1,700 in transport costs and 1,500 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions each year.”

3. My responsibility as a health nut and avid foodie is to support my local community and markets for locally grown fresh produce, knowledge and networks that are too, on the same wavelength.

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“Rethink how we are inventing the way we live. Living trends are changing radically in response to the huge global changes affecting our lives. Learning to build a better world from the ground up. Going back to what nurtures, protects and makes us feel safe. Finding a sense of calm and control in a world filled with events that are uncontrollable. Learning to adapt to a rapidly evolving environment. Revolution: Discovering new ways of remodeling our way of living and being.” – Amanda Talbot  

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People are increasingly concerned about how their food has been manipulated and processed, genetic modification, this distance food travels before reaching their plates and many other related issues.

A trend emerging in overpopulated cities is urban farms within the home. For some people it’s a simple pleasure, a new hobby, But many others are part of a fast growing tribe of people becoming local producers and taking hold of the mantra of ‘local not global’. It is not hard to predict that with an ever expanding interest in different varieties of produce and the growing process, many people have decided to produce food for themselves within their home and their local community.

This tribe of people aren’t from any specific age group, socio-economic background or country; and they’re not laid back hessian-dressed hippies who want to drop out of society. These people simply demand quality food that tastes delicious, is grown sustainably with a low environmental impact and not treated with harmful chemicals.
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Making the most of our window boxes and roof gardens not only saves at the supermarket checkout; it feeds our nostalgia for the ‘good life’ – an idyllic time when food was seasonal and locally sourced.

Apart from the feel-good factor, the urban farm movement has a wider impact in helping with the future of our cities. As the world population continues to grow and our cities expand, food shortage is one of the big issues many of us will face. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban cities and thus urban farming becomes a significant and necessary factor for food production.

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Scientists are predicting that for our children’s generation food shortage is a strong possibility. By 2050, the world’s population will swell to more than nine billion. At the moment the global headcount is sitting at seven billion.

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“Today, 49% of the worlds population live in cities. 800 million people are involved in urban agriculture worldwide and contribute to feeding urban residents. Low income urban dwellers spend between 40% and 60% of their income on food each year.”

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The urgent task that world governments need to tackle is feeding an ever-growing population with diminishing resources. It is estimated that a 70% increase in food production will be needed to feed the global population. As much as 50% of the world’s population already live in an urban sprawl and this number is expected to rise to 70% in the next forty years. This is why it is encouraging to see so many people and communities becoming self sufficient with farming and local producers.

Farmers markets are becoming mainstream in busy cities. Urban residents are turning to local produce. A growing number of consumers prefer to buy fresh, locally grown produce for superior quality and flavour of food. Farmers markets provide consumers with the opportunity to connect with the producers and learn about their produce and their passion and witness first hand how this enthusiasm translates into superior quality.

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“By 2015, about 26 cities in the world are expected to have a population of 10 million or more. To feed a city of this size, at least 6000 tonnes of food must be imported and supplied each day.”

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“At the moment, 250 million hungry people in the world live in cities.”

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Small steps in how we can use unused space in our cities have become more important to local communities. Edible gardens are being introduced to encourage community engagement as well as providing places for people to relax.

Melbourne’s Federation Square Pop Up Patch by The Little Veggie Patch & Co does just this.

“The Fed Square Pop up Patch is a subscriber based edible gardening club allowing and encouraging you to farm your very own produce smack bang in the city. Subscribers will have their very own little veggie crate prepared by the Little Veggie Patch Co, filled using their special no-dig garden recipe; the perfect infrastructure for growing great produce.

For the price of a coffee a day, crates are yours for 12 months to come and go from as you please, growing herbs, lettuces, giant zucchinis, jack’s bean stalk, in fact whatever it is that gets your tummy grumbling.”

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“The Fed Square Pop up Patch is a place to share the beginnings, and maybe ends, of your food experience; from the dirt to the seed, seedling to plant, and then perhaps the produce on your plate. It’s not exclusive, there’s no door policy and no qualification is required to feel a part of it. We only ask you bring a good attitude and enthusiasm for growing and eating locally grown, fresh produce.”

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Growing food when resources are available is not a difficult thing (if it was we’d all be very hungry), so no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides are allowed in pop up patch. Organic growing is what we abide by, and what we’ll help you achieve. – The Little Veggie Patch Co

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Pop Up Patch is located in the Car Park at the rear of Fed Square. The garden is open to the public 7 days a week. 11am to 7pm weekdays, 9am – 5pm weekends.

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“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

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The Challenge: To weave old age resourcefulness with new methods, quality and creativity with modern technology in order to minimize my own ecological footprint by the means of sustainable living. [Inspiration: Whole Larder Love & The Sustainable Table]

Re-use, re-invent, re-cycle – everything can be repurposed.

[The Green Compass - Let it grow]

*Disclaimer: All photographs in a bLANk’s ‘The Green Compass’ are taken by bLANk and rightly owned by bLANk

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