Eco Mum, Guest Blogs, Other fabulous ladies

5 eco-swaps for parents- Guest blog

Whether you are a first time Mummy or Daddy or are experiencing parenthood for the second or third time, looking after a baby is all consuming and whilst it is a magical time, caring for a newborn can also be exhausting! However, you can still be your best eco self whilst caring for small children, it just takes a little thought and planning. Anything you can do to cut back on plastic usage and overall waste is better than before and models the way for the next generation!

Not sure where to begin?

Here are my top 5 eco swaps for new parents.

1 .Toys, Clothes and Baby Equipment 

I would personally find it impossible to cut out all plastic toys from my children’s lives! On the other hand, cheap plastic tat is simply a waste of money as it ends up breaking and being thrown away, where it then ends up in landfill. I dread to think how much plastic landfill waste is made up of discarded toys. To reduce your plastic toy footprint, there are a few things you can do:

-Make a list for family and friends when it’s birthday time. On it include wooden toys, gift vouchers, experiences and money for the children’s piggy banks. One of my 5-year old daughter’s most prized possessions is a fabric sparkly sequin bag she asked for last Christmas. It has had so much more use than some of the plastic toys she was gifted.

Shop preloved– my 3-year old son absolutely loves our local charity shop! (And so do I!)

Opt for wooden toys. We have lots of wooden toys from push alongs, building blocks and drums to our much loved wooden play kitchen. We also have a handmade mud kitchen in the garden which my Dad and husband put together one weekend out of old pallets. Check out Pinterest for ideas! (Note: they are not builders and it looks fantastic!) Once you use your imagination, the sky is the limit!

For clothes and equipment, check out Ebay, local Facebook selling sites, charity shops, and nearly new sales. All offer excellent quality second hand items. If friends and family members offer you hand me downs, take them and say thank you! Babies grow at an extraordinary rate, so are in their clothes for approx 3 months before they outgrow them. This means that second hand items are almost always nearly new and will have plenty of life left in them. You can buy baby bundles for a few pounds on Ebay. When you are finished with them, sell them on or donate to charity. 

Equipment-wise, you can pick up buggies, Moses baskets and play mats all second hand, which will do just as good a job as brand new items. (Note: If buying second hand cots or Moses baskets, it’s worth buying your own new mattresses.) If you are having a baby shower, why not ask for handmade gifts, bunting for the nursery, money or vouchers for a pre-baby spa day!

2. Bathroom productsBathrooms can be absolutely full of unnecessary plastic bottles. Mine used to be, but with a few tweaks, we have cut back on loads of plastic waste. Instead of bottles of children’s bubble bath, we swapped to bubble wands from

They last ages and smell fantastic! To my children’s delight, we also swapped out liquid soap in a plastic bottle to a chocolate flavour shampoo bar by Lamazuna. We also got rid of our plastic sponges and swapped to linen and cotton versions. Shampoo bars and sponges are available at:                                

3. Drink bottles and Cups


We never leave the house without Mummy’s reusable coffee cup or the children’s metal water bottles from As they are metal, they are more sustainable than plastic and do not contain any of the nasty BPAs found in plastic alternatives. We also try to sit down rather than take out at cafes so we can have drinks in reusable cups. Don’t get me wrong, my children love a plastic bottle of juice as much as the next child, but it’s all about reducing consumption wherever possible. The amount of disposable coffee cups I have saved from landfill since starting my plastic conscious journey is amazing!

4. Nappies and wipes

This is perhaps the most obvious one, and the one people seem to struggle with the most. I didn’t switch to reusable nappies until the birth of my third baby, but I really wish I had swapped sooner! 8 million disposable nappies are sent to UK landfill EVERY DAY. 8 million! With each nappy taking an eye watering 400-500 years to break down, it’s never been a better time to make the switch to cloth nappies.

People always ask me whether or not washing reusable nappies is eco-friendly because of all the water, the short answer is yes! The process of making disposables uses an astronomical amount of water – according to Baba and Boo, washing three loads of nappies a week uses about 200 litres of water whereas manufacturing enough single-use nappies for a week uses 1,550 litres.

Cloth nappies really aren’t that scary to switch to. Once you have your stash of nappies (around 15-20), washing them just becomes a part of your normal routine. My advice is to start small, why not trial cloth nappies before making a permanent commitment, or agree to use them during the day until they become more familiar? Many councils offer money off or free nappy schemes. Why? Because it is in their interest to reduce waste, particularly the smelly nappy kind! There are lots of nappy libraries and preloved groups on Facebook. I would definitely recommend giving them a try before you dismiss the idea of trialling cloth nappies. Like me, you may surprise yourself!

One of my most favourite swaps was to ditch disposable wipes for washable cloth wipes. I cannot emphasise enough how much I love this swap, mainly because I was SO sceptical about it to begin with. After a few of my friends telling me how much nicer cloth wipes were I dubiously decided to make the leap myself and have never looked back. I had to try them to believe them!

To get set up. I spent just under £40 on an all in one kit from The kits have everything you need to get started – 25 wipes, 2 containers (for clean and mucky wipes), essential oil and 2 out and about wet bags for wipe storage (clean and mucky.) The system makes it so easy and you will soon discover that you use far less cloth wipes than disposables – yes even for messy poos! Each day, I pop used wipes in the wash with my usual load of washing. If there are poo wipes, you can either give them a rinse under the tap first or save them up in a mesh bag and do a special nappy and wipe wash. I like to wash my soiled cloth wipes at 60 degrees, but 40 also does the trick if they have just been used for sticky hands and faces.

If this swap seems unrealistic, why not do it in stages, first transition with one pack of back-up disposables alongside your cloth wipes until you are ready for a complete switch. If you need any further convincing, why not calculate how much you spend on disposable wipes in one year? £3 per week adds up to £156 a year – a lot more than £40!

5. Host Eco-Friendly Birthday Parties

Children’s birthday parties can create a ridiculous amount of unnecessary plastic waste. Plastic cups, plates and cutlery can all be easily swapped for paper and wooden versions. Cheap paper bags can also be bought online to replace plastic loot party bags. Sustainable wooden party bag fillers can also be found online. Even better, than party bags, why not buy a pack of books to divvy up?

When choosing sweets, think about those that come in cardboard tubes or boxes rather than plastic bags. All these swaps are eco-friendly, easily recyclable as well as being cost effective.

It’s also worth investigating whether or not there are companies who offer eco-friendly parties in your area. In Hertfordshire, you can hire reusable plastic cups and plates from The Little Green Party Company (check them out on Instagram.) They deliver to your door and take away all the dirty plates afterwards. Zero waste and super easy!



Eco-parenting needn’t be much different from any other kind of parenting. With just a few mindful swaps, you could save yourself money whilst helping the planet at the same time. One of my favourite quotes goes something along the lines of:

“The world needs lots of people making a few swaps, rather than a few people making lots of swaps.”

It’s far better to work your way up to something that will last and become a habit rather than setting yourself unrealistic expectations. My advice is to start small, make swaps where you can, one at a time and be kind to yourself. Aim to be better than before and just keep going! We can all make a difference if we try.

For more eco advice, tips and ideas check out my blog and plastic-free online shop

You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.


Other fabulous ladies

Children – think of the children! (Guest blog)

I am a Nutritional Therapist, that basically means I use food as a means for improved health and often preventative health (i.e. what can food do that medication would simulate?).  

Surely the best form of preventative health is to get the next generation healthier? You may be surprised to know that if we managed this it would go against the current trend as currently, we are getting unhealthier: –


It is expected and accepted amongst many scientists and health professionals that this generation will not live as long as the one before it due to lifestyle choices and the associated diseases”.


‘This generation’ is my generation, parents of young children today are not expected to have as long a life expectancy as our parents.  Pretty scary right? Not only that but when we look at epigenetics we pass on certain heritable traits via ourepigenome including Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity so this trend will continue.  But why?


There are many reasons why we are getting unhealthier but two things I focus on a lot are: –

1. Generational lack of food knowledge and understanding of nutrition
2. Changing food landscape – our food is unrecognisable to 20/30 years ago.


Both are pretty big issues but let’s look at our changing food landscape, what has happened to it?

 Substantial rise in convenience and heavily processed foods
 Processed foods
 Artificial sweeteners 


None of this is new but the scale of it is and there-in lies the problem.  ‘Treats’ are now the norm, taste-buds have been trained to crave these ingredients in abundance and in terms of our health this is what it is doing: –


Children, yes were not talking adults here are experiencing;

 Type 2 Diabetes (I was recently with a GP who diagnosed an 8-year old with this)
 Tooth decay in milk teeth
 High cholesterol
 High blood pressure
 Joint issues
 Respiratory issues
 Low self esteem

And to top it all off we have a huge increase in children and adults alike being malnourished not due to a lack of food but the nutrient devoid nature of the food.


“I ate sweets and had chips when I was a kid, did me no harm! Besides kids run around all of the time, there’s nothing to him how can he have food related health issues he isn’t fat?


Now, I hear this a lot and it’s understandable in a way why people feel this way but children are not quite as developed biologically as adults so they cant tolerate as much of these ‘weird’ ingredients plus we cannot compare like for like as I mentioned above our food landscape is now unrecognisable – consider this: –


Children have under developed detoxification systems, meaning that processed foods, high-fat, high-sugar, high salt foods all place an additional burden on their system, it is not easier for them to burn it off.


I was asked to focus on sugar for this blog, big issue is sugar but the sugar tax helps right?


Hmmm, depends on who you are! As a consumer the same products may cost you more.  In terms of health I would strongly advocate a diet free from artificial sweeteners, the problem with the sugar tax is, to change recipes food manufacturers have had to bung in a load of these to keep the sweetness people expect.  


What can we do about sugar? Well, if you are a new parent or a parent to be it’s much easier- many children have developed a synthetic palate by the age of 2. The younger the child the easier it is to train taste buds yet many babies and toddlers are consuming sugar via drinks, snacks, yogurts and cereals from weaning stages.  Your life and their health will be improved if you avoid introducing sugar and most certainly sweeteners for as long as you can. By this I do mean not giving them fruit or naturally occurring sugars.


Sugar is linked with mood disturbances, poor sleep and concentration problems – I cannot stress strongly enough that your life as a parent is a lot easier if your child is not addicted to sugar.


Now, how to avoid it is a different matter entirely. My top tips: –


 Remember you are in charge not the child
 Try not to pass your taste buds on to them, i.e. wouldn’t it be cute to give the baby ice cream? No not really.
 Avoid yogurts aimed at children they can be full of sugar and sweeteners
 Avoid drinks with fruit in the title unless it is actually fruit juice and even them mix with water (the younger the child the higher the water ratio)
 Avoid jars of savoury sauces they can be full of sugar
 Avoid cereals aimed at children, they get away with calling them healthy because they fortify them with vitamins and minerals but many are full of sugar
 Try not to always have a pudding, it sets a habit and an expectation
 Try not to comfort or reward with food particularly food they consider a treat – it can lead to emotional eating adults 


I talk regularly on this subject and aim to educate people to make their own empowered choices and decisions on the foods they eat and the foods that build their children.  Food manufacturers will not make a seismic change to their products, yet once you start to look at their products more closely you may be less inclined to trust them with your child’s health and relationship with food.


I may sound grumpy or anti-fun in this blog, I am not! I see many health issues that could be avoided and many parents who are tired/exhausted/upset/at the end of their tether with their children’s eating habits.  I do enjoy cake and encourage people to have a balanced relationship with food, it certainly isn’t all Kale and seaweed here! But I feel strongly about people being duped with food and the implications that this may have.


I have written more on this subject in my book and in this there are many recipes and suggestions for faff-free family cooking that is easy to implement.


I am always happy to chat on food issues and concerns.