The Understatement Of The Year

Babies are so bad for the environment and that’s my understatement of the year!

Sod using public transport, not owning a car, recycling, buying secondhand, growing your own, eating less meat, being vegetarian/vegan or cleaning your house without chemicals. The best way to cut down your carbon foot print is not to breed!

I was fully aware of this already, and the environmental impact and the amount of waste that I would be sending to landfill was one of the many reasons that it took me so long to come around to the idea of having a kid. (BTW despite me sounding like a chav when I talk, I can totally be a bit of a middle class a-hole at times with my environmental concerns and issues!)

Even though I have tried to make my peace with the wastefulness of having a baby (i.e told myself to just bury my head in the sand, to try and ignore it and to focus on the good stuff) it still shocks me how quickly our wheelie bin is filling up and how much waste there is!

So to make myself feel slightly better I am using my blog as a therapy session (once again!) to get some of the guilt off my chest and to thought dump all of my feels on here!!!

Here is my list of shame –

  • It shocks me how many cotton wool balls we have got through. Two weeks in and we are on our third bumper sized bag already!
  • The boiling the kettle constantly to pour water out to cool for top and tailing. Then forgetting about said bowl of water on the side and having to do it all over again!
  • The nappies! Ten or fifteen years ago I was very much a ranty, soapbox, eco warrior type and I would have used reusable washable nappies if I had a kid when I was younger. These days I have chilled out a bit and I will do anything for an easier life – so we are using disposables! Please feel free to judge, but I know that the amount of constant washing would drive me crazy and reduce me to tears on a daily basis. So Pampers/cheaper supermarket own brand are the way forward for now.
  • The amount of nappy bags that I am using to wrap said disposable nappies in, before plonking them in the wheelie bin, before they end up in landfill and take 20+years to break down all the while leaking chemicals into the soil. All that we can do ATM to save waste is to put two pissy nappies in the same bag. Lame.
  • The amount of washing. The pile of pissy wet babygrows never goes down!
  • The constant washing of hands. More water usage.
  • The water used for sterilising.
  • The amount of packaging for his milk. I am currently breastfeeding Dylan, but because of his low birth weight and current slow weight gain we have been advised to top him up with formula. So we are currently using the ready made Cow and Gate mini throw away bottles to save time with heating powdered milk and sterilising bottles etc. Again, anything for an easier life.
  • I am also this close to saying f**k it with the breast feeding and sticking him on the formula full time to get him gaining weight and to make life slightly easier (which also as an extra bonus doing this will piss off my slightly-mental-pro-breast-feeding health visitor who I cannot stand and who suggested that I buy one of these to give him his formula in. Can you imagine Rob wearing it! – Actually, please don’t! That’s a really disturbing image!)
  • The amount of stuff that you need to buy that only gets used for 4-6 months.
  • The fact that most of it will be chucked, as nobody really buys second had baby stuff like cribs etc.
  • TMI alert – The amount of maternity pads that you get through before, during and after. All going to landfill.
  • The fact that I have been this close to ordering a tumble dryer.
  • And despite a long history of setting fire to them and breaking them, I have purchased a new microwave to sterilise bottles in. Unfortunately the microwave steriliser that I also ordered was too big to fit inside my new microwave. Oops! Never mind at least we can have jacket potatoes for tea again and reheat our cold cups of tea!
  • The fact that I wanted to only use organic, eco friendly baby bath products etc but I have been gifted a shedload of J&J baby smellies, Vaseline and Sudocream etc. I will just have to suck it up and use these paraben and petroleum containing products. And be grateful for them. Which I am – honest!
  • The amount of baby wipes that I will use.
  • But despite my guilt at increasing the hole in the ozone etc, despite the lack of sleep, despite the fact that I am a emotional teary wreak most of the time, my love for this babe is growing daily. Now please excuse me while I put another load of washing on and put the heating on full wack to dry it! #explainingnotcomplaining

Lately #15

Here is what I have been up to lately –

We went camping again for another one night quickie trip. This time was with my sister, her family and my parents who stayed in a glamping pod as my Mother refuses to camp. And we remembered to take our towels this time! We stayed near Stonegate in East Sussex in a lovely little campsite that was for Camping and Caravanning club members only. Oops! I did not realise that small detail when I booked it, and I felt really guilty and like a fraud when I filled in our details in the paperwork when we got there! Ah well, hopefully, they will never check us out!!

My one and only snap of our break

My one and only snap of our break

Spotting some knock off Pyrex Cinderella bowls in TK Maxx. I could not believe my eyes when I saw these amongst the official Pyrex! I cannot remember the manufacturer of them, but needless to say, they were made in China, the land of cheap counterfeit goodies!

Apologies for the terrible mobile snap. I am due an upgrade!

Apologies for the terrible quality mobile snap. I am due an upgrade soon!

Washing my hair with Dr Bronners. I would love give low poo or no poo a go, but my hair is quite fine and greasy, so I always cave in and reach for my bottle of SLS and paraban free shampoo. Recently, I found some Dr Bronners at a discounted price in my local TK Maxx store, and I love it! Its great as a shower gel too. You only need a few drops as it foams up loads so a bottle will last for ages. I love all the hippy stuff about it, like that its not tested on animals, vegan and completely biodegradable. It also opens up lots of homemade cleaning solution options, but to be honest I will probably just stick to using Wilko’s cheap ready made white vinegar and liquid soda crystal solution to keep things cheap and easy!

Eating homemade lollies to survive the heat. I made the simplest of simple homemade lollies by just juicing a bowl of oranges and pouring the juice into my moulds and freezing them. Its a refreshing (if a little sticky) treat full of vitamin C and much nicer than the sugary alternatives in the supermarkets. And so simple! I cannot believe that I did not think of doing this before! Disclaimer – this was not my good idea. I saw it on someones blog!

Hand model I aint!

Hand model I aint!

Acquiring a new blog obsession. Like I need another, eh! But now, alongside my usual lifestyle, 30 something British lifestyle, mid century modern, vintage, food, frugal and Pyrex blog collections in my Feedly feed (I love saying Feedly feed BTW!) I now have a new category – Cycling and fitness blogs! I guess a lot of people might think that reading these kind of blogs would make you feel inferior because you never work out and feel like a fat bastard because you prefer to eat cake to kale (or is that just me that I am talking about here?) but I must be immune to all that stuff, because I find them really positive and inspiring! I am so pleased with my new blog discoveries that I might write up a little completion of them in a post on here soon. So many blogs about so many women being happy and enjoying life, it would be rude not to share the blog love!

We had our new flooring fitted yesterday. I am so pleased with it! We are nowhere near finished with the decorating yet, but I have shared a little sneak peek of the progress so far below. We replaced the crappy laminate that we inherited in the hallway when we moved in 5 years ago, along with the kitchen flooring and the carpet in the dining room. Whats that I hear? Didn’t you just put in new carpet in the dining room and vinyl down in the kitchen not that long ago? Yes, we did, but from the minute we laid down the kitchen flooring, I hated it. It was too dark and ridiculously hard to keep clean. I put up with it for three years (yes it really is three years since we decorated the kitchen!) Finally, we sucked it up and accepted that we made a bad choice with the flooring (or rather I convinced Rob to change it) and we set about fixing it. Next came a few stressful window shopping trips around flooring places. Agh! Too many options! Too many colours! Too expensive! But eventually, I decided that I wanted pale, neutral coloured flooring, and we found some we both liked in the first shop we looked around!
Regarding the carpet in the dining room, it is being relocated upstairs to the smaller spare bedroom. We found that the dining chairs were slowly ruining it with their pointy feet, and laminate is much more practical for times like when the cat throws up in there (she always chooses that room for some reason) and when I am feeding my nephews etc (they are messy little rascals, believe me!). Plus Rob needs a bib when he eats sometimes too.

Top row - the concrete floors hath returned! Bottom row - a little look at the progress we have made. It also needs cleaning FML!

Top row – the concrete floors hath returned!
Bottom row – a little look at the progress we have made. It also needs cleaning ATM!

BEDN 10 – Something Different

Day 10Blog about something completely out of your comfort zone. Maybe you’re a Food Blogger so write about a Beauty product. Or if you’re a Parent Blogger maybe write about a Tech gadget? If you’re a Craft Blogger maybe write about Fashion?

For todays post I thought I would do a blogging first for me – recommend three beauty products.

I am slowly but surely switching my everyday beauty products to affordable, cruelty free, natural alternatives. I don’t want any nasty chemicals that I cannot pronounce on my skin, I want the green stuff that I cannot pronounce instead thank you! Plus I want to be able to stay in the black after buying it! Here are three products I love –

1. Argan Oil

Image from hollandandbarrett.com

Image from hollandandbarrett.com

Back in May I wrote about how I wanted to find an green alternative to Bio Oil as it contains Paraffinum Liquidum which is basically petrol, a non renewable source. I only use Bio Oil on my face as a night time moisturiser and I knew there are plenty of alternative natural facial oils to chose from. But they were all in the £20 – £30 price range and I wanted change from a tenner.

During my research for a new facial oil I read good things about Argan oil, so when I saw some on offer for £6.49 in Holland and Barrett I snapped it up. Sure enough it works a treat, is great on my skin and my face feels really soft and smooth the next morning. The only downside is that it smells a tad funky. It has a slight cows manure whift to it.

But please don’t let that put you off! Its a great product and a little goes a long way. Because I only use it on my face, my bottle will last me ages. In fact I might even pay over a tenner for it next time!

2. Waitrose Baby Bottom Butter

Image from waitrose.com

Image from waitrose.com

 

Not just for babies! This is my green alternative for Vaseline, the oh so handy but nasty to the environment petroleum jelly. Great for chapped lips, dry elbows, knees and the rest. Even babies bottoms!

 

 

 

 

3. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm

Image from burtsbees.co.uk

Image from burtsbees.co.uk

Some years before I decided to try and banish all chemicals in my beauty products, I found that I hated lip balms as they all felt sticky and tasted horrible. I bought a Burt’s Bees lip balm to try, because its 100% natural and I was hooked! It is still one of my favourite products and I always request these as gifts. Last Xmas I received two tinted lip balms from Santa in my stocking, the Pink Blossom and Rose colours.

I bloody love the Rose one! Its the perfect shade of everyday red lippy for my skin tone. Not too brassy, flattering on my ghostly grey-white boat race, plus it keeps my lips from chapping. Win win! Do yourself a favour and buy one ASAP!

BEDM 13 Go Green

Day 13 – Talk about being green, eco-friendly or ethical. What do you do to make a difference?

Being green is something I don’t really think about. It is just something I have always done.

When I was a kid in the 80’s, even though my parents did not have a huge amount of spare cash, I remember Mum made a point of buying our shampoo from the Bodyshop because they refilled the bottles.

My parents also grew their own vegetables, first in the back garden, then in a allotment. They used a shopping trolley, did not own a car until I was in my teens and I remember they cut up our old vests to use as dusters.

Gardening vintage style. Image from google.

Gardening in the 70’s involved cuddling. Image from google.

This grow your own, waste hating attitude is something my parents held long before it became fashionable. It was partly because they grew up with parents (my grandparents) who had lived through the war years, partly to save money and partly because my Mum was a huge fan of The Good Life and wanted that 70’s self sufficient lifestyle!

So consequently I have always recycled what I can, long before the local council issued everyone with a box or wheelie bin to separate their waste in. I try to avoid buying food with a lot of packaging, or cleaning the house/using beauty products with nasty chemicals in them.

Mine look just like this but with out the compost. Image from google.

Mine looks just like this. But without the compost. Image from google.

Another thing I am quite in to is composting. I have two compost bins in the back garden. We stupidly put the bins under the tree in a shady spot, so its taking ages to make any beautiful compost – doh! And few months after I paid for our compost bins, our local council issued everyone with another separate bin for food waste. Never mind! I am just so ahead of the times. I cant help it!

A long held ambition is to grow my own veggies. I have a water butt and the composters ready for the future veggie patch. I would love a wormery and some chickens too.

Unfortunately I have not inherited my parents green fingered genes! Hopefully at some point in the future I will get my act together and grow loads of courgettes that are technically marrows to make loads of disappointing, tasteless dinners with.*

There is always room for improvement and these are some things I am working on –

  • Find an alternative for Bio Oil that does not contain petroleum – a non renewable source.
  • Stop using cling film.
  • Buy more ethical clothing, secondhand stuff and things manufactured in the UK.
  • Donate to Greenpeace.
  • Stop using baby/facial wipes.
  • Buy a greener washing powder or make our own.
  • Find out which products use ethical palm oil.
  • Only buy Whole Earth Peanut Butter and hide it from Rob who eats all my expensive peanut butter before I get a look in.

*I am a marrow hater. This is my second anti marrow statement on this blog. I am already dreading the homegrown marrows my parents are going to start sending over soon! Yes I know I am a ungrateful daughter.

Rob’s Birthday Gift

The end of June brings Rob’s birthday. This year for his main gift I bought him tickets to Indie Tracks (yey!) and a SodaSteam Genesis machine.

RRP £60. Bought by me for £45 in Robert Dyas. Money well spent I hope!

Now I am not a huge lover of fizzy drinks, but Rob can easily guzzle down a 2ltr bottle per day of whatever we have in the fridge (Dr Pepper is his fave).

This is all very well and good but I have been increasingly unhappy about the amount he drinks and the amount of bottles we end up recycling.

I have only got the power to change one of those things. My goal is to reduce, reuse and recycle, so if buying this means that the amount of plastic in my green recycling wheelie bin goes down. Then I will be a happy girl!

 

Image from The anti room. I think this is how my parents 80’s one looked!

I can just about remember when I was a kid in the early eighties my parents had a SodaStream in their kitchen as they were all the rage back in those days. Recently they have become more popular again, as people get more concerned about the huge eco-footprint caused by the manufacture, transport, waste and recycling of plastic bottles.

I hope we (mainly Rob) will get many years of fun from our new SodaSteam. I personally cant wait to have sparkling water at the push of a button! And you don’t have to just use the SodaStream syrup’s. We can use any cordial we have to hand. I cant wait to have a fizzy Bottle Green elderflower drink!

But the thing that sold this product to me was that there is a slimline tonic syrup. So when we have our G&T’s we never have to worry about running out of tonic water! Yey!