Our sea-change.. Or was it tree-change?

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A year ago we moved across our great big continent. A distance of nearly 4,000 kilometres.

A year ago we uprooted our lives and took a chance.  We moved away from the big cities and into a more regional area.  Today we pinch ourselves as to where our lives are now.

We’ve only just realised that we have made both a sea-change and a tree-change and we couldn’t be happier..

Life is simple.

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Watching our child grow up miles from the craziness of our modern day cities makes us smile.  We have playdates on the beach.  We bush walk.  We climb trees.  We garden.  We play in the mud.  We jump in muddy puddles.  We check the surf with dad.  We watch native animals and birds in our backyard.  We are growing our own vegetables.  We make bread from scratch.

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When I return from working in the city to our little life, I feel myself begin to breathe..

The space.  The stars.  The trees.  The silence.  So long traffic….

Honey, I’m home.

x

 

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Eco babies

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There’s something very un-eco about having a baby.

From the nappies; to the constant loads of washing. The leaking boobs. The bottles of milk or formula tins; to the wasted food that ends up on the floor from a disgruntled toddler. The maternity clothes. The maternity pads. The increase in shoe size. Not to mention the Indian sweatshop you manage to keep in business with the continuous need for your baby’s new clothing sizes and then there’s the toys….. Oh the toys!

There’s some things with which you can find a way to hold fast to your eco ethics, some things you compromise on and some things you can do nothing about. The ethical treatment of animals, chemical use on our planet and maintaining a toxin free home are things that I will not compromise on when it come to the health of my family.

Here are some of the products I have trialled and have found to be all that I need for the personal care of my child.

Baby wipes

We purchased 10 reusable bamboo wipes from Green Kids nearly two years ago. We use them every day and they still look like new. It’s as easy as wetting them with water, one wipe (yep.. that’s all it takes! They are amazing!) and throw them in the wash. Simple. For out and about we use Water Wipes. Made with only water and grapefruit seed extract, they are the healthiest disposable wipes I have come across.

Nappy cream

The best nappy cream is fresh air but if you have to use something for a bad rash the best we have come across is raw coconut oil. You will need to apply thickly each nappy change over the entire rash but it works a treat!

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For those hot summer days where bub is struggling with heat chaffing try Tinderbox Baby Powder. Made locally in Western Australia from tapioca starch, cornflour and essential oils, it’s as natural as can be and is capable of holding up against all those toxic baby powders on the market. It’s absorbent as it comes. And smells divine!!!

Nappies

I have written a previous blog on reusable nappies. If you are looking for a great compostable disposable nappy look no further than Ecoriginals, a Brisbane based family business. Look out for their fabulous nappy deals online.

Rashes

Pure Vitamin E oil, Suvana Pawpaw Ointment and organic unrefined coconut oil can heal anything!

Soap

Nearly two years in and we have never used soap or shampoo on our child. We wash him with water alone. Apart from his current flushed teething cheeks, his skin is beautiful. Our bodies are amazing. When we are born our bodies are covered by a white coating called a vernix. The role of this is to protect the newborn’s delicate immune system from invading bacteria. We chose to only cloth-wipe his skin after birth then wait a week before our child’s first bath to give him as much protection from his new world.  We all know that a good immunity comes from exposure to the world. He loves digging in the dirt. On the odd occasion we need to wash his hands rather than wipe with a wet cloth we use Dr Bronner Castille soap.

Moisturiser

Coconut oil. All you need.

Chest Rub

Perfect Potion’s Breathe Easy is the very best natural chest rub there is! Our son LOVES it. We rub it into his chest, his back, his throat and the soles of his feet both morning and night before rugging him up warmly. It helps the congestion enormously!

Cold and Flu remedy

By keeping their little guts healthy you can minimise the duration of most bugs. This is when probiotics are so important! Your child can have a dose morning and night in some milk (Our son is dairy intolerant so I use almond, coconut and rice milk. Rice milk has the same amount of calcium per serve as regular milk.)  Raw unprocessed honey on a teaspoon with cinnamon is a great flu remedy.  My son will have this quite a few times a day whilst he is ill. Also, a spoon or two of coconut oil will help the gut to heal.

Cleaning teeth

Jack and Jill have biodegradable toothbrushes and natural toothpastes that are a hit with the kids.

Probiotics

Such an important start to life is a healthy gut. As well as nourishing foods, probiotics can help maintain a healthy immune system. We use Bioceuticals BabyBiotic 0+ yrs.

Maintaining health

My toddler drinks a green smoothie everyday. I include superfoods like spirulina, wheatgrass, barley grass, gubinge powder for vitamin c, acai powder, cacao, chia seeds, Vital Kids multi-nutrients, bee pollen and raw, unprocessed honey.

I use turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, wakami flakes, kombucha and coconut oil regularly in our diets to help maintain a healthy gut.

Good health and good grooming need not be expensive and detrimental to your family’s health or the environment.

You mum’s rock. Looking after a child is the hardest job a woman can ever do. Baking the baby was the easy part. Be kind to yourself.

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xx

Bless….

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“As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness — just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm.”

― Laura Ingalls Wilder
xxx

A momentary lapse of judgement

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Life is so easy once your home and life are green and toxic free. You almost get lulled into false hope believing that the rest of the world live in the same little bubble you do. What goes in and out of your home is so routine now. You know the trusted brands and ingredients. You have your skin care sorted. Your kitchen sorted. Your laundry sorted. Your food sorted. Life is good.

That was until I suffered a momentary lapse of judgement. It only took a second.

In preparation to selling our home, we decided it needed a repaint. I discussed low and no VOC paints with the painter. We used low VOC paints in our previous home that I painted entirely myself and they were lovely. This time with Mr one-year-old-and-a-bit, I don’t have the opportunity to paint myself. It’d take me years! Mr painter assured me that paints these days are all pretty good and in my momentary lapse of judgement I didn’t follow up my usual research.

Which leads me to now.. My entire family sleeping to the fumes of what smells like seriously toxic paint!!! How could I be so stupid as to have let this into my home!!!!

They say that new paint can emit hideous levels of VOC’s and half of them in the first year!! Yikes!! And are allergy, asthma and cancer causing little nasties!!! So now I’m on a mission to absorb as many of these hideous little bastards that I can!

I’m sure I’m not the only one to have made this mistake so I thought I’d share with you the solutions I have found so far…

1. Onions
Apparently cut onions are wonderful absorbers of toxic smells. I’m not sure the onion smell is going to be all that lovely either but this is the first thing I plan to do this morning. I have read that if you dice two onions to a room, spread them widely on a plate and leave them to dry for a few days they will reduce the smell and the VOC’s considerably.

2. Fresh air
Well this is a given really! Open windows. Doors. Whatever you can open, open it!! Fresh air is amazing!!

3. Indoor plants
I’m not a lover of indoor plants as I am a firm believer that a beautiful garden and open windows is the bomb but I’m willing to change my judgement for a while… Potted gerberas are apparently really good for removing toxins so I’m willing to work with that…

4. Essential oils
I didn’t realise but burning essential oils can rid indoor air of toxins and petrochemicals! Nice!!

5. Charcoal
I don’t have research to support this one but I have a cupboard full of fabulous charcoal that is a wonderful electromagnetical absorber so I’m sure it’ll work nicely on the VOCs. It’ll be filling every room of my room just nicely!

Fingers crossed these work.

xx

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Evolution

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Nearly six months later and I am only just beginning to feel as though I am resurfacing into the world after having our baby. Some days are still hazy; other days the clouds are starting to lift. Sleep, on the other hand, is still very much only a dream.

It’s quite amazing. No-one can ever truly prepare you for motherhood. Every mother’s road will be different. Every child unique. Just like a David Attenborough documentary, every parent evolving just as a caterpillar metamorphosises into a beautiful butterfly. Never to return.

Just like my life you will find that this blog too evolves. I write from within so therefore how could it possibly not. This year is going to be a big one as we begin plans to rebirth our home. Evolve our home. And as always, expand our dreams of living green in a modern world.

Less than five kilometres from our city centre, yet we are creating a world away from the hustle and bustle of the crazy modern age we live in. Green grass, gardens, worm farms, edible backyards, chickens, insects, compost, solar passive designs, sustainable living, baby steps…

Life is taking time to smell the roses.

As the clouds lift higher, I plan to make time to blog. I plan to reconnect again with this earth. I plan to feel the wind on my cheeks. I’m looking forward to you joining me on my journey.

xx

It’s a new world..

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adult_hand_with_baby_hand_webTwo weeks ago tomorrow, my husband and I welcomed our beautiful little boy into the world.

It wasn’t the birth we’d planned but then again what in nature can be planned…

We dreamed of a natural birth. A birth that began when our baby decided it was time. A calm hypnobirth. Drug free. Delayed cord clamping. Natural placenta birth. etc….etc…

Induced at 37 weeks due to low amniotic fluid, we had two days to get our heads around the fact that our entire birth plan was about to go out the window. We both became very fearful. What we believed was in our hands, was now TOTALLY out of our hands! We feared for the cascade of intervention. The high chance of ending up with epidurals, complications and the risk of caesarean. This was not a road we wanted to walk.

Enter stage-right our beautiful Doula Emma Stewart. A few fear release sessions later and her continuous support and unbroken pelvic massage, my husband and I delivered our little boy six and a half hours later, induced with Syntocinon, yet entirely drug free. Against our wishes, our little one had his cord instantly clamped and cut and less than five minutes of skin on skin contact before he was whisked away into neonatal. Soooo totally not the birth we planned for him but the most important thing was that he was out… Safely!!! The rest could not be changed.

So, we began our lives as a family. Where two become three. Where love goes deeper than one could ever imagine.

Our little one is simply perfect.

They say that in centuries gone by and in many traditional cultures still today, a woman is nurtured for six weeks after becoming a mother. She eats warming food that is cooked for her, not by her. Her belly is oiled and bound to help her uterus to contract and return to size. Her every need is fully met. Her only job, to focus on herself and her baby. More often than not, she is bed-rested for six whole weeks!

The modern world we live in has totally eradicated this bonding and recovery time. Mothers are expected to return to life asap after labour… To not do so, shows weakness.

How wrong this thought pattern is….

We have been truly blessed to have had my family cooking, cleaning and shopping for us the last ten days whilst we three bond as a little family. A total godsend! I believe this has been the reason why two weeks later, our home is calm, peaceful, clean and totally functioning. Our hearts are open and filled with love. Our lives are enriched, not stripped away. Our baby sleeps. And our little family is happy and complete.

I can say that placenta encapsulation is worth it’s weight in gold! What our little one missed out on with his umbilical cord being cut within seconds of his birth, he is now benefitting through my body and my breast milk. Not to mention, my risk of postnatal depression has been severely minimised.

My mother sent me today for THE most amazing body scrub and facial at Bodhi Health and Beauty Spa here in Perth. For nearly two hours, I was pampered by Michelle, using my favourite organic and toxic free Sodashi products. My body was scrubbed and detoxed from head to toe and made to feel alive, complete and once again my own. After 10 months of not being able to detox and half of that time not even being able to touch my toes, a layer of skin has been removed from my body, my liver and my soul.

My life is perfect and now my rebirth has begun….

xx

 

Pregnancy…

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7892788178_3f98f35e07_zThe most natural thing on earth….

The way nature renews all it’s species. The growing of life.

As all those who have experienced it know, pregnancy is filled with natural moments. The miracle of a little life growing inside you. The miracle that your body is able to create this little one without much involvement from us. The miracle that a baby can be born whilst a mother is in a coma. The love it stirs. The greatest gift that nature can give. The greatest gift that you can receive. Now that is nature at it’s finest!

Some days it’s not all rosy though…

The feeling that your body is not your own. The incessant kicking that sometimes just does not stop. The reflux. The sickness. The cravings. The stretch marks and varicose veins. The aches….

You would not be human if you couldn’t admit how un-natural pregnancy can feel at times.

I have been lucky. Apart from horrific reflux, I have so far travelled through relatively unscathed. My baby is healthy, there are no complications and we are nearing close to the beautiful, natural birth we are hoping for.

I do have to say though that there’s a part of me that is soooooo selfishly excited!!! I can’t wait to be able to enjoy my yummy green smoothies again without gagging, to get back into my daily detox cleanse, to be able to take a yoga class without reflux, to be able to run around the block, to dig in the garden without a watermelon between my legs, to not wear leggings for a year and instead wear every dress I own….

And to be able to blog more.

Life is evolving from two to three and yet I feel like I get to rebirth too.

Till next I blog, you can always keep in touch with simple tips to “Live Green” in this modern world by liking my blog on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-Green-in-a-Modern-World/153259498150630

I hope to see you there. xx

 

My Eco Nursery

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b65f6cc3599eed35cb2175cb220992edWith only 2 months to go before the birth of our first child, the nursery set up has begun.

We are determined not to overload our nursery and our child with EVERYTHING.  There are so many children around the world who grow up with nothing….  Our child is lucky through the luck of birth to be born into the first world.  We hope to teach him how lucky we all are and to teach him awareness of the world around him by showing him firsthand.

So..to the Nursery.  With what we have chosen, we have tried to remain eco-friendly and organic where possible.

THE BASSINET

slide1We have been soooo lucky to have been given a Hushamok as a newborn gift by my mother-in-law.  It’s a beautifully designed organic baby hammock that is designed to mimic movement that the newborn baby has been used to within the womb.  It is designed to cradle them and gently rock them to sleep with each movement they make.  You can find some fabulous prices on secondhand sites such as Gumtree.

tetra_snuggle_bed_white_4There is also a gorgeous little organic swaddle bed by Tetra that would be a fabulous and potable bassinet that doesn’t disrupt your child’s sleep.  They also have wonderful and sustainable cot mattresses and pillows.

THE COT

There are many wonderful sustainable cots out there on the market such as

cot-600x600This cot converts into a table as your child grows…Soleil baby bed

ubabub_plywood-room-BAnd this one grows with your child into a toddler bed…..Ubabub

961d8a7cf08b50dc_cardboardcrub.previewFor highly biodegradable…..Cardboard Album

There are so many beautiful “green” cots to create a fabulous designer nursery with an eco edge.

We have chosen not to purchase one of these cots (as much as I would like to) because we have been very lucky to have been given a cot from a friend that is no longer needed.  Now I call that sustainable.  Recycling at it’s best.  Once again, if you’re not so lucky to be given a cot, check out Gumtree or a similar site to buy a secondhand cot.  Just remember, if you choose to paint it make sure you use low VOC or VOC free paints.  Just ask at your local hardware and tell them you need kid friendly paint.

SHEETS AND SWADDLES

product_images_ecoLinen_organic_bassinet_sheet_set1Now if you read my blog regularly, you would know how much I love Ecolinen Organic.  Ecolinen Organic have some beautiful cot and bassinet sheet sets for your special little oone.  Think the most beautiful sheets you have ever slept in, imagine they were 100% organic cotton and Whalllaaaaa!!! Divine!!

little_bamboo_muslin_wrap_-_mainFor swaddling, we have purchased some beautiful 100% bamboo swaddling muslin wraps from Little Bamboo.  Bamboo is such an absorbent, breathable and sustainable fabric designed to keep your child warm in winter and cool in summer.

gro-swaddle-fv1For something a little thicker Groswaddle make some 100% organic cotton swaddles designed especially for newborns.  They are cut specifically and are such a beautiful warm cotton weave that keeps babies so warm and snug.

REUSABLE MODERN CLOTH NAPPIES

I am a firm believer in using cloth nappies.  I understand every family is different and I will never judge others, but for myself there is no option other than cloth nappies.  Besides being reusable, they are better for the environment and your child’s skin.  Some question the water used for nappy washes and the detergent, but today’s modern cloth nappies are sooooo much more than the terry towelling squares that were used on us as kids.  Once rinsed, they can be placed in a normal washing load with other clothes, require biodegradable detergents only and do not require soaking or whiteners as they are designed to remain white when dried on the clothes line in the sun!

CBHomeCollageCocobaby have THE most beautiful designs for their MCN’s.  Butterflies, spots, floral patterns…… I can’t tell you how divine they are! Their sizing is one-size-fits-all from birth to toilet training.

9807d420-d7ba-4419-8739-84c17e1683e7If you are looking for one-size-fits-all pocket nappies with insertable bamboo liners that you can adjust depending on your requirements, look no further than Green Kids. I think the design of their nappies is pretty clever and the bamboo inserts are so absorbent.  Within the pocket, they draw any moisture away from your child’s skin meaning the nappy can be worn for longer between changes.  They also stock fabulous bamboo reusable and washable wipes that I intend to use each and every nappy change.  So soft and absorbent on your child’s skin.

I have also been very lucky to have been given some fabulous new nappies from a girlfriend.  These nappies are from some fabulous companies.  Baby Beehinds, and Bonnibuns as well as other brands.

Every child is different and I have been told that what nappy brand leaks for a friend’s child might fit your child perfectly.  Therefore, I suggest you purchase one or two of each nappy brand you like and try them before purchasing a full set.  A full set can be around $600 but if you compare that to the $2000-$4000 cost of disposables over the same period, I think it’s fabulously worth it!!

TEETHING AND SOOTHERS

There is much debate over whether you should “dummy” your child.  I say whatever works for you and your family.  Hevea_children_forside_rubber_naturally_designed_1Hevea manufacture some fabulous natural rubber dummies and teethers.

logoVULLI_0250(800x532)My mother-in-law knows me so well and had given us a beautiful Parisian “Sophie le Giraffe.”  A wonderful 100% natural rubber teething toy that has been a favourite with French children since 1961!  How stylish!!

PRAM AND CAR SEAT

productimage-picture-stroller-g2-119_jpg_580x420_q90The “greenest” pram I can find is the Orbit G2.  Made with Orbitgreen certified fabric, it is the world’s first stroller with all fabrics and foams certified safe by Oeko-Tex® Standard 100.  It is also BPA and PVC free.  Only problem is it is not currently available in Australia.  Orbit also make a fabulous baby car capsule that clips into the Orbit G2.  It uses safe flame retardants in it’s manufacture without the potentially harmful chemicals, PBBs and PBDEs, used in most other car seats.  I looked at importing one of these into Australia, but as they are not currently certified to Australian standards, if you have a car crash and the child is injured or worse, you as the parent must wear any court findings including manslaughter….. Scary I know!!  Therefore, I have chosen instead to purchase a secondhand running pram on Gumtree and a new baby-to-4-years Australian certified car seat and fit them out with a natural sheepskin fitted liner that is washable and will minimise skin contact between our child and certified flame retardant fabrics.

CLOTHING AND TOYS

PurebabyPure Baby is a truly beautiful organic Australian children’s clothing brand that is all about social conscience.  Their clothing is divine!

cocoome_pj_bj_and_romper__20174.1365908723.1280.1280A friend of mine runs a fabulous organic children’s sleepwear company called Cocoome.  Many children’s pyjamas and onesies are coated in a flame retardant chemical, hence why organic is so important for our children’s sleep.  Amanda’s designs are beautiful.  Tell her I sent you.  You’ll love them!

eco_toys_1Ecotoys have fabulous wooden toys and organic cotton dolls for when your little one grows and starts to interact.  Wonderful toys that are also highly stimulating.

Some other companies that have toys that I love are Alimrose Designs and Moulin Roty.  bg-000-009Alimrose Designs are stunning Australian designed dolls, toys, bibs etc that are sooooo unique and divine!  The company gives back to Save the Children Australia and Bear Cottage, a respite and palliative care hospice for children & young people with life limiting illnesses & their families in Sydney, Australia.

2_Biscotte_et_PomponMoulin Roty, as far as I know, are not eco but they do have some of the most beautiful traditional wooden toys and plush toys you will ever see designed by a French toymaker.  For a classic, unique toy that will be pride of place for a lifetime, look no further…

NAPPY BAG

Screen_Shot 2012-05-22 at 4.49.36 PMI have chosen a tote bag from Apple and Bee as my nappy bag.  A fabulous Australian company that is carbon neutral and commits itself to having the lowest minimal impact on the environment that it possibly can.  They also stock a fabulous range of bibs, nappy mats, library bags, lunch boxes, totes and accessories for kids and adults of all ages.

MOBILES

mobilecribPetit Collage have some stunning mobiles for your child’s nursery.  Made in the US from sustainably harvested bamboo, all the images are laser cut and assembled by hand.

I have chosen though, a beautiful white handmade Indian dream catcher similar to this to be hung over our baby’s cot.

98e8d4de0094675b0b541bce17c5d935Sweet dreams baby…….xx

0dfeb4de0501a272e2a6054ee0d9e529♥♥♥

287 chemicals found in umbilical cord blood

As I gear up toward the next stage of my life, motherhood, I realise that the toxic free life I have chosen is ever so much more important.

A newborn baby

Did you know that an average of 287 different chemicals were found in the umbilical cord blood from 10 infants born in US hospitals*?  

This fact shocked me and quite literally stopped me in my tracks!!  What!!  How could a little embryo be subjected to so many chemicals and all before it is even born!!  And that the life-giving umbilical cord is already causing our children harm!

Our bodies are amazing things.  They support life, they are our life!  And for us women, they are the creators of the next generation.

We know that BPA is a hormone disruptor.  (I for one, believe that BPA was a main cause for a micro-ademona found on my pituatry gland a few years ago.  This little lump luckily wasn’t found to be cancerous, but it was playing with my hormones.  Basically, my body had not received Oestrogen for years! This little lump had rendered me infertile and very ill.)  I found my home and my kitchen FILLED to the brim with BPA.  Cans, receipts, plastic containers, shampoo bottles… you name it…

And BPA is only ONE toxic chemical found in our homes and our everyday lives!  There are over 80,000 chemicals in use on this planet.

There are mercury, thiomersal and aluminium in our vaccinations, permeates in our milk, fluoride and aluminium in our water, pesticides on our food, tungsten in wedding rings, lead in our paints and household dust, titanium dioxide in our sunscreens, not to mention the toxic cocktails found in our beauty products…..

So what can we do about it?

We could drop out of society all together.  It may be fun for a while, but totally not practical.  And besides, this blog is about living green in a modern world… Our modern worlds don’t have caves.  So what can we do?

We can rid our homes of chemicals.  Simple.

And we can all eat only organic produce and take a detox supplement such as milk thistle.  Drink green liver loving smoothies.  Sauna it up.  Dry brush your skin.  Drink only filtered water (and NOT out of plastic bottles.)  We can stop over burdening ourselves with chemicals.  Start with cleaning your insides.  I prefer to call it a clean not a detox.  Detox is too harsh and short-lived.  A clean can be gentler and continue forever.

And if detoxing your home and ridding it of chemicals sounds too full on and too expensive, why not focus on one room at a time.  That way it’s achievable.

And remember, a clean home does NOT need to smell clean.  Only the artificial fragrances left behind do.

Given the cost of illness to us and our children…. Doesn’t that make clean living all the more economical?

There is only one time to start and that is NOW!

xx

* Wellbeing Magazine, Issue 144