Eco Mum

Being Eco – one step at a time

We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. – Anne Marie Bonneau aka The Zero Waste Chef

This is one of my favourite quotes when it comes to trying to be eco-friendly. Its small steps, done one at a time; eco-friendly living can be intimidating, and think a lot of people can be put off by that, so don’t make the effort. I think it’s really important just to realise that every step you do make, is a step forward.

I’m writing this blog to help others understand simple and cost effective ways to help you ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. I think people think plastic is ‘the enemy, and long term it’s one of the enemies, but a plastic item you will reuse time after time is a keeper- so many people seem to be ‘disposing’ of plastic, to buy a ‘plastic free alternative’ without realising that’s the problem – stop wasting, and stop buying stuff you don’t need.

I’m not perfect, I’m far from it- this blog isn’t coming from a righteous position! I can’t afford to, have time to, or truly want to do all things that being an true ‘eco-warrior’ involves. I drive a diesel- although I’d love a hybrid or electric car, we still use disposable nappies (although I hate the waste we produce) as I cannot find any time in my life to do more washing, and I’m a pescatarian not vegan, nor do I want to be. Oh and I best say; otherwise they’ll be a comment from my husband, my worst habit is leaving the lights on!

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall

Here’s some simple, cost saving or cost effective ways of reducing your impact on the earth.

Reduce:

• Do you really need this??? Don’t need it don’t buy it.

  • Reduce waste by using reusables instead! My faves are below
  • Make your own cleaning products, or buy refillable/eco options

• Buy in bulk. Even if you buy items in plastic buy the bigger bottle/bags etc. it’ll be less plastic in the long run. I buy the giant packs of dishwasher tabs, washing capsules etc.

• Avoid tiny, travel sized bottles- more plastic, more waste. If you travel, then get reusable travel size kits and fill up with you at home products.

• Don’t waste food; buy less (don’t buy multipack plastic wrapped veg, buy loose instead), freeze left overs or use the Olio app to giveaway unwanted food insert link

Reuse:

• Reuse your plastic bottles and get refills where possible, lots of products have refills which you can get in supermarkets- hand wash and washing up liquid are common; and means less plastic waste overall.

• Hand down, sell on or do swaps. Clothes, kids toys and household appliances generally get disposed of before their life is over; donate to charity shops, friends, use random acts of kindness groups on facebook, use *Thrift to sell on your clothes, sell your kids stuff at preloved sales or have swap parties with your friends.

• Fix fix fix; fix it don’t chuck it. Not skilled to fix it yourself, do a quick search and you’ll probably find local fixer cafes.

• Hoard what you’d normally waste if it can be reused; I wash and keep any glass or plastic jars and zippy bags. And use it to organise my food cupboards, craft cupboards and take to refill revolution at *Harborough Eco Village

• Hoard what you’d normally waste if it can be used for craft activities; (great if you have kids or can be donated to childminders/nurseries)loo roll inserts, packaging from parcels (shredded paper/bubble wrap/ polystyrene.

*links below

Recycle:

Do your research and find out what you can recycle locally. Think beyond your refuse collection or local tip (but obviously use these too)

• Some opticians can recycle you contact lens packaging

• Some shops offer recycling for crisp packets, squeezy pouch packaging, plastic bags.

• Use your local free-cycle page- you’ll find allsorts

‘Be part of the solution, not part of the pollution.’ – Unknown
When to buy???
When there are good plastic free or reusable items you will actually use.
    Everyone needs a nice water bottle I like klean canteen, chillys and life factory again Harborough eco village have a great range .
    If you buy a lot of coffee/tea then grab a reusable hot drinks cup – I find starbucks have the best leak proof ones.
    Stop buying kitchen roll and get reusable washable ones instead from Avocado handmade
    I do use disposable baby wipes, but only when out the house- in home we have two sets of cheeky wipes one for bums and one for hands/faces
    Make packed lunches or like picnics; grab some reusable sandwich wraps, snack bags etc. my faves are planet picnic and keep leaf available from Harborough eco village
    Period products- yes I’m going there! I love my organicup, I’ve also used a moon cup before (but lost it- somewhere in the house), honestly give them a couple of months and you won’t look back. Don’t fancy it? Why not try reusable/washable period pant or pads.
  • If it’s preloved or ethically/eco-friendly made:

    • I feel at my most smug when I’ve picked up some great clothes from a charity shop, Facebook marketplace or preloved shop. If you’re local to Market Harborough you’ve gotta try The attic, little raine or a good mooch of the charity shops
      I love Thrift + to sell and buy- when selling on thrift you can either use your credit to buy preloved clothes and accessories OR for John Lewis vouchers. You also get to choose a charity to donate some of the taking too.
      Buy eco friendly toys: my favourite are tender leaf or le toy van from The growing tree shop (use ‘ivfninja’ for discount) , Lanka kade from westlodge farm shop, plan toys or petit collage from Kidly.
      Buy well, buy once- don’t go for cheap trends. I try to buy investment buys; I’d rather buy one item that will last for years at £100 than 6 items for the same price that won’t last.
      Mooch a car boot; I hate buying plastic toys for Dorothea, but shes a toddler and loves them- I’ve bought pretty much all our Duplo from the car boot and love a mooch when the weather is good

    We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. – Howard Zinn

    Last but not least; shop local, shop small, support local businesses/individuals and organisations that are making eco efforts. Join in on that local litter pic, buy from your local farm or green grocer, support your local eco-village or refill shop- mine is Harborough eco village and its wonderful.

    Got milk?, Milk, weaning and more

    Boob- who knew?!?!?

    When I was pregnant I was determined to breast feed; I tried to read a few book, go on the Facebook support pages and subscribed to mother and baby magazine.

    I thought I knew enough to get me by. But I felt anxious about it all; it’s one of those things you don’t really ‘get’ until you’re doing it. And even then everyday is a school day.

    Here’s some interesting (or weird things I never really knew).

    1. Breastfeeding doesn’t mean the delay to your periods returning.

    Yes this one really sucked; I was led to believe that one of the lovely benefits from breastfeeding was that your got a nice break from periods, this was supported my comments from friends when they were gutted their monthly friend returned after a year!

    Well I had a two week post-partum bleed and then lo and behold- 28 bleeding days later Aunt Flo returned! What the actual fuck- I mean how unfair is that?!?!?!?

    Not only that but whilst I was breast feeding my monthly visitor only arrived every ruddy month perfectly on time! couldn’t do that when we were trying to get pregnant and go through fertility treatment could it???

    Ready for some even more shit news; (and this is a bit gross) when you are actually feeding your uterus contracts meaning that you sit their feeling the blood flood out. I mean lovely- totally wonderful. Mother BLOODY nature!

    ( slightly pissed off infertile woman here)

    2. Let down

    Well where to begin with this one; I’ll just go for it, imagine 37,500 ants crawling all over you tits. Well this is what ‘let down’ feels like. What???? You ask…..

    Well did you know you milk just does sit ready to come out (otherwise we’d all just sit in puddles of milk); your babies first few sucks stimulates you boobs enough to ‘open the gates’ of your ducts- this is called ‘let down’, and let me warn you- that is a bloody weird feeling!

    3. Porn star boobs

    Ever contemplated getting a boob job, or wished you were curvier to help you feel sexier?

    Well about 3 days after birth you’ll get a ‘free trial’ of those huge, rounded, stuck on looking bazookas- and you’ll feel sooo sexy!!! Er nope, they’re huge, they hurt, they feel like they’re going to explode, they’re hot, they’re leaking; and now you have to try and attach a baby onto them. Trying to attach a soft mouthed tiny new born onto a huge, hard, rounded football is flipping hard. And you’ll also decide you don’t want a boob job.

    4. It’s good for your mental health.

    I definitely struggled with my mental health more after weaning Dorothea off the boob. So I did some research and found your brain releases the hormones prolactin and oxytocin during breastfeeding, which help you to bond with baby and ease those normal feelings of stress and anxiety.

    5. Breastfeeding burns loads of calories

    Breastfeeding burns between 500-600 calories a day. That means some mums might end up losing weight without any additional exercise! But in reality it also makes you really hungry- I remember stuffing my face with flapjacks in the middle of the night. Also breastfeeding mums will generally spend more time sitting down- for me this signals ‘snack time’ – so don’t count on losing that weight; but in reality who cares, breastfeeding is great and so are flapjacks.

    6. Rainbow milk. Milk is white right? Wrong!

    When expressing I found that the bottles of milk in my fridge could be different colours- sometimes with a blue tinge! Apparently this change can be due to what you’ve eaten or your babies needs (milk constituents can change daily- clever eh?)

    7. You produce milk long after feeding stops.

    I figured that soon after I stopped feeding that I would ‘dry up’. Not the case- I found in the months following I would leak milk when emotional, and now (over a year later) milk is still there if pressure is put on my boobs.

    8. Breastmilk jewellery

    You can get gorgeous jewellery made from your milk! This one is always controversial, with many thinking it’s weird, but I love my milk pendant.

    Check out:

    https://www.forevernurtured.co.uk

    https://milkdiamonds.co.uk/

    9. Flapjacks!

    Oats are supposed to be good for milk production and flapjacks are yummy! This was a recipe I created; these are great for devouring during night feeds (lots of good ingredients too)

    ⁃ 1 cup coconut oil

    ⁃ 3/4 cup agave syrup

    ⁃ 10 dried dates finely chopped

    ⁃ 1 apple finely chopped/grated

    ⁃ ( melt down the above in a pan until a gooey syrup- then add)

    ⁃ 1 cup chopped off nuts( I used cashews)

    ⁃ 4 cups oats

    ⁃ 1 cup milled flax seed

    ⁃ 4 tablespoons brewers yeast

    Mix well, bake in flat pan for 15 mins at 180 (or until firm and browning)

    10. Breastfeeding is amazing

    It’s also hard work, often awkward, sometimes painful and welcomes some negative opinions. Next time you see a breastfeeding Mum be positive; a smile, compliment, cup of tea or biscuit.