XR Fashion Boycott

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for the Extinction Rebellion fashion boycott.  The below text is taken from the XR Fashion Boycott pledge page, I don’t think I can write it any better than this…

‘We are in a climate and ecological emergency. If we don’t act now, we will face mass food shortages, the collapse of our civilisation and extinction. We can no longer afford to use land to grow crops to produce textiles, or to extract oil to produce synthetic fibres and pollute the air and water.

There is now only one way for the fashion industry to be sustainable – to stop pointless consumption and say no to virgin resources and fossil fuels. We must use what we’ve already got, regenerate the natural world, and envision cultural and economic systems based on the well-being of people and planet.

Fashion is not to die for. Join me in saying no to new clothing and yes to life on earth. This is a 52 week fashion boycott, in which together, we radically change our relationship with clothes.

Sign up by clicking here

For the next year, I’ll be making do with what I have, mending when things wear out and buying second hand.  I actually love the challenge of finding clothes in charity shops or popping to our local clothes swap shop. I challenge you to do the same.

This is also going to be a great opportunity for me to hone my upcycling skills, I’d like to try and refashion a few things and I’ll be looking for clothing items that I can cut up and sew into clothes for Aidan.  So stay tuned for more to come on this and look out on my Instagram for a few outfit of the day pics.

 

Cloth Nappies – Our Set Up

I thought I’d show you what our nappy table looks like (on a good day). I never really expected to keep up the use of the changing table but it’s particularly useful, I think, when using cloth nappies. It’s nice to know that everything is in one place, I’m not running around looking for somewhere to put a wet nappy, or nipping away from a naked baby to find a liner.

This is our changing area, it’s in Aidan’s room so we’ve made it quite a nice spot.

We have a changing mat, a storage box and the wipes on top.  The bin is on the floor to the left and the drawer on the right is our nappy drawer, this has our folded nappies, spare liners, covers and boosters.

The white bin is for rubbish the grey is for dirty reusables.

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On the left we have our reusable wipes and the clean water. In the storage box we keep disposable nappies for night time, we have some biodegradable single use wipes and below is a packet of biodegradable nappy bags.  We always keep a muslin and a towel on hand for snotty noses, sick, wet hands or wee! In the bottom corner are creams and hand sanitiser and a roll of bin bags.

That’s it! At the moment streamlining nappy changes is a must, Aidan’s quite the little wriggler!

Plastic Free July

Signing up for Plastic Free July was a bit of a no brainer for me. We’ve been wanting to do a waste free month since before Aidan was born, but as soon as he arrived the thought of trying to go waste free with a baby was a bit overwhelming. Plastic Free July was a great excuse to throw out all our excuses and get on with it!

If you go to their website and Take the Challenge there are a couple of different pledges to choose from and you can do a bit of mixing a matching. We selected ‘Avoid single-use plastic packaging’ and ‘Target takeaway items (the Top 4: bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups)’ and we are making this pledge for all of July. We are being realistic with ourselves, our aim this month is to REDUCE the amount of single use plastics we use. We’re not going to call it a failure if we end up needing to buy an emergency Hovis from the corner shop, but we’re going to do everything we can to avoid needing to. Likewise, it’s hot at the moment, if we get caught out somewhere with no reusable bottle, we’re going to buy water.

Reducing plastic waste – or any waste for that matter – is all in the preparation. Meal planning, shopping lists, taking bottles/cups/straws and bags with you just in case. But also being prepared to do without. I’m going to be really strict with myself on the takeaway items, if I don’t have my cup, I wont be taking coffee away!

I’ll be doing some weekly updates on my Instagram stories as well as looking at some daily challenges and tips from others who are taking part. At the end of the month I’ll do a full recap here and let you know how we got on.

Are you taking part in Plastic Free July? Let me know I’d love to follow your journey too, if you’re sharing.

Cloth Nappies – What do you need?

I feel like there are two options for starting out with cloth nappies.  You can ease in, in which case you’ll probably do really well with just a couple of nappies and something to put dirty ones in. You can build up from there as and when you feel ready.  Or you can dive straight in and get everything you need in one go.

Here’s what we use, it works really well for us but of course this is not the only way to do it! Try things and find what works for you.

1. Nappies! We have around 15 nappies in our regular rotation, and four night time nappies which we use if we’ve been a bit disorganised and nothing’s dry. We don’t currently cloth at night. I really enjoy having a couple of different types of nappy, I’m not sure why! We currently use two brands, Totsbots and Bambinomio. I’m going to do a more in depth look at our nappies in a future post.

2. Liners. Technically I guess these are optional but we find them to be absolutely necessary. There are a couple of different options: you can get reusable liners, biodegradable and, I believe, you can get flushable but I’m not sure if these are recommended as you should really only flush toilet paper down the loo! I made our liners out of an IKEA fleece blanket, I measured up against the nappy and just cut the blanket up into strips and they work brilliantly! The fleece helps keep moisture away from little one’s skin so even if the nappy is really wet he normally feels nice and dry. They also help protect the nappy and keep it clean. More on liners in a later post!

3. Wipes. If you’re going down the reusable nappy route you might as well use reusable wipes too if you ask me, but whatever you go for pick something that’s going to be kind to your baby’s skin. No point using a lovely fresh chemical free cloth nappy and then wiping nasties all over their little bum! More on wipes in a future post.

4. Somewhere for dirty nappies. We use a swing lid bin and a totsbots mesh bag. It’s tempting to get a bin or bucket with a tight lid to try and keep smells down but letting them have a little bit of air will help keep them fresher for longer.  We never keep soiled nappies hanging around, they always get rinsed straight away. Guess what! I’m going to talk more about washing nappies in a future post 😉

5. Wet bag(s). I know there are some people who just use reusables at home, we did that in the early days, but if you’re taking your nappies out and about you’ll need somewhere to put them when they are wet or dirty.  A zipped waterproof bag is all you need. We have one with two pockets, we use the smaller front pocket for clean bits and the back pocket for the dirty.

6. Nappy wash. Depending on what brand of nappy you choose, check with them about what they recommend for washing. Normally powder is recommended as liquid can build up more quickly.

That’s it! It really doesn’t need as much stuff as you might think. Like I said, there are lots of options and depending on which kinds of nappies work best for you there might be a couple of extra things you need.  Did I miss anything that you think is really useful? Let me know!

 

 

Cloth Nappies – When, Why, How.

Before Aidan was born we were firmly in the camp of the cloth nappy. After speaking to a few friends who cloth bummed, we made the decision to wait until he was around a month old and then to cloth in the day and use disposables at night. Pretty much everyone I spoke to said they found using cloth a night to be inconvenient and disruptive.  We ordered a tester kit from Totsbots which had a couple of options to try out.  We also got a few second hand nappies from a friend. Perfect! We had already saved money and we had everything we needed right? No stopping us now!  Well not quite.

We tried on and off but we just couldn’t get it to work for us, every nappy leaked and we were going through clothes faster than ever before so, we stopped.  We tried a biodegradable nappy which wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite as absorbent as the Tesco or Aldi brand ones that were sooooo much cheaper. We had to ask ourselves a few questions.  Why do we want to cloth nappy? Why is it not working? How can we make it work!?

We wanted to cloth nappy for two reasons really.

1. Cost. Sure the outset can be expensive if you buy all new nappies and if you’re like every other cloth bum mum/dad and can’t resist all the adorable prints, yes you could end up spending a lot of money. But in the long run you save money and if you use the nappies again for a second child you’ll end up saving even more!

2. The environmental cost. We know that nappies and baby wipes are really bad for the environment.  It’s really hard to justify using disposable nappies and wipes.

Here’s an article on The Nappy Lady from Totsbots about plastics in disposables vs reusables.

Why was it not working? The two main reasons it wasn’t working for us were that the nappies we had been given had been well used for 3-4 years and two children prior to ours. Cloth nappies, of course, do wear out and sadly many of the ones we had been given had done just that. The ones that hadn’t worn out however, were still leaking.  When cloth nappies are put under pressure by clothes or straps, like in a pushchair, they can leak.  We hadn’t taken Aidan’s, now larger, cloth bottom into account when dressing him.

So how do we make it work for us?

We bought more nappies.  We were able to make the second hand ones last us while we slowly replaced them, we now have around 15 nappies which we wash every other day.  We upped Aidan’s clothes size.  He’s now usually in a vest one size up from what he “should” be in and we are conscious of how tight trousers are on him. And finally, we persevered, and we got the hang of it.

We’ve now been full time (during the day) since January and it’s become so easy for us it’s a wonder that we ever did anything different!   We would definitely do it again next time round, probably from day one if we can get enough newborn sized.

To avoid this post being too long I’m going to go into a bit more detail on some of these points in separate posts.  I’ll add links to those posts into this post, so bookmark it if you want to see more details later.

Goals for 2018

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I rarely make my yearly resolutions or goals public.  I normally think about some things I’d like to do, maybe I’ll write them out but then I’ll just see where the year takes me. I really don’t mind doing that and have quite enjoyed going with the flow.  However this year is going to see some big changes in my life and I think I need to introduce some forethought and planning into my year if I want to come out of the other side still feeling like myself.

In June we are expecting our first baby and one of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given so far is to try and continue living life the way you want to.  If you enjoy travel, travel with the baby. If you like eating out, you can take the baby along! Knowing myself if I don’t push myself to get up and get out of the house, I’ll just laze around all day and do nothing and that’s not good for me or the baby.  So I’ve set myself 8 goals for the year.  I’ve been fairly kind to myself I think, but still tried to push myself out of my comfort zone a bit.

1. I’d like to read 50 books*.  I did this in 2016 without too much trouble so lets give it another shot.

2. Visit 3 new places.  I’ve left this fairly vague for a reason, practically speaking I’m not going to be jetting off to new countries this year with a big baby belly or a tiny tot in toe.
But England is a beautiful country and one that I’m embarrassed to say I’ve seen very little of. Closer to home even, I’ve really seen very little of Norfolk and East Anglia so I need to plan some weekend trips out!

3. Sew an item of clothing.  I know how to sew, and I know how to sew clothes.  I made a dress for the evening do at my wedding so I know I can make things I like wearing and want to do this more.  But this item of clothing doesn’t have to be for me.  Maybe a tiny baby bonnet is all I’ll manage this year but that’s OK too.

4. Learn a new skill.  Again a fairly vague one but there’s a whole year for me to figure out something new I’d like to learn!

5. Do something new every week.  I work part time and so unless I make plans to do things my free time can end up being wasted.  I don’t feel like I push myself out of my comfort zone enough and what to try and make sure that I don’t waste my last few months of child freeness. When baby is here I’m sure there will be a ton of new things I’ll be doing.

6. Blog and Vlog more.  I’d like to pick up my YouTube channel again and get back into the good blogging habits I started at the end of last year. Lets see!

These next two are things I’d like to do BB (Before Baby)

7. Declutter.  We’re about to introduce a small human and all its associated paraphernalia into our home… There’s not a lot of space.

8. Do a waste free month.  This ones going to need a bit more thought but we actually throw away very little general waste so what can I do to reduce that even more?  This one really excites me and will probably come with a bunch of blog posts and videos *fingers crossed*

*I’m going to do a YouTube video about my reading goals for the year.  Got a few prompts for myself.

Autumn Bucket List

I’ve seen a lot of people doing a kind of seasonal bucket list and I really like the idea.  It can be really easy to miss out on the changing seasons, what with work and life taking up so much time.  Having a small list of things you’d really like to do and planning time to do them is a great way to ensure you really appreciate your time.  It can be so easy to make no plans and waste a weekend or day off.  Here’s my Autumn to-do list!

  1. Have a snuggle picnic.  I totally made up the name of this. I wanted to go for a picnic during the summer and never did.  So I’d like to pack up loads of blankets and cushions and snuggle up in a park with an autumnal picnic!
  2. Bake Parkin and/or Gingerbread. Parkin is a traditionally northern English cake or biscuit.  Like gingerbread but made with black treacle.  Perfect for nibbling around a bonfire.
  3. Go fruit picking. Any Norwich based folks with tips on where to pick fruit hit me up!
  4. Have a dinner Party. For me, Autumn feels like the perfect time to fill your house with friends and delicious food.
  5. Carve a Pumpkin. Ok so it’s cliche but I do love carving pumpkins and it lends itself perfectly to my last one…
  6. Make pumpkin pie (and make mum try it). I love pumpkin pie and it shocks me that my mother has never had it. (although that would explain why I never had any until my 20s).  This year I’ll be sure to get mum to try some.  This is my favourite recipe


It’s taken me to the end of this list to see that I obviously like food in Autumn…. All food based!

What’s on your Autumn bucket list?

Favourites September Edition – Summer Memories

This summer brought with it a lot of change and a lot of excitement. Of course my birthday should be the highlight of summer for everyone around me, but this year we had other things to celebrate.

Since I’ve been married I have been sharing my husband with another being.  I think it’s fair to call it a being because it’s taken up so much of his time and energy, has caused us excitements, stresses and disappointments. This summer my husband finished his PhD and is now officially Dr Mundy.  We attended his graduation in Manchester and it felt like some kind of birth/funeral hybrid. 


This trip also brought with it another excitement, driving. Earlier in the year I passed my driving test (second try, all the best drivers pass second time).  We bought an old car from a work friend and the 5 hour drive from Norwich to Derbyshire was the first long drive I made.  I had to do all the driving, it was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. 

We moved house (again. We have lived in a different house for every year we have been married). Moving brought us closer to our allotment from which we got our first (and last) harvest! We’ll still be eating the potatoes at Christmas.  We also abandoned the idea of an allotment in favour of a container garden.

Plus there was A LOT of great coffees and brunches with Laura from Rose and Weston. More of that in Autumn please!

My Hair – A Love Hate Relationship

I think it’s fairly safe to say that at some point everyone gets a hair cut, or a colour (or maybe just wakes up one day with hair) that they hate. I pretty much live in a constant state of hair hate.  I might like it for a little while but I get bored or I change shampoo and suddenly my hair does nothing the same as it used too.

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When I was young my hair was straight, I normally wore it in a bob with a fringe or long and shapeless, all in all it was OK hair.  It’s always been very fine, but generally speaking there was nothing wrong with it .  When I was about 12 I took myself along to the hairdresser and thus began my hair issues.  I had about 3 or 4 inches off and without that extra weight my hair sprang into some kind of wavy, kinky mess.  I think I saw people from school on my way home and they laughed at me, never before had anyone laughed at me for my hair so I knew it was dreadful.  Truth be told, looking back now, it wasn’t that bad, I just didn’t know what to do with it. After years of washing and air drying with no issues I now had to put thought into it. I survived this haircut by scraping it back into a ponytail and ignoring it.  (I won’t talk about the time I crimped it for the school disco… people who didn’t go asked if it was true I really had an afro…)

It wasn’t until I was 16 or so that I really started to think more about my hair.  There had been a few bobs and fringes, but up until I hit my Emo phase I just let it do what it wanted.

Emo brought with it very short hair with a long fringe, black hair dye, lots of product and for a short time, a bright red fringe.  In a lot of way this was some of my favourite hair times.  Keeping it short and messy meant there was very little for me to do with it.  Maybe run a straightener over the fringe, but that’s about it. Only thing I didn’t enjoy was my hairdresser telling me the photo I’d brought in was of a boy and did I know that… And did I still want the haircut? Maybe some pretty layers instead, with a bit of feathering?

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This opened the way to keeping my hair pretty short through my late teens and early twenties, and a particular favourite of mine was my platinum pixie cut. I’d have that back in a shot if I still had the face shape for it!

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My latest trick is growing out my fringe just to cut it back in as soon as it’s reach the right length.  On occasion I even cut it myself, I think I got pretty good at it.  I’m currently in the growing out stage, having returned to the bob with fringe look, again.

The most recent disappointment was when bleaching it straighten out some really lovely curls I was just getting the hang of.  And of course I got bored of the blonde and home dyed it ginger, which I also got bored of and dyed it, what was supposed to be brown but turned out red.

I’ve had some great hair ideas, I thought about rainbow coloured hair. For a while I wanted some kind of mermaid blue/green wavy look.  I’ve thought about and actually attempted to dye the underside of my hair green… I do sometimes consider just shaving it all of but I’m scared I might have a weird head.

Cliche time… It’s just hair! It grows back!  If there’s one thing I’ve learned and I’m sure will continue learning it’s that it really doesn’t matter what you do. It will grow back,  and if things get really bad there are some fantastic wigs out there.

 

Favourites: July Edition

For my July favourites I want to focus on my favourite household objects.  More specifically my favourite objects in my favourite room.


We have recently moved house and are working our way through the rooms getting them just the way we like them.  The first room was my dressing room / office, I might do a post on that another time.  We are just putting the final touches to the living room, this is the room that’s quickly become my favourite.

We don’t have a TV (we watch a lot of Netflix and DVDs) so we normally just load whatever we want to watch up on a laptop.  Our living room is very minimal and I love that your eye isn’t drawn to a massive black rectangle as soon as you step in.

For our anniversary we bought ourselves a new radio/CD player/Bluetooth speaker system.  We are in love with it, it looks really sleek and a bit retro and is super simple to use and set up.  The sound quality is great and it comes with a whole load of features like an alarm and a sleep timer that we’ve not really looked into yet.

We have a lot of green in our lives. Hubby’s parents recently adopted our cats and since then we have felt a real lack of life in the house – plants are the next best thing to pets I think. They lift your mood and they can be interesting to watch grow and change.  They will fill the four legged gap until we are ready to welcome a new fur baby into our lives.

I’m a knitter, and, as such, I make many many blankets, cushions and sometimes foot stools!  Knitted fabric is a wonderful texture and when it’s a nice colourful pattern it can be a real feature in your room, we have a table/basket (we got ours from IKEA) that holds all our blankets when it’s too hot for them.

Everyone loves a candle, right? I particularly like The White Company for candles. At the moment we have Ocean Tide.

We are planning to add a chair and a coffee table to this room and then it’s done done done!

What’s your favourite room and why? Let me know down below!