My Earth-friendly Spring Newsletter!
Hey there! How are you? How are you feeling today? I hope you have been taking some time for yourself lately, because self-care has been a big topic for me and the parents I have been working with over the last couple of months! I even had my own self-care wake-up call in the form of a minor motor incident, which shows that sometimes we all need a reminder to practice what we preach!
If you need a little self-care advice, why not read my Mother's Day guest blog post on Wild Ayanda's parenting hub (plus you must check out their gorgeous baby care essentials!). And if self-care really feels like something you are struggling with at the moment, let me know and I will send you a free PDF copy of my brand new Self-Care diary "Oxygen Mask", which is full small daily practices to make sure that you are looking after yourself as well as your children.
My £40.00 Mother's Day coaching voucher will be available until the end of April, so if you or a Mama you know could benefit from a 1:1 coaching session with myself, one month follow-up support, a Parent Wellness session and a Mother's Day gift bundle, let me know!
Spring is most definitely in the air, and I have already started eating hot crossed buns and gazing at blossom trees! I always so grateful when the days get lighter, and the air gets warm enough to go outside without an enormous Winter coat! Thank goodness!
Easter is coming and there are lots of easy and affordable ways to bring the Springtime and the joys of renewal into your home and share them with your children. One of my favourite things to do as soon as possible is bring fresh flowers into the home - there is nothing quite like the scent of daffodils after the darkest, coldest weeks of winter to lift your spirits - and to teach children about the changing of the seasons - these early flowers are nature's toughest pioneers!
This Spring I am thinking all things eco-friendly, and midwife extraordinaire and regular contributor to my blog Shelley Wilson has very kindly shared a few tips with me about eco-pregnancies!
ECO SKINCARE! Shelley says "Your skin will go through many changes during pregnancy, from stretch-marks and acne, to itchiness and rashes, and most women try hard to avoid all of the above, and so are very careful what they put on their skin. Look for products that are ethical, nontoxic, plant-based and cruelty-free, and this way you are not only helping yourself but you are also helping your baby and the environment!"
GO PLASTIC FREE! Shelley says "Another way to help the environment is through choosing equipment and baby toys carefully. Thankfully baby’s bottles no longer contain BPA (Biphenol A) but the majority of them are plastic, as are dummies. Try and look for the glass bottles to try and reduce plastic use, and go for wooden toys as much as possible. The following article will help you make wise choices: Chemicals to Avoid when Pregnant or Breastfeeding."
ECO NAPPIES! Shelley says "Today we have access, thanks to the internet, to many many companies who produce eco nappies. They are made using eco-friendly materials which are 100% biodegradable, sustainable and plant-based. Most of these nappies contain very gentle ingredients with no harsh chemicals which could irritate a baby's skin. There are also plenty of reusable nappies now onthe market which are also worth a look. It is very important to do your research and find the nappies which align with your values. This article may help you with this: 11 Best Reusable Nappies that are Kind to Your Baby and the Planet."
Thank you Shelley! Are you planning an eco-pregnancy? Let me know!
Choose local this Easter! Easter provides opportunities for lots of lovely seasonal food, and I am a big believer in marking the changing seasons with traditional seasonal holiday foods. Check out your local Farmer's Market if you haven't done so already - they are the perfect place to find seasonal local produce, and can be a great way to explain to children where food comes from and how it arrives on our plate! You can find a list of London Farmer's Markets here! (I actually did my university dissertation on Farmers' Markets in London, so it is one of my favourite topics!).
Easter also provides opportunities for seasonal activities for kids like Easter egg hunts, visiting lambs (check out the National Trust's guide to all things lambing here) learning about eggs and chicks - many primary schools in the UK now include "living eggs" projects as part of the summer terms which is wonderful, but you can also find some amazing videos online.
Now is the perfect time to start growing herbs, salad and vegetables, in pots, window sills or in your back garden (if you have one!). A real life learning opportunity and science experiment, growing plants (especially edible ones!) from seed or a seedling teaches the basics of agriculture, and is also a really nice calming, mindful activity to do together. Let your child get their hands dirty, and encourage them to play with water, soil, digging tools, pouring containers, and inspecting whatever bugs they come across.
Something that I am fascinated about at the moment is the concept of "earthing" or "grounding", which is a really great way to reduce stress, anxiety, and increase mindfulness. Great for both adults and kids alike, "earthing" is simply put, the idea that kicking off your shoes and socks and walking barefoot on the ground is benefitial to your health. Remember Julia Roberts teaching Richard Gere to do this in Pretty Woman? The idea has been around for ages, and despite being under-researched, the acknowledgement of the health benefits of this practice are growing all the time - if you are curious, take some time to read more!
My free local drop-in sessions this Spring and Summer will be in the grounds of the beautiful Forty Hall in Enfield - so come along and join me with a picnic blanket and lets do some earthing together while we talk about parenting!
Thinking about booking your summer holidays? Why not minimise your carbon footprint, stay right here in the UK (and support our local tourist industry and all the local small businesses that go hand in hand with tourism!). Think seaside cottages, B&B working farm holidays, camping and glamping - many of my favourite childhood memories are of exactly this kind of holiday!
As a city kid this was really fascinating, and while you may not all be city dwellers, a change is as good as a rest - so just head for an environment that is totally different from home for your holidays (live somewhere flat? Head for the mountains! Live in a landlocked area? Head for the lakes or the seaside!). Giving your children the time and space to explore and enjoy their new environment will keep them occupied while you take some time to relax and refresh after the last year.
We can't have an Easter newsletter without thinking about chocolate! I will eat any chocolate going at the moment, and am not sure my boxed egg is going to last until Easter weekend, but have you ever considered where to buy Easter egg chocolate if your child or a child you know has severe food allergies? Help is here! Allergy mum Manpreet Azad gave me her tried and tested favourite brands and Easter chocolate selections which are both Dairy Free and Nut Free:
1. "Nomo Chocolate – The original. They have a range of flavours but for my young girls this one is absolutely their favourite!
2. Moo Free – the original is a "May Contain" for hazelnut, so we avoid these BUT they have a range of flavours which this year are produced in a separate factory and are Nut Free as well as Dairy Free – AMAZING!
3. Sainsbury’s Free From Easter Eggs are both dairy free and nut free (Tesco and Asda also have dairy and nut free Easter Eggs too.
4. Sainsbury's Deliciously Free From Chocolate Bunny Bar - It’s really hard to find dairy free and nut free novelty chocolates so I love these ones from the Sainsbury’s Free From range – I will be stocking up on these!
5. So Free from Plamil Foods Easter Chocolate Range - I love this brand, but they are only available online."
Thanks Manpreet! Some of my other favourite products that I have come across recently are:
PATCH bamboo plastic-free plasters, perfect for cuts and scrapes, and much friendlier to the environment!
NomNom Kids reusable food pouches - award-winning pouches that are fun, colourful, and dishwasher safe! Perfect for picnics, car journeys and lunchboxes!
Cheeky Wipes reusable baby wipes - kind to babies bottoms and the planet! Search their website for plenty of other eco-friendly wipes and pads as well!
Make a serious sustainable switch and rent your baby's clothing, with the UK's first baby clothing subscription service Bundlee!
I believe that all Mothers and children should have access to the basic essentials that they need (especially considering the enormous amount of waste that goes on in many Western countries!), and inspired by award-winning maternity photographer Louisa Peacock and her #asyouaremotherhood campaign earlier this year, I will now be contributing a £2.50 donation from each of my Initial Consultation sessions to Little Village, who aim to do just that here in London.
Of course it's hard to write anything at the moment without mentioning the refugees from the Ukraine, and there are many ways to lend your support. One organisation that stands out to me personally is the Wonder Foundation which provides resources and support specifically for women and children fleeing the Ukraine.
Potty training season is almost upon us - if you know anybody who is preparing to potty train, let me know! I have a new and updated version of Potty Perfection (my potty training guide) which I send out as a free download throughout the Spring and Summer to everybody who signs up to my mailing list! If you are feeling uncertain about beginning potty training, why not book a potty prep session with me! You can find a 10% discount inside your free copy of Potty Perfection this spring time so grab it while you can! Find out more about my gentle potty training webinar and sign up to my mailing list for your free guide here!
While you are here why not read some more great tips from some of my other favourite specialists: more from Midwife and Lactation Consultant Shelley Wilson, Pre- and Post-Natal Fitness and Nutrition expert, Emma West, The Step-In-Mum Veronika Durham, and Declutterer and Organiser Joanne Forde.
Get in touch for more information on any of the topics mentioned here or elsewhere on my site, I would love to hear from you! Have a lovely Easter!