We Believe

Car seat poncho/cape

After discovering that Coats and car seats can be a disaster in the case of an accident, I started looking for an alternative way to keep my toddler warm to and from the car and while the car was still warming up.

My searches came up with nothing in the UK, and the postage from the US was more than I could bare paying. So I started looking for a pattern I could buy to make one for my toddler and any other babies in the family. After searching and searching I couldn’t find what I wanted. This lead me into researching pattern making where I developed what I believed to be the best solution and set up shop!

Each one is made with love and care with the hope of hundreds of safer children in car seats.

I did however have a moral dilemma! To appeal to a wider audience and get as many children as safe as possible they would need to be warm, soft, affordable and look good. This meant the use of synthetic fibres- Fleece. Not great for saving the planet. Or I appeal to a much smaller audience using all natural fibres that may not be as warm (untested as of yet) and out of price range for many people but I got to be a low waste shop!

I decided to go with the fleece to begin with and add other fibres to my shop for anyone who is on a journey to zero waste or prefers natural fibres as I go along (after testing). So although I won’t be achieving any prizes for how environmentally friendly I am, I decided my main priority was child safety for all and hopefully I can persuade more people into the natural fibres as I go (and perhaps even towards a zero waste lifestyle).

I am however doing my best to find a use for all off cuts leaving as little waste as possible.

Reversible Fleece ponchos are now available here:

I will keep you updated when I have a fully tested poncho made from natural fibres


Grow your scraps- Garlic

Attempt 1

This experiment took off brilliantly and I thought I was on to a winner. I planted it after it had already begun to sprout in the cupboard.

After a few days I saw a little growth

After a couple of weeks I saw a lovely tall shoot, approximately 5cm tall! I was so excited! 

But it stopped growing. 

I waited and waited and waited just in case it began growing again.

Guess what, I waited to long! My shoot died overnight and I didn’t even get to take a picture of it! 

But for some reason I decided to leave it, just in case something happened. Is the pot I put it in too small (possibly, it really is tiny and not sure what would grow in there) and it did, the top started to go green again as if it was going to produce a new shoot. So I waited, and waited and waited. The shoot never got bigger, and in the meantime I had 2 more bulbs in the drawer trying to sprout. Let’s try again.

This time I planted them straight outside 

Tada! Strong healthy shoots only a week later! I’m so excited! Now just to wait till it’s a large bulb again šŸ˜

The ‘why?’ stage

That time in your child’s life they start asking ‘why?’ To everything! B has just started this today! 

This could go one of two ways:

  • The most stressful time of your life so far
  • A time to stop and think about why rather than just thinking ‘coz it does/is’.

Option 2 doesn’t come naturally, and I know in the future I will forget and become guilty of reverting to option 1. But if you pause momentarily you tend to be able to come up with a decent explanation and can broaden your child’s knowledge. If you don’t know the answer I suggest consulting google, it doesn’t matter that you don’t know, you’re human. Simply answer ‘oh I don’t know, I’ve never thought about that before let’s find out together’.

Granted this method may take a significant amount of time longer but overall should be less stressful in my opinion. Because let’s face it, when your getting wound up at the endless why questions, not much gets done anyway, you’re too busy getting stressed out and just wanting them to shut up! But by indulging them seriously and calmly for 5 minutes, it may just give them that little bit of what they needed; connection, information, entertainment, knowledge.

We take for granted what they are curious about so don’t understand the curiosity sometimes. But the more these little sponges we call brains can absorb the more they want to absorb, so turn everyday things into amazing lessons, for both of you.

Neuroscience Shows Breastfeeding Is Not Just Milk

Womenā€™s Health Today

Lifelong effects of breastfeeding on mental health

Early life experiences set the stage for physical health in later life. Reducing early toxic stress isĀ key to preventing disease in adults (Shonkoff, 2016).

Breastfeeding is one important way to decrease early toxic stress. Recent studies have shown that breastfeeding increases babiesā€™ physical and mental well-being, and these effects go well beyond the composition of the milk. Maternal responsiveness is key to understanding these long-term effects. When mothers consistently respond to their babiesā€™ cues, they set the stage for lifelong resiliency in their offspring. And responsiveness is built into the breastfeeding relationship. We see this reflected in childrenā€™s mental health.

In one study of 2,900 mother-infant pairs, breastfeeding for one year was associated with better child mental health at every age up to age 14 (Oddy et al., 2009). Longer duration of breastfeeding was associated with better childā€¦

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Zero waste on Zero budget

I’ve come to realise that many a time, anything about reducing waste and avoiding disposable products seems to come with a lot of cost. You are then faced with the choice: cost to your pocket or cost to the environment. I don’t blame anyone for putting their own financial situation first (well unless you get paid millions- in which case you have no excuse) 

It doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many small things you can actually do without spending anymore money, and in fact you can still save money on top of the environment a lot of the time!

I started my journey on very little money, then shortly after I began my husband lost his job and so our income dropped even more (it actually dropped to credit card use as I was/am a stay at home mum), but instead of going back to disposable ‘cheap’ products I had to look outside the box for things I already had or could get even cheaper or free. 

So I had already started making lunches for Mr M (a small price otherwise he would buy something while out which costs money and comes in packaging). I mainly did pasta salad or cous cous and put them in jars that I had kept from sauces and dips. These are other things I started doing/using:

  • Always have a reusable bag with you! 
  • Keep sauce and dip jars wash and re-use for Leftovers, lunches, propagating scraps etc.
  • Regrow your vegetables from scraps (you will be surprised how many you can stick in a jar of water and will root and continue to grow!)
  • Make packed lunches for when out and about
  • Grease pans and sprinkle flour or cornmeal on them rather than lining them
  • Keep the paper from your butter for next time you need to grease something 
  • Switch to butter and make your own spread in a blender. I like this recipe it works out cheaper and avoids the plastic tubs spread comes in
  • Swap paper towels for rags/napkins. You could cut up old sheets, clothes, towels (although you may need to sew the edges to stop fraying, if your not keen on this check charity shops for cloths and napkins)
  • Swap dish sponges for rags/cloths (or loofah-which can be composted)
  • Shower less- if you feel dirty try just washing with a cloth instead (washing less is actually good for your skin as the soap products you buy in stores strip the natural oil from your skin which it needs for moisture)
  • Same for your hair! Look up ‘no-poo’ there is loads of information available how you can save time and money by washing your hair less (I actually only wash my hair every 2 weeks and don’t use shampoo- my hair is much healthier than it used to be)
  • Try a ‘useful’ hobby- baking, knitting, gardening, vegetable growing, soap making. Keeps you away from internet shopping too šŸ˜‰
  • Buy what you need second hand- there are loads of ways to do this now- Facebook groups, charity shops, Freecycle, Gumtree, eBay 
  • Buy dried foods in bulk- most cities have food co-operatives where you can buy packaging free but if you don’t have one nearby 1 big bag of pasta is less packaging than 3 small ones
  • Don’t buy snack size packs, buy a big pack and split yourself into small containers. Those jars you’ve been saving will be perfect.
  • Clean and reuse your ziplock bags (they’re stronger than you think)
  • Buy meat in bulk and freeze in smaller portions (re-use your plastic bread bags since most bread comes in plastic bags now anyway)
  • Reduce your meat consumption. A lot more energy and resources go into producing meat and its harder to get packaging free.
  • Keep food scraps and peelings and make your own stock (I’ll do a post on this soon)
  • Swap your usual cleaners for distilled white vinegar and soak orange skins in it to give it citrus scent
  • Buy a 5kg bag or potatoes and use one day to prep some homemade freezer chips, frozen mash, and even jacket potatoes! I will update with links to how I do this soon!
  • When you feel your vegetables are coming up to the end of their life but you won’t use them in time, chop them and freeze them. Carrots, broccoli and cauliflower don’t require any prep beside chopping and freezing in a container or reuse bread bags again. Some vegetables may require a little prep (but I tend to use those before I need to freeze).

Comment your suggestions below and I will edit and add as I think of more too!

Unexpected surpriseĀ 

So my period finally returned when B was 22.5 months! Woo! I finally had a chance of conceiving! I predicted that my cycle would be about 28 days as that what it used to be. So when I my next period didn’t return I took a test. Negative. Hmm strange, never mind, maybe it’s just going to be a longer cycle. Another week passed and still no sign of Aunt Flo visiting. Another test- negative. Maybe, B has been nursing more again and stopped my period again… maybe that first one was just a fluke or one off and they never intended on returning anyway.

B’s birthday was now fast approaching so my attention went to sorting everything for that out. I made an Elsa cake, I prepped food, gathered cloth napkins (my attempt at at a low waste party) my mum’s plastic plates and cups, picked up the gazebo (in case it rained) and did a big clean up (ready for everyone to make a mess of). 

In the morning of the party we headed downstairs, B opened her presents and played for a while, we then had some breakfast (and a coffee for me too). And off the cuff I decided to do one more test, just to confirm I was right that my periods had disappeared again! (Bear in mind this is day 42 of my cycle now) at first glance I didn’t see anything and I nearly just threw it away very quickly, and at second glance I saw what looked like a little shadow of a line! 

I thought I was going crazy! So I waited a little longer to see if it changed anymore.

A minute later it was definitely a line! A very faint line. Which makes me wonder how long it took me to ovulate! I would have had no clue if I hadn’t done that test! 

So I returned downstairs and asked B if she would like a baby brother or sister as an extra birthday present. She was so excited, and Mr M just looked confused as I showed him the test strip. So despite this being second time round I had to explain how a test works and what it meant (to be fair I had to refer back to the instructions to check which way round the lines had to be to be positive/negative the first time I did a test this time round too).

In the afternoon we decided to tell all our family and friends who came to the party. The women all squealed with excitement and ran to me to give me a kiss and a hug. It was almost as overwhelming as when I revealed my pregnancy with B where I wrote it in a Christmas card to everyone and handed them out at the family secret Santa party that’s held each year (I have a large family at that party). Perhaps I was a bit more prepared for the reaction this time.

I’ve already started looking at the gender prediction tests and old wives tales! 

So far Mayan calendar says Boy and Chinese calendar says Girl so who knows!

There’s more than 2 parties

As the snap election has sprinted towards us, of course thoughts have been on my vote, what will make the most and best impact on our country? And it occurred to me that a lot, if not most, people simply vote for the preferred choice of the two biggest parties because ‘no-one else has a chance anyway’. This made me wonder what the election results would look like if everyone who preferred the policy of a smaller party actually voted for them instead of just voting for the ones who have ‘the best chance’ surely they all have an equal chance if we all actually voted for who we want? Even if they don’t take the lead and become the next Priminister they will have more seats and chance to grow and influence on what gets passed!

There’s more than conservatives and labour! We have gone back and forward between the two parties with the occasional influence of a smaller party creeping in. And so far from what I see, neither seems to have managed to make such a significant difference that we begin to like them and believe in them. So why stick with them when there are other options?

Here are a couple of links to website that provide extensive lists of Political Parties on the UK:

I don’t have enough milk to breastfeed- sound like you?

Unfortunately this is something I hear so many times. Lack of support available to new mum’s really doesn’t help: a lot of healthcare professionals are still using outdated information (a lot of professionals do give good information too). 

I am no professional, but I always do my research on anything I am passionate about, and I am passionate about helping as many women as I can to breastfeed. To me it has always been the natural option and I didn’t really have any doubts, but I know I am one of few women who feel this way. I had bottles in because I was told I should and I had been given some second hand ones from a family member. But in reality I didn’t expect to use them unless B accepted expressed milk in a bottle from dad (which she didn’t).

I have looked and looked for articles from professionals with their own research and references for months so that I could share it with you, but have struggled until now. Certainly finding something that is easy to read and not heavy on big words and is positive without making mothers feel bad.

This article from UNICEF is just what I have been looking for! It’s not long or wordy and says everything in plain English without going overly scientific. 


Death by ChocolateĀ 

Just over a week ago Mr M mentioned about his mothers birthday and he needed to get something. The conversation didn’t go much further than that since it wasn’t the main topic, it was that dreaded money topic! 

A few days passed and the thought crossed my mind again about her birthday. I hadn’t spoken to Mr M since about it so I decided to do some thinking of my own. What could I make for my mother-in-law?

A Giant Cupcake! I hadn’t baked properly in what felt like forever! Perfect opportunity to get my baking tools out! She loves cupcakes and loves my baking (used to be a regular occurrence)

Discussed it with Mr M and he agreed it was a good idea. It saved us money (I had most ingredients in and it costs less than buying anyway) and it is a thoughtful handmade gift.

So I spent a couple of days in the kitchen. Admittedly, it is significantly harder to do things with B ‘helping’ and it takes a bit longer. But she loves being involved and with the right direction and enough patience from me, we got it done! 

Giant chocolate cupcake, with chocolate buttercream filling and topping and decorated with chunks of various chocolates. Tempted to whip up a fudge type sauce and drizzle that over it too before we head off.

B helped make the cake, ice the board with the colour she picked (which was the hardest part as she wanted to eat it and poke holes in it! Perhaps it’s time for. Play dough activity) and sandwich the 2 sections together with buttercream. I decorated it when she went to bed, not sure I would have managed piping patterns with a 21 month old helping! 

The recipe I used was actually my standard cupcake recipe but doubled.

  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs (I buy mixed weight)
  • 250g flour

To make it chocolate I substitute some of the flour for cocoa, I think about 25g but I’m terrible for measuring cocoa and always used more than a recipe called for!

  • Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  • Add eggs (best to have them at room temperature, same as the butter, to avoid curdling) and mix well
  • Gradually stir in flour/& cocoa
  • Split evenly between the 2 sections of the giant cupcake mould
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 1hr or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake

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