Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Tryhards guide - How to be eco with kids


Having kids can be a minefield of plastic crap and mass consumption or so it seems. Birthdays and Christmas they get showered with presents, most of them with batteries that play the most annoying tunes that gets so ingrained in your brain that you don’t notice yourself humming the tune to sleep at night. So many ads target kids with the latest fad and trend and please don’t get me started on kids’ meals and the plastic shite that comes along with them.

So how in all this madness can we still give our kids some fun and excitement of childhood without killing the planet in the process? Is it even possible? I believe the answer is yes with a little bit of know how you can do it.

I will place a disclaimer right here, there will be times where you need to break the rules and do what is best for your sanity, you cannot win at everything just do the best you can (I’ll explain my breakage later on).

First up embrace, embrace, embrace – secondhand and hand me downs. Kids grow out of clothes so fast, so head up your local Salvos, Op-shop, Gumtree, Ebay, Facebook sell/buy groups for clothes, shoes, toys, etc. Ask any family members that have older kids for hand me downs. Secondhand furniture is great, we got given a change table, bassinet, baby swing, pram, car seat all free because people were no longer using them and most of them were still in pretty good nick. All we bought new was a cot and mattress. One of my brothers has 3 kids (2 boys and a girl) so whenever the youngest boy grows out of his clothes, my sister-in-law packs them up and hands them over to me for Star Boy, the only things I’ve ever had to buy for my son in the past 18 months (clothes wise) was a beanie (which I did buy new) and a pair of ugg boots ($2 from the Salvos) and that’s it. She also passes along toys the kids no longer play with, only last week we got given a Smart Trike that her littlest is too big for now.

If your budget allows you to buy organic, eco-friendly products online or in-store do that please as there’s so many great things available now but if it doesn’t don’t beat yourself about it, just do what you can with the resources that you’ve got.

Kids don’t need as many toys as we think they do, if they have too many they can get overwhelmed with choice and not even play with most of them. My son (18 months) favourite things to play with is cars (anything with wheels) and books (most of them secondhand) – he has one bucket full of cars and he’ll happily play with them all day (with breaks to disappear off into his books). Ask family and friends when it comes to birthday/Christmas not to give big presents or if there is something particular you want ask them for that, that way you don’t end up with mountains of presents. For Star Boy’s 1st birthday party this year we asked for no presents and asked for donations towards Compassion International instead (we raised $160) we were still given presents but it did reduce the amount he received.

Food wise if you are a cook/baker then making your own baby/kid meals and snacks is a great option but if you aren’t that way inclined or just don’t have the time, look out for healthy foods in little to no packaging or at least packaging that can be recycled (soft plastics can be recycled through RedCycle at Coles).

Love your local library, not only is it a great free place to borrow books, dvds, magazines etc for yourself and the kids (we come home with a stack every week) but most libraries have so many free activities for kids of all ages. We go to storytime and duplo club most weeks, there’s also baby rhyme time, kids crafts, bedtime storytime at night (where kids can come in their pjs and bring a teddy), so many school holiday activities, craft afternoons, lego clubs – the works, it’s amazing what is available for free. Your council rates help fund these programs so get out there and use them up.

The biggest thing is don’t beat yourself up if you do end up doing something that isn’t really eco. My biggest downfall has been disposable nappies. I bought the reusable nappies, we tried them for months, I followed the rules and regulations with them but no matter what I did, they leaked, they smelled, they left marks on his skin, they were such a pain to use. I persisted and persisted for months and months. By the time Star Boy was 11 months old I had to stop using them and just went full-time with disposables. I berated myself badly for doing it but I live with depression/anxiety and all the trouble I was having with the reusables caused my depression/anxiety to flare up big time. I was so stressed out, I was tearful all the time about it and it was just adding onto all the anxiety I was already feeling about looking after a very active/full on baby boy. So I did what I had to do for my sanity and for my health and just quit the reusables and went with disposables. There are some great eco disposable nappies out on the market now, unfortunately not within our price range (I don’t work currently), if I could afford them I would buy them, so I do what I can with the resources that I’ve got and I try extra hard in other areas to make up for this downfall.

There are so many options out there when it comes to buying for kids in all price ranges and budgets so keep your eyes open, check out garage sales, curb side finds, Facebook groups, ask friends and family, do what you can and along the way you’re helping to look after our amazing planet and also teach your kids some very valuable lessons.

Do you have any eco tips you’d like to share? Please I’d love to hear them.

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Monday, 2 October 2017

DIY Feather Wall Hanging


This post is sponsored by Stickeroo

October is my blogs 5th birthday and what better way to celebrate than with a lovely DIY and competition (more on that at the end of the post)

I've seen a number of these lovely feather wall hanging on Pinterest and have also wanted to try one myself. After I was sent some lovely feather stickers by Stickeroo I had the perfect excuse.

The things you'll need:

- a stick (I used a branch off a wattle tree that someone cut down in our complex)
- paint (you can pick up mistinted pots for only $2 at Bunnings)
- stickers
- feathers
- beads
- lace
- whatever you have lying around (I used a heart I made in a pottery class a few years back)
- bakers twine
- needle
- single hole punch (I used it for the stickers so I could thread them with bakers twine)
- sharp scissors (to cut round the stickers a bit more)


Trim the branch to the length you want, I used a hand saw for the first time. If you want to paint the branch give it plenty of time to dry, I left mine in the sun for a few hours, paint it any colour or design you like. 


Once the paint is dry, use the lace and make a double knot on each end of the branch to keep in on there securely. 

Using the bakers twine, thread on your stickers, beads, trinkets etc and attach to the branch in any configuration you care to create, making sure you double knot the twine so it doesn't move along the branch. 


Now find a place to display and enjoy. 

It's as easy as that. 


Stickeroo which has recently launched is an Australian Sticker Printing Company who are proudly Aussie owned and made. They do all their printing locally in Melbourne. They print a whole variety of stickers for companies and businesses, logos as well as custom designs for anyone. The stickers I received were of different types of feathers I found free online. The quality of both black/white and colour printing is amazing, super impressed by it. Their turn around is pretty good and they also offer free postage - can't get better than that. 


So to celebrate my 5 years of blogging, Stickeroo would love to giveaway a voucher for 50 free Die Cut: 5cm by 5cm stickers to one lucky person (Australian residents only) - all you need to do is comment below what would you do with your 50 free stickers. The winner will be picked at random, competition closes 16th of October 2017. 

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

So many questions not enough answers


I get questioned a lot, anything I do in life is pretty much always questioned – Why are you doing that? Why would you want to do that? Why do you like that? Why do you have to be so different? Why do you want to make that? And so on and so forth. Ever since I was a little girl my thoughts and actions have been scrutinised so whenever I want to start something new or try something different or just plain do anything I come up with a list of answers to all the usual questions I get asked.

But you know what I always seem to miss a question, I never have enough answers, there’s always another question and another. I cannot keep up. I find it so tiring always having to be prepped and ready with the answers and sometimes I don’t even know the answers. So how can I give answers if I don’t know them?

I’m starting to realise that I’ll never have all the answers to all the questions because people are always going to doubt me, to question me, to ridicule me and scrutinise me because people will always doubt/question/ridicule/scrutinise themselves. The questions are not personal attacks against me, they are personal attacks against themselves and I’m just the one in the crossfire. Doesn’t make it right or fair at all, it’s not an excuse for the behaviour but it’s a reason for the behaviour. I’m sure myself I’ve done this to others without realising it. We all carry around self-doubt and when it becomes too heavy for us to carry any longer we start throwing it at others in unhelpful ways.

Self-doubt is crippling, I’m full of so much self-doubt, and there have been many missed moments and opportunities in my life because I doubted myself terribly. This is something I’m constantly working on and also how to not let others influence my self-belief too just because they have their own self-belief issues.

Do you get questioned a lot? If so how do you find the answers? Or do you have a way to handle all the questions that get thrown at you? Do you have self-doubt?

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

September Mindful Style Challenge


I love a good style challenge and I've been missing them lately, I haven't seen them around for awhile so I've decided to create my own for the month of September and I'd love for you to join me.

Style challenges hold a special place and meaning in my life. Back in March 2014 I joined my first one on Instagram through Fox In Flats. I had just had my first miscarriage, I had a terrible infection from the removal and I was in a very low place. I saw the style prompts and thought why not, I need to do something. While the pain (both psychically and emotionally) didn't go away but just for a few minutes everyday, I focused on something else, I had a something to look forward to. Picking out what to wear seems so simple and automatic but in that moment in time it was my lifeline and I'm forever grateful.

Clothes have a way of making us feel so many emotions, they can be both negative and positive. We can feel amazing or we can feel blah, can bring us up high or bring us down low. It might just seem like clothes but as the saying goes "the clothes make the man" and they can make the man/woman feel awesome!!!!

Yes I know clothes are vanity in a way and there is so much going on in the world that's more important but is it really bad if picking out something to wear and sharing it can bring a smile to your face and just make the world feel a little less horrible?

I'd love for you to join in with me next month and celebrate all things happy. You can join for a day, a week, the whole month it's up to you. Interpret the prompts as you like and please use the hashtag #smilesmindfulstyle so I can see what you are all wearing and here's to bringing a little bit more sunshine to our day.

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Always a student


My beautiful little 15 month old boy Star Boy started swimming lessons back in February this year. Every week since then I have dreaded Tuesday mornings because for 30 minutes straight I’ve had to watch my baby boy cry and scream his way through his lessons in my arms. Most weeks I just wanted to get out of the pool and go home never to return again, cause here was my happy chappy boy becoming a complete mess every time we stepped into that pool.

I did return each week because swimming is a vital skill to have and I don’t want him to miss out on all the fun that comes with swimming as he ages, the beach, pool parties, visits to his cousins’ pool, learning how to backflip into the pool while giving his mother a heart attack, swimming carnivals etc, plus having the skill to swim can help save his life.

Growing up I was always allowed to quit whatever I was doing, the moment it got tough I’d quit and walk away never to try again. I don’t want Star Boy to do the same, I want to teach him that yes things can be hard to learn and it takes time to learn a new skill but it’s worth the fight. It’s taken 24 weeks for him to stop crying during swimming and he now has started to smile, play, clap and enjoy swimming, including giving the instructor a high five at the end of the lesson. He’s still not fussed on being submerged under water yet but recovers straight away (he just needs to learn to close his mouth when going under the water and then he won’t swallow the entire pool).

If I had of walked away over the last 24 weeks Star Boy would have never had learnt how to enjoy the water or swim. By pushing myself I’ve made progress on learning the skill of not quitting myself, so while teaching Star Boy I have also learnt that I’ll never stop being the student.

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