10 Easy Ways To Start Living More Ethically And Sustainably

So I’ve wanted to write a little something about living more ethically and sustainably for what feels like an age, but I guess I’ve felt too bogged down in the politics of it all at times. After all, if I suggest to switch to compostable bin liners (which, for the record, I am) I’m sure someone out there will suggest not using bin liners at all.

I am a firm believer in every little bit helps. For some, reducing, reusing and recycling to the point where you could fit every bit of trash you created for the year into a jam jar, is the only way to make any significant change. And in some ways I agree. But unless you’ve lived your entire life consciously, then the chances are you’re trying to undo consumer habits that you’ve also had a life time.

Plastic is all around us, so much so that we’re almost blind to its existence. It’s only when you really take a look around that you realise it’s everywhere, not to mention all the single use products we use like napkins, cotton wool, straws and even cutlery.

I remember looking at Little Ored’s toys one day thinking “OMG. It’s all plastic.” I just didn’t think. But now I’m thinking, questioning and trying my best to make changes to my lifestyle so I can live as ethically as possible. It’s not going to happen overnight, but even the smallest of changes have to make a difference and not just to the environment either. Turning vegetarian last July, was one of the best decisions I ever made. No longer could I turn a blind eye to the practices of the meat industry. I had my son to think of now, and I needed to start setting an example to him and what better way than to lead by it?

I’m still completely new at this. Still learning. But below are a few of the changes I’ve made that have been super easy and so make a great starting point for anyone looking to live more sustainably too! And just imagine the impact it would have on our planet if  everyone did just even half of them?


 

Personal Care

1. Toothbrushes

Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one and you can do so knowing that what you’re using is both biodegradable and recyclable (not to mention that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth making it ideal for mass manufacture).

Humble Brush is my personal favourite- they have great ethics as well as a great product.

2. Facecloths

As soon as I started thinking about how I was using cotton wool once and then simply throwing it away, I stopped, because it’s kinda crazy when you think about it. So I bought some facecloths which I now use instead- simple!

3. Bars of soap

I dread to think of the amount of bottles of hand soap and shower gel I’ve bought over the years. I used to think that if it came in recyclable packaging, then it was OK but now I realise that having an overflowing recycling bin isn’t necessarily a good thing and so I’ve stopped buying the bottled stuff in favour of bars of soap. If it was good enough for our Grannies, it’s good enough for us!

4. Old fashioned razors

I ditched the plastic, disposal ladies razor in favour of sharing Ored’s single blade razor. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’ve had a few mishaps but once you get the hang of shaving with this type of razor you’ll find it better than those pesky plastic ones!

Out and About

5. Totes

Since the 5p charge came in for plastic bags, I’ve almost never left the house without a tote bag, and when I have, I’ve had to get creative with the storage under and on Little Ored’s pram! That isn’t to say I’ve never bought a plastic bag but it’s been few and far between compared to the days when I didn’t carry a tote with me.

6.Travel cups, water bottles and straws 

Yes, you have to be prepared in the morning but it makes having coffee on the go completely guilt! And it’s not just coffee. Since I started carrying my 1.5L water bottle with me and refilling it in coffee shops and restaurants, I haven’t had to buy any bottled water in months- another small win against plastic!

House & Home

7. Go Vegan

More and more brands are waking up to the fact that consumers want cruelty free products that are eco-friendly, which is great news as it means that these types of products are easier to get your hands on!

All of Co-op’s own brand household products are both free of animal ingredients and are cruelty free. Marks and Spencer and Waitrose have also followed suit and even Tesco have an own brand range with plant-based, cruelty free cleaning products! And of course you have the long-standing Ecover and Method but whichever brand you plump for, you can do so knowing that no animasl had to suffer for a squeaky clean house.

8. Read the label

Did you know most of the plastic packaging found on a loaf of bread can be recycled, just not on your kerbside? We take ours to the recycling banks at our local supermarket where it can be recycled, along with products such as batteries etc. So it’s always worth reading and checking what parts of your trash can and can’t be recycled, and most importantly, where.

9. Shop smart for your groceries

Buy fruit and vegetables lose to minimise all that plastic packaging. Buying in bulk- such as pasta and rice- will also help do the same but try look for alternatives to your mainstream supermarkets too. If you’re lucky enough to have a package free shop, utilise it- just make sure to take your Kilner jars with you!

10. Eat more plants

I’m not going to tell you to go vegan. I’m not even going to tell you to go vegetarian, but what I am going to tell you is to introduce more plant-based meals in your diet. Not only will your health reap the benefits but the environment will benefit too.

As an excerpt from the Guardian illustrates, the practices of the  agriculture sector are completely unsustainable.

The heavy impact on the environment of meat production was known but the research shows a new scale and scope of damage, particularly for beef. The popular red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions. When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases.

 

So there you have it!

But like I said I’m still completely new at this so if anyone would like to share their tips and tricks for living more ethically, please comment below as I’d love to read them!

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Best Skincare Products For Babies

IMG_0938 (Edited)Ok, so let me start this by saying THIS IS NOT AN AD. It deflates me a little to have to say it but I’m well aware of how product endorsement/monetised blogging has changed everyone’s perception of what appears to be a real, honest post only to read all the way to the end and realise it’s not.

All of these products were either given to me at our baby shower or bought with my hard earned cash. Either way we’ve loved them and they’ve proved to be invaluable to us over the past year and two months.

When you bring home your newborn baby you literally have no idea what you’re doing. Even the most basic things- bathing them and changing nappies, – you have to learn. And whilst you’re waiting on that parental instinct to kick in (which it does, but it leaves you hanging just long enough to send you into Google overdrive) the last thing you need is unreliable products. Or too many. Or not the right ones.

We were really lucky to have received so many gifts before Little Ored’s arrival, all of which left us needing to hardly buy a thing in those first few months. But I do remember having been given about three different types of nappy rash cream – wondering which one to use, if I should use any at all?

Newborn skin is so delicate and so we were super conscious about what we we were putting on it. For example, did you know that most baby wipes contain a form of antifreeze (WTF) which is why our midwife suggested using only cotton wool and water to clean during a nappy change in those early months?

It’s not just about having products that work but also about having products with safe, natural ingredients too. So here’s what we used and what we still use even now!

1. Kokoso – Coconut Pot

This was given to us as a baby shower present from a BFF after I mentioned to her that I’d seen it on TV (yep, she’s a great friend and a great listener)  and it turned out to be an absolute Godsend.

This natural, organic coconut oil moisturiser is designed for multi-use meaning it’s pretty much all you’ll ever need. It’s great for dry/sensitive skin, eczema and baby massage as well as preventing nappy rash. And it’s also cruelty free, ethically produced and made from sustainable, recyclable, BPA free packaging. Hurrah!

We have been using it on Little Ored religiously since he was a newborn. First we used it to help with all of the crazy flaking that all newborn skin goes through and then when that cleared up we switched to using it as a nappy balm. We use it every time we change his nappy and since we’ve been putting it on his bottom he’s never suffered from nappy rash again. Ever.

Comes in a changing bag friendly size making it easy to take out and about too!

2. Earth Friendly Baby Shampoo & Bodywash

Made by the people at Lansinoh, Earth Friendly Baby makes a wide range of skincare products that are all made from organic, natural ingredients (something like 99.2% of the ingredients are naturally derived).

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans alike, EFB is against animal testing and the range is made in the U.K. with recyclable packaging.

A bottle of lavender bubble bath was gifted to us at the baby shower and since then we’ve become devotees. We buy both the lavender and chamomile (which smells dreamy) but annoyingly it’s not stocked as widely and readily as other baby brands so I usually have to order it online.

3. Aveeno Baby

I’m always at odds when using Aveeno products on Little Ored. Because whilst they’re fantastic, Aveeno as a brand are not completely cruelty free, testing on animals when required to by law (in countries such as China, for example).

My personal and ethical dilemma aside, Little Ored started suffering from a bad rash around his chin and underneath his neck when he first started cutting teeth and weaning. In other words there was a whole lot of dribble and bibs just seemed to irritate it further. So on the recommendation of a friend, who was going through something similar with her little one, we bought a bottle of moisturiser. After eating or after an exceptional bout of teething related dribble, we’d clean up him up with warm water and apply the Aveeno to clean, dry skin and within a matter of days the rash cleared up completely!

Now that’s he older we don’t need to apply the product in this way anymore but we do still use it after bathtimes to keep his skin super smooth. And the great news? A little goes a long way!

4. WaterWipes/ Co-op Baby Wipes/ Nutmeg Wipes

Remember how I said that most baby wipes have antifreeze in them? Well whilst cotton wool and water may have been great for indoor changing it just wouldn’t have been practical for when we were on the go, so we stocked up on Water Wipes. Made with just two ingredients- fruit extract and water- these wipes claim to be the purest on the market and they were great for Little Ored’s sensitive newborn skin.

We probably used these particular wipes until he was around 7/8 months old and then we started seeking a cheaper alternative (one pack of WaterWipes costs £2).

So now we use own brands at either Co-op and Morrison’s because both are cruelty free.


Tips and Tricks

  • Avoid using body creams and washes on newborns

There’s probably a lot of conflicting advice on this so I’d say do your research, but our midwife told us that recent studies suggest that applying products to newborn skin can increase the likelihood of childhood eczema. I think the consensus is that newborn skin needs time to adjust to life outside the womb. So for the first 3/4 months we didn’t use any kind of wash or moisturiser, only applying Kokoso to the parts where Little Ored’s skin was flaking to stop it from becoming sore or painful.

  • Do a patch test

You never know how skin is going to react to any kind of cream, but particularly skin that is delicate. If you’re unsure, apply a small amount of product to a particular area and leave for 24 hours.

  • Check the ingredients

Whichever brand or product you opt for, make sure you read the ingredients first. If there’s anything you don’t recognise or you’re not sure about, don’t be afraid to Google it whilst you’re still in the store. Be 100% sure before you buy!

  • Stock up on offers

Besides the wipes, most of the products we buy are somewhere in the middling price point (£5-£10) but when there is a discounted offer on, I tend to buy a couple as I know it will get used eventually.

  • Be prepared

Like I said, we were fortunate enough to receive a ton of skincare products at our baby shower and this saved us having to do any kind of mad rush to the shops in that whirlwind which is the first few months of parenthood. Whether you’re having a baby shower or not, make sure you’re stocked up on the necessities before your baby arrives as it’s one less thing to worry about.

I hope you’ve found this helpful! What products do you swear by for your babies/toddlers? Let me know in the comments below!

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What To Buy For A First Birthday

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This post has been sat in my draft box for sometime now and this morning I decided that if it’s going to see the light of day it’s now or never, because otherwise the Birthday related posts will continue until the next birthday rolls around!


Let me start this post a little off piste by telling you about a fantastic read by Emily Rollings called ‘Slow Blogging.’ If you use social media- Instagram in particular- or blog then it’s well worth a read. I found it to be both an inspiring yet relatable approach to posting content, with an emphasis on quality over quantity. I like to think that social media is like all good things- worth the wait. Which is why, like Emily, I’m going to stop apologising for not posting regularly enough!

(Starting… now)

Back to the task at hand and can you believe Little Ored is turning one in a matter of days? (Four to be exact) which has thrown up the BIG dilemma of “What do you buy a one year old” Suddenly, the gifts we bought for friend’s children, having not yet had a child of our own, seemed laughable. Wind up wooden musical toys albeit beautiful, are by no means practical especially in the hands of a baby!

So it was time to get our thinking caps on and with Little Ored’s first Christmas a not-too-distant memory toys were 100% out of the question. Quite frankly Father Christmas (aka both sides of the family) spoilt him rotten and whilst he’s come to have his favourites it seemed kind of crazy to buy any more.

Now that we’re a one-income household also had to think about a budget. It would’ve been so easy to get carried away and buy gift after gift, but a) we couldn’t afford to do that and b) would have been overwhelming for Little Ored. (We’ve read a lot online about how children are overwhelmed by too much choice and how less toys = more quality playtime).

So with that in mind we tried really hard to think of gifts that will have a little more longevity; presents that he’ll be able to use/keep for years to come.

So here’s what we’ve opted for, with our reasons for doing so. I really hope that by sharing our thought process behind the presents, it’ll help any parents struggling like we did, and maybe help you to think a little more outside the box.

1. All The Things I Wish For You

This personalised picture book was an absolute no-brainer. Not only does Little Ored adore having books read to him (not to mention how often I catch him flicking through them at leisure when in his nursery) but the story itself has a beautiful, heartfelt message, making it the perfect first birthday present. Not only that but you can include a personal message/dedication making it a wonderful keepsake for your baby to read/look back on when he’s not such a little baby anymore!

2. Tipi

When Little Ored starting pulling his ball-pit over his head, relishing the hiding space, it soon became apparent that a tipi could quite possibly be the BIG birthday gift. Despite the price tag (you can buy them on Etsy from anywhere from £40-£150+) we’re hoping that this will be a gift that will grow with Little Ored, giving him a fun place to play, read and relax until he eventually grows out of it (literally). And I think that’s what I really like about this- it’s not a present that by his next or even third birthday, he’ll be done with. I also like that’s there’s so much choice in design meaning that you’ll get something pretty unique that matches your chosen space, with the ability to make it even more special by adding your own little creative touches (lights, pole flags, bunting, cushions etc).

3. Birthday Letters To My Baby

One of the things I love about Instagram is how random follows lead to random discoveries and that’s exactly how I stumbled upon Emily Rollings. I know writing birthday letters has become popular, but for a couple who are both seriously unorganised and have a penchant for loosing misplacing stuff, having a beautifully bound book seemed like the safest way of storing those thoughts, memories, hopes and dreams that we have for Little Ored.

Also, I very much like that I only have to find the time to sit down once a year to write and reflect because quite frankly I’ve failed at keeping on top of filling out his Baby Book as the months have passed!

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