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Well it seems that the ABC program “War on Waste” has caused waves around Australia when it comes to our shopping and throwaway habits. I wrote a blog post a couple weeks ago on what my family have changed to do our part and I received a lovely message from Megan Jones, another local Mum who is concerned about the impact our household habits are having on the environment. I invited Megan to write an article and here it is! LOVE it! Thanks Megan!

Plastic free July is upon us. As mentioned in ABC’s recently aired “War on Waste”. there are four main contributors to plastic pollution: take away coffee cups, bottled water, drinking straws and single-use plastic bags. For those not in the know, Plastic Free July seeks to highlight the growing issue of plastic waste and, ultimately, it’s impact upon animals and the environment. It challenges us as consumers to change our perspectives and, after a month of giving up the “big 4”, hopefully change our habits as well.

Australia wide, people are taking a stand against plastic pollution. In a time when supermarkets pre-package everything from sweet potatoes to a single banana in cellophane encased plastic trays, activists like Anita Horan, with her #PlasticFreeProduce campaign, seek to remind us that life hasn’t always been wrapped in plastic, nor is it necessary, healthy or somehow more hygienic to place each item of produce for purchase in its own barrier bag!

With an increasing movement calling to ban the bag, a ban on single use plastic bags is already in place in Tasmania, South Australia, Northern Territory and ACT, with Queensland to follow in 2018. In Port Macquarie, a community run campaign, Ban the Bag-Reuse your Bag Port Macquarie, is leading the way, calling for a town-wide ban on plastic bags, which has seen many businesses enlisted in the effort.

Throughout Australia, in an effort to reduce the number of disposable coffee cups that end up in landfill each year, the Responsible Cafes initiative invites customers to bring their own, reusable cup to a participating cafe where they might receive a discount on the price of their coffee. And I’m sure you have heard of Boomerang Bags, “…a grassroots community driven movement” whose volunteers use “…recycled materials, as a means to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.”

Each of these endeavours encourages us to be more mindful of our choices and the impact we have as consumers.  So how can you get involved? Whether you have pledged to take the challenge, are looking to join the war on waste here in Coffs Harbour, or simply want to cut back on the amount of plastic in your life, outlined below are just some of the local businesses that can help you find what you need to become a member of the reuse revolution. There are also groups where you can contribute to community projects aimed at reducing the impact of plastic waste at a local level.

Wondering about a business that isn’t listed below? Don’t be afraid to approach them and inquire. Though it may be an unusual request, a local butcher, bakery or restaurant may well be open to placing their products in a container you have brought from home rather than their own plastic packaging.

Affordable Wholefoods, located on Little Street, sells a wide range of “organic, non-organic and gluten free products” in bulk, and encourages its customers to bring their own bags or containers. Buy what you need and avoid plastic waste altogether! Find them on Facebook or visit their website at

Go Vita, located in Coffs Central, sells some bulk foods, single, unwrapped bars of soap, drinks in glass bottles and bamboo toothbrushes. Find them on Facebook.

Nourished Earth, a recently opened health food shop, located in Moonee, carries loose organic produce, a variety of bulk wholefoods and a range of food, drink and health and beauty products in sustainable packaging in addition to having a bulk beauty bar. Find them on Facebook, check out their website,, or drop in for a visit at the Moonee Marketplace.

Red Sparrow Tea Company, located in Coffs Central, are happy to fill any container you might bring in with one of their gourmet loose leaf teas (the flavours available being dependent on what they happen to have unpackaged in store on the day). Visit them on Facebook, or visit their website at When you stop in don’t forget to being your own cup for a takeaway tea or tea latte and receive a 50c discount!

The Happy Frog is a popular local cafe and shop which sells a range of products from loose produce and bulk foods, to reusable goods like coffee cups, straws, cutlery, shopping and produce bags. Find them on Facebook or check out their website at, or drop in for a coffee at 16 Park Avenue, and don’t forget to bring your reusable cup to receive a 50c discount! 

Get onboard with reducing your waste and purchase a reusable jar for your coffee, smoothie or juice takeaways at The Happy Frog!
GET > 0.50C discount forever on your refills!
PLUS > $5 extra buys a knitted cosy and a 100% donation to Wrap With Love Inc Charity.

Palate & Ply, formally Artisti, will not only knock 20 cents off of your take away coffee when you bring your own cup, if you bring your own container they will also happily fill it with beans or grounds from one of their single origin coffees which are stored in hoppers on the walls. They can even make a blend for you if you would like. Or, if you have developed a preference for one of their blends, but still want to take it home in your own container, you can call the Artisti factory to check product availability and then pop by 3/11 Craft Close, Toormina, on a Monday between 7am and 3pm to pick it up. Coffee without the packaging! Find them on Facebook,  shop online at or stop by for a coffee at 37 Vernon Street.

JC Espresso offer a range of reusable coffee cups and a fourty-cent discount on takeaway coffee when you bring in your own cup. Find them on Facebook or visit them at 157 Orlando Street.

Dark Arts Coffee Academy, located in Cox Lane, carries a range of reusable coffee cups and, if gardening is your thing, bring in a container to collect some spent coffee grounds for your compost bin, free of charge. Check them out on Facebook to find out more.

Hannah’s Happy Wraps offer a completely biodegradable alternative to cling film. Locally produced and handmade from tree resin, jojoba oil, beeswax and cotton. Ditch the plastic cling film and find them on Facebook or Instagram (hannashappywrap), or check out the shop at

TotesGreen sell reusable cotton produce bags, handmade in Coffs Harbour, as a sustainable alternative to the single use plastic bags we are all in the habit of reaching for when buying fruit and veg during the weekly shop. Find them on Facebook or Instagram (totesgr33n), or shop at

Lazy Girl Green locally produces a range of ethical, handmade beauty and wellness products from  natural ingredients that are sold in sustainable packaging, which customers are encouraged to refill. Find her on Facebook or Instagram, or purchase Lazy Girl’s products at

Folk Body Care make “ethical soap and body care products” right here in Coffs. Products sold in plastic-free packaging include bar soap which comes in cardboard boxes, and hair serum and beard oil, which is sold in glass bottles. Products are shipped to retailers using cardboard shipper boxes with ‘ecofill’ void-filling beans. Local stockists of Folk products include IGA Jetty, Liberty Providores (Urunga), and Soul Kindle (Bellingen).  Find them on Facebook or visit the website at to check out their full range.

Bellamy Skincare can be found selling their range of handmade, sustainably packaged buffalo milk soaps and barber products, such as beard oil, moustache wax, beard balm and aftershave lotion, at the Sunday markets which are now held at Park Beach Reserve. Find them on Facebook or at

Kombu Wholefoods has a massive array of bulk foods available for sale and a number of eco-friendly products ranging from skincare to food, clothing and more. Visit their gorgeous store at Bellingen or check them out on Facebook. And to celebrate Plastic Free July they are offering 10% off all their already discounted bulk right through the month.


Fancy getting involved? Join the local Boomerang Bags community to help reduce the use of plastic bags and build a more sustainable Coffs Harbour. Whether you are good with a sewing machine or have never sewn at all, there are jobs for everyone and all are welcome. In addition, members of the Boomerang Bags community are being encouraged to host home workshops to which other members are invited to attend and contribute. Fancy hosting a workshop or going along to a sewing bee? Join the group on Facebook to keep abreast of upcoming sewing bees and other events or find them on

Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Campaign, Australia are a non-profit organisation committed to conserving Australia’s “…marine environment, preventing and removing the unprecedented amount of marine debris entering our oceans and waterways.” Follow them on Facebook to receive updates about the location and dates of upcoming beach clean ups, or find them online at All volunteers are welcome.


But you don’t have to join an organised beach clean up to fight plastic pollution. Take Three, a non profit organisation, encourages you to pick up and take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach (or anywhere), in the belief that what may seem like a small action can amount to a significant impact. Follow them on Facebook, tag them on Instagram and share your #TAKE3FORTHESEA with others, or check them out online at where you can sign up for their newsletter and keep up to date on events.


If you know of any other local businesses doing their part to help the #waronwaste, or any other local initiatives to reduce plastic please comment on our Facebook page or leave a comment below. We don’t want to leave anyone out!


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Overcoming Mummy Exhaustion

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tired mum

Thanks to Aaryan Smith, local naturopath, for writing this article.

I see exhausted Mother’s in my clinic each week with symptoms ranging from utter exhaustion, anxiety, teariness, horrible PMS symptoms, headaches, insomnia, low libido, depression, digestive upset and skin breakouts. Juggling multiple roles is really common for Mums these days with some combining paid work, being a fulltime mother, canteen, P & C, cleaning, cooking, peace maker, fundraising, sports, and the list just keeps going. I’ve also found that many Mums in Coffs are by themselves during the week or for even weeks at a time as their partners work away.

Talking about your feelings with someone you trust is a great place to start if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or down. I find that some Mums don’t feel comfortable talking to people they know so they take comfort in chatting to someone impartial like myself, their GP or other health professionals. If your symptoms are more physical or hormonal keeping a record of when and what your symptoms are is also really useful. Implementing regular exercise, eating a nourishing diet and adequate sleep is also essential for optimal health and wellbeing. Many Mums I see have problems with getting enough sleep whether that be from night feeds or stress and most Mums tell me that they need help balancing their diets so we also address this in our consultations.  One of the major things us Mums always forget is time out for ourselves. A good starting point is to think about activities that you used to really enjoy before kids and try to create strategies in your lifestyle so that these can be included once again.

While regular exercise and nourishing food are the basics, I often need to look deeper into your story and this is when a naturopathy consultation is useful. Do you have a hormonal imbalance that is contributing to your fatigue, mood swings or acne? Your diet may be low in key nutrients which form the building blocks for your brain chemicals which affect how you’re feeling. Are you unable to detoxify certain hormones or toxins from your body contributing to poor skin, abdominal weight gain, or PMS? My consultations include a comprehensive health history, full body system review, dietary review and functional pathology testing if we need further information.  I also have some mothers who come to me for a therapeutic remedial massage and this is all some need to recharge their batteries.

Being a mother is the toughest job you will ever undertake but it will also be the most rewarding. Look after yourself and forgive yourself for being slightly selfish on the odd occasion so that you can be a healthier and happier Mum.

Aaryan works from her professional clinic in the beautiful village of Nana Glen, a short picturesque drive from Coffs Harbour.   She is available for consultations by calling 0414 344 865 or emailing Also take a look at her website – and Facebook page.

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Empower your kids: holiday workshops

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{This article originally appeared in the Coffs Coast Advocate earlier this year}

A LOCAL author and teacher is calling on children and parents to be part of her Sparky and Shady empowerment workshops.

Kathy Sheehan created the courses after years of “research, trialling and testing”.

“If you believe in your child and you know they have a unique purpose that only they can fulfil, send them along to a Sparky and Shady workshop these holidays to be empowered and inspired,” she said.

Kathy said her passion to empower kids started 23 years ago after a motorbike accident left her feeling “helpless and hopeless”.

Since then she has worked tirelessly to work out a simple program giving kids knowledge and practical strategies in an imaginative and non-religious way to help them cope with problems, believe in themselves and gain the confidence and courage they need to follow their dreams.

Children attending workshops with Kathy say they learnt “important stuff like how to love their scared side Shady, trust their loving side Sparky and how to let go of baggage that weighs them down”.

“I can help your child understand how their body, personality, feelings and thoughts all work together and inspire them to make the difference they were born to make,” Kathy said.

Head to kathysheehan. or call 0409 711 608.

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Introducing Sparky & Shady

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sparky1Do you know that 1 in 4 young people aged 16 – 24 has a current mental health condition?

Kathy Sheehan, a local author, primary school teacher and behaviour management specialist believes this is a direct result of our children’s lack of self-awareness.

“No one teaches our kids how their body, personality, feelings and thoughts all work together. Then as soon as something terrible happens to them (big or small) they listen to the fearful voice in their head (‘Shady’) and eventually believe they are hopeless, helpless and worthless.”

This is exactly what happened to Kathy after a motorbike accident at 22 and it has been her quest ever since to make sure it doesn’t happen to other young people. Kathy has spent the last 23 years researching, teaching, testing and writing her ‘Sparky and Shady’ program to empower kids to be self-aware so they can cope with problems, believe in themselves and follow their dreams.

Kathy believes that many grown ups in our society are unhappy and unfulfilled because they too have believed the fearful voice in their head that tells them they ‘can’t achieve their dreams’ and that in the big picture they ‘can’t make a difference’. Kathy totally disagrees, she believes every single person on earth is here to do something loving and amazing that no one else can do in the exact same way. Empowering a whole new generation to listen to and trust the loving voice in their head (Sparky) will break this cycle!

If you are interested in empowering your child aged 7-15, Kathy runs two-day workshops for kids each school holiday.

In the workshops children meet Sparky (their loving side) and Shady (their fearful side) and learn:

  • How to tell the difference between their loving and fearful thoughts.
  • How their body, personality, feelings and thoughts all work together.
  • Three strategies to manage their body, feelings and thoughts – ‘Short cuts’
  • A strategy that works to cope with problems and let go of ‘baggage’ – ‘Pit Stop’.
  • Three secrets to believe in themselves.
  • Three secrets to follow their dreams.

To reinforce their new knowledge and to support kids to use the practical strategies learnt in the workshops, children can follow up with eight weeks of after school classes to help them develop healthy habits for life.

Ideally parents can support and reinforce their children’s learning by attending the one-day parent workshop on the last Saturday of each school holidays.

For more details go to

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