Sunday, 10 February 2013

Who’d Have Thought it? A Chuckling Goat with a starring role in what can only be described as, “The Midsomer Cream Mysteries” !

Goats. They’re unique creatures. They first appear like butter wouldn’t melt but experience has taught me that on occasions they aren’t quite as friendly as they first appear and are really rather cheeky little things with just enough bolshiness thrown into the mix to turn them into feisty, slightly intimidating beings ! I jest though, and mean them no disrespect. I always remember as a child being butted by the same one every year. The goat in question seemed to live outside in the car park of the disco venue my Mum booked for my birthday party when I was little. We’d all arrive in our party frocks to be greeted by this sinister looking goat who’s intent it was to chase us all screaming to the door. It was certainly a highlight to the party !

But not all goats are unfriendly, and the ones at the Chuckling Goat help to produce some fabulous natural soaps, skin creams, kefir and goat’s milk amongst the beautiful countryside in Wales.
Chuckling Goat Lavender Soap

Back in December 2012 I ordered 5 of their goat’s milk soaps for Christmas pressies, a pot of their Lavender Skin Cream, and several bottles of Kefir (a natural probiotic drink which is stronger than active yoghurt). I spoke to Shann Jones who owns the business with her husband, Richard. She was very helpful answering any questions I had and I eagerly awaited my package. When it arrived I opened the box and was hit by the most amazing aromas escaping from the package. The smell of mint was just awesome ! Shann had put a selection of their soaps in for me; Lavender, Lemon, Mint, and Honey & Oatmeal. They all smelt delicious and Sophia enjoyed helping me choose who would get which one in their home-made Christmas hampers and which one we were going to keep for ourselves. We decided to keep one of the 2 lavender soaps for ourselves.

The kefir was for me to try. I have a probiotic every day and also give the girls one to keep their good gut bacteria levels topped up. This is particularly important if you have or are taking antibiotics as even these good guys get killed off too and take quite a while to repopulate in your gut if levels are not topped up. The kefir is stronger than live yogurt and because it’s not in powder form it’s more effective and a great addition to a smoothie in the morning. I was very impressed with it, enjoyed it with my smoothies and as it arrives frozen and keeps for 3 months in the freezer, you can stock up.

The soaps for our hampers and the lavender skin cream

The goat’s milk skin cream was bought as a general cream for us to use on dry, irritated skin. The lavender cream is designed to help heal eczema and other skin conditions and soothe skin, whereas the Thyme and Tea Tree is to help fight acne, heal spots and reduce redness. I tried some on my dry hands and it had a lovely soft, creamy almost fluffy texture. It sunk into the skin easily and didn’t leave a greasy layer on the skin. It isn’t overly scented, if anything I’d say it is more scentless. Hubby tried some on his dry, hard working hands too and again was impressed with how it felt.

We then tried it on Sophia’s nose which had been quite dry and sore from the cold weather we were having. I’m not sure why but I didn’t do a patch test. I suppose I thought that as I’d used it and so had hubby with no ill effects that there was no need with the kids. We used it on Sophia’s nose and she liked it as it didn’t sting like other creams had, for example calendula. Anyway, we thought nothing more of it. A few days past and I’d tried a couple of different creams with Sophia and her nose but it seemed to be a little redder than before. Anyway, I couldn’t really work out what was going on as she kept rubbing it etc so just decided to stop all creams for a day or so to see how it developed.

Meanwhile, little Jess managed to get hold of the pot of skin cream, opened it up and happily smeared some on both her cheeks. I took said pot off her and put it away in a much higher place than before ! She is so resourceful and I’ve learned now that if she wants something she’ll do anything to get it, the little minx. About 10 or so minutes went by and I looked at Jess’ face to find two very flushed, reddened cheeks looking back at me. Mmm, what was that all about? I then made the link to the cream and wiped any residue off with some damp cotton wool. We then made the connection with Sophia’s nose getting redder too and linked this back to the cream as well.

The reddened reaction on Jess' arm

I contacted Shann by email and she said to stop using the cream if the girls had reacted to it and send the pot back to her. At this point it really wasn’t clear what they were reacting too especially as hubby and I had had no reaction at all. Before sending the pot back to Shann, I tested it on the girls again, this time on their arms. And low and behold their skin again became pinky red. There was no soreness, itching, just redness. So, I posted off the pot. From this point onwards, as Shann & I called it, “The Midsomer Cream Mysteries” began!

Shann got in touch with her natural cream and soap expert, Shawn Dritz at her Soap School in Huddersfield and together they tried to find out what could be causing the problem. I sent Shann pictures of the girls’ skin reactions and we agreed that it was definitely dermatitis, so the girls were definitely reacting to something in the cream. We discussed possible ingredients that they may or may not have been allergic to; goats milk, lavender, macadamia oil and crossed many of them off the list. Shann’s natural expert thought maybe as Sophia and Jess are sisters that it may be a genetic reactivity, but this was later eliminated from our investigations when Shann tested some of the cream on her 7 year old son. He too reacted the same way as the girls, however Shann did not. The plot thickened ! It really was like being part of our own little mystery drama ;0)

Lavender Goats Milk Skin Cream

Shann went back to the drawing board on the ingredients she was using and changed certain aspects which may have been making the cream slightly more acidic in its make-up. This may have been causing the cream to have slightly more exfoliating qualities on more delicate, young skin which the kids were reacting to. A new batch of cream was made up, tested on Shann’s son with no reaction. A pot was then sent to us to try on the girls. Would they react or like Shann’s son be ok? Drum roll please ........... Whoop whoop ! No reaction. The new batch had worked. I was impressed. This new pot of the lovely goat’s milk cream was now working for all of us. It was a real success.

I have to say that I applaud Shann’s commitment and passion to what she does. I could have easily not said anything and blogged here that the girls reacted to the cream so best not buy it, but I was intrigued how something so pure could cause a reaction in the girls but not hubby and I. By contacting Shann, and working together, we solved the problem and now know the new formulation of skin cream is fine for us all to use without a reaction.

“The Midsomer Cream Mysteries” had finally been solved and in the process as Shann pointed out, we had learnt a lot about ingredients, particularly live, natural ingredients which unlike dead chemicals have a “life” in them which can sometimes make harnessing their natural properties a bit of a struggle. But perseverance pays, and I would recommend Chuckling Goats products without hesitation. Their soap is gorgeous, smells wonderful and even has lovely lavender bits in it. Everything about Chuckling Goat’s products is real and pure. A lot of love, time and dedication have gone into making them what they are and I now understand why they won Janey Lee Grace’s Platinum award in 2012.

If you would like to find out more about Shann & Richard’s lovely Chuckling Goat products, then their website will tell you all you need to know: www.chucklinggoat.co.uk. They also have a FB page: www.facebook.com/ChucklingGoat and you can follow them on Twitter @ChucklingGoat




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