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!

Talc

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

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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♥♥♥

My Merry Christmas

“Living Green in a Modern World” is not about going without.  It is not about foregoing quality and a modern way of life.  It is about choosing ethically, choosing responsibly, choosing with a conscience and most importantly living consciously through every moment in every second of every minute of every day.  And about being consciously aware of where we all sit in this web of life.  And this universe.

Christmas is a time of mass.  Mass consumerism, mass spending, mass expectation.  For the general population, everything is large!  For me, Christmas is much richer than that.  Christmas is a time to stop and celebrate life. Celebrate love.  Celebrate family.  Celebrate the fine thread of life.

Three years ago my family had a very different Christmas.  A Christmas spent in an Intensive Care ward, watching and waiting for that fine thread of life to choose whether it would hold on or snap.  This Christmas, 2012, is the first Christmas since that my family can and will all come together and celebrate that fine thread and the choice it made three years ago…. It chose “Life.”

I must say I am a tad excited!

Sure…. We buy presents for each other.  We have a big feast.  We stuff ourselves silly and then spend the rest of the afternoon rolling around on the grass trying to rid ourselves of the agony in our bellies.

In my house, we don’t have a different Christmas.  We have a responsible one.

Presents are chosen because they are actually wanted or needed.  They are bought responsibly, from independent quality retailers and small designers.  All Australian.  Beautiful wrapping paper is folded up and reused again.  Ribbon is collected.  Packaging is recycled or goes into our compost.

Our designer menu is selected with seasonal produce in mind.  Fruit and veges are bought through local farmers at our local Farmer’s Market.  Any cut of meat is chosen responsibly and ethically.  It is then bought directly from the farmers who raise the animal responsibly through a free range, organic method that has given THE best life to that animal. The meat is then cherished and respected for what it is.  A life that has been sacrificed for our table.

Off cuts of food feed our compost.  Leftovers are kept.   If not homemade, condiments are bought in jars not plastic.  Herbs and selected veges are picked fresh from our garden.  Food is prepared fresh, not out of a packet.  No food goes to waste.

The table is decorated with flowers from our garden and gorgeous beeswax candles.  Our tablecloth is linen.  Our napkins are linen.  Our crockery ceramic. Cutlery, a mix of stainless steel and silver.  Glassware always glass.  Nothing is landfill here.

Beautiful Christmas carols are downloaded online rather than bought as cds.  The atmosphere is euphoric.  We are comforted knowing that our electricity bill is going towards green power.

Of course, we know that we are lucky to be able to afford these choices.  But then for the small cost, what kind of world would we have if we didn’t?  We all have a choice…

At the end of the day, we will choose to sit outside under a beautiful star lit night.  Under the moon.  And remember our place in this universe.  And give thanks for that thread of life.  For life would not be worth living without it.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.

xx

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Gift wrapping…. a la “eco Sare” style

I know we are only days away from Christmas and the vast majority of you have been super organised like always and are well and truly passed the wrapping stage in the lead up to your celebrations.  Then there are those of you that, like me, are running late in their preparations.

I believe I do have an excuse, although my husband thinks it’s only that…. An excuse!  I have been away for work for the last six weeks and I didn’t see him start the preps now did I so there you have it, in my head my excuse is valid.

I have done all my Christmas shopping online this year.  Not good for the carbon miles I know, but I am proud because I know I have bought well from quality independent retailers and small designers.  All Australian.  I can’t tell you what I’ve bought as some of the recipients could be reading….so you’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine.

Now, as my parcels are arriving in dribs and drabs on our doorstep, I am finally able to start gift wrapping!

Now the fun begins!!!

Here are some ideas….

fabric_gift_wrapI could chose to wrap my presents in the Japanese style “Furoshiki.”  Find some beautiful organic fabric, exclusive to each recipient, and totally reuseable…

gift wrap newspaper

What about using newspaper and a gorgeous ribbon?

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Or making these gorgeous newspaper rosebuds to decorate your present?

santa sacksWrapping in a santa sack or stocking like these from My Munchkin Home?

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One year, I wrapped everybody’s presents in gorgeous reuseable shopping bags from Envirosax.

425697_10151131550405826_1386458818_nOr what about using pages from that old and out of date street directory you found in your bookshelf?  My very old school friend Bronwen has done just that!  These are her presents in the image above…

2126326166_1bbeaa20e1Then there’s beautiful recycled kraft brown paper.  Make sure it’s unwaxed.

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There are gorgeous ways to make brown paper shine!

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In fact, this image below is how I’ve chosen to decorate mine this year.

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Using recycled brown paper that can be composted and some cotton Divine Twine from my own online store, my presents look beautiful and compliment our absolutely exquisite “living” Christmas tree!  Being a part-time greeting card designer, for me, it is all about the card.  I have used stunning tree-free cotton cardstock and have hand stamped my own image.  So personal and sets off the brown paper perfectly I think.

There…..Done…. Now if only the postie can get his deliveries done on time we’ll be laughing!

xx

DIY: Eco decorations for the Christmas tree

Eco Christmas

We are blessed with THE most beautiful real Christmas tree in our home this year.  The smell of pine has filled our home and created such warmth and love.  We are totally feeling the spiritual side of the Christmas season.

It is not easy to make eco conscious choices at Christmas.  A living Christmas tree in a pot is the ultimate gift you can give the earth at Christmas, but only if you have the land available to plant the tree afterwards.  A real Christmas tree, like we have this year, has given to the earth for the past three years by stopping erosion, creating homes in it’s branches for a myriad of insects and by collecting carbon as it grows.  What happens to it’s carbon now that it is cut, I am not sure.  But knowing that it will give back to the earth in it’s sacrifice as mulch at the end of Christmas has to be a plus.

Choosing a living tree is the ultimate for Christmas.

But if you already own a plastic tree do not fear.  Yes…a plastic tree is bad for the environment as it takes carbon, petrochemicals and toxins to create but you can justify keeping your already purchased plastic tree by realising that it will save the sacrifice of many trees in its lifetime.  The truly eco conscious way I can see to justify your plastic tree that you already own, is to make it last for years.  Love it for years.  And when it is finally at it’s end, choose to recycle it consciously.

As for the tree decorations, it is nearly impossible to avoid the mass consumerism and marketing that comes with Christmas decorations.  They surround you wherever you look!

I have come up with some beautiful ideas to decorate your tree in a truly unique and consumerism-free way…

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Origami is such a truly beautiful art form.  Why not have your kids make many Japanese cranes or something similar from divine Origami paper.  Join together with string and decorate your tree.  You could even make paper planes!

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Or how about reusing the decorations you already own and using ribbon as tinsel to tie the theme of your Christmas together?  Therefore the ribbon is uncut and totally re-useable…

Eco Christmas ribbon decorations

What about hanging gingerbread men, homemade iced circular cookies with a hole in the middle, cinnamon sticks, some cranberries on thread, fresh cherries on their stalks and candy canes on the tree?  You are limited only by your imagination……

My husband and I have used offcuts of ribbon to decorate our tree for many years now.  We tie the ribbon in bows at the end of each branch.  At the end of the Christmas period, we untie, flatten and then place into a box with the stunning Christmas ornaments we have collected over the years ready to be reused next year.

Eco Christmas

We have decided that by purchasing only two absolutely stunning Christmas ornaments each year made of ceramic, glass, timber or metal, we are building a tradition we hope will be passed on through future generations.  Less is more.

Merry Christmas

x

DIY: Make your own eco Christmas Wreath

I returned home a few days ago from a six week work trip.  Never before have I been soooo excited to get home and start Christmas!

Obviously after arriving home from so long away, there are endless jobs awaiting their catch up…. One of them was my overgrown garden.  After giving my rosemary bush a rather large prune, I was looking at the pile of beautiful cuttings thinking how sad it would be to have to throw all this fresh rosemary away.  That’s when I had a wonderful idea!  Make my very own Christmas Wreath!

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Firstly I started bunching the rosemary so it all ran the same way.  I staggered it a little so neither the stems or the tips are aligned.  Once it had reached my desired thickness, I wrapped a fine piece of wire around the bunch.  I secured it by twisting with pliers before tucking the ends into the bunch.  Once this was secured, I adedd more rosemary to one end of the bunch following the original principle or letting neither the stems or the tips align.  I secured it again with more wire about 10 cm along from the first piece of wire.  I continued these steps until my bunch was the required length to form the circle of my wreath.  Then I wrapped it in a circle and secured with my hand.  I tucked the stems and tips into each other to join.  Using some small cutoffs, I added around the outside of the bunch to hide the tucked in stems and tips.  Then I secured the last piece of wire around where I was holding the wreath together.  All that was left to do then was to decorate!

I chose to decorate mine with a simple red and white gingham ribbon.  You could use flowers, holly, pine cones, Christmas ornaments, raffia, hessian or what ever your heart desires.

Other beautiful ideas for a Christmas wreath would be to make it out of lavender, daisies, roses or any fragrant herb you desire.

A beautiful way to enjoy the wonderful scents of your garden whilst celebrating this special Yuletide season…

xx

 

20% off Keep Cups for a limited time!

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Looking for the perfect gift for that coffee addict??  Look no further!

KeepCup have offered us a special promo code to save 20% off purchases in their online store!!!

Simply submit the promo code GREEN at checkout at http://www.keepcup.com.au/  for 20% off their purchases.

This offer is only availble from Saturday 10/11/12 till Saturday 24/11/12.  Get in quick!  These cups are LOVED by those that own them!!  You can even find one in your team’s colours!!

About KeepCup:

  • They are barista standard because they replicate standard takeaway sizes and fit under the group heads of most espresso machines. When espresso based coffee is made in your KeepCup the crema remains intact and the portioning of milk to coffee will be correct.
  • They are BPA free and non-toxic.
  • KeepCups are dishwasher safe, microwaveable and splash proof.
  • KeepCups fit into most car cup holders and many bicycle bottle holders.

To read about their sustainability go to http://www.keepcup.com.au/sustainability