8 Tips for Going Green – by Real Average Mummy

Just over a month ago, DH and I decided to attempt one month totally plastic free. It was Earth Day and it seemed like the perfect way to honour the day. Now, I’ll start by saying, we failed. But, we gave it a really good go, and we learnt a huge amount. We’re now making major changes to the way we live day to day and hopefully that will mean a positive impact for Baby O.

People ask why I’m so passionate (read: ranty and opinionated) about the environment and whilst it started before Baby O arrived, he is now one of my key reasons for being more diligent in my attempts to live sustainably. It devastates me that he may never see the Great Barrier Reef, or Polar bears, or be able to sit on a beach in the Maldives, because we messed it all up, it’s not fair. So, every little bit I do, is in the hope of making a positive change. 

We kept track of every bit of plastic we used for the month and here it is:

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DH makes granola every few weeks, so a lot of this is ingredients for that. Yoghurt we couldn’t live without, a few sneaky packs of cheese, herbs and dried fruit. The scary thing is that if we did this every month, even with the changes, it would take a long long time to get rid of the plastic already in the flat. The bathroom being the worst repeat offender.

When waxing lyrical about all of this one day – and by that I mean getting on my soapbox again – a friend told me to politely shut up and just write my top tips for going green. So, thank you Mal, here they are:

1. Cloth cloth cloth!  Nappies/diapers, whatever you call them. This is the obvious one but often seen as the hardest. Do not listen to the scaremongering! The poop and laundry is nothing, especially when you are washing so much anyway. The savings are immense as well, depending on brands you buy, you can save a ton (check links below).

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Babies will use an epic 5,850 disposable nappies in their lifetime, and each nappy will take around 450 years to biodegrade. Yuk. If going fully cloth isn’t for you, perhaps try swapping out just a few a day, perhaps when you are staying at home with bubb. 

Many people baulk at the idea that they are more environmentally friendly, especially after some controversial (and downright ridiculous) studies that suggested they aren’t. Ensuring you have a full load, washing nappies at 40 degrees, and line drying them when possible, will always be more efficient and have less of an environmental impact than disposables. Disposables use water, energy, plastic (petroleum) and a host of chemicals in production and distribution, and are then thrown into landfill. If you have multiple children, cloth nappies can be used for the family, and if not, passed on to another family. Many of Baby O’s cloth nappies were hand-me-downs having kept the bums of two babies before him dry.

So, find a brand you love, and wash away the guilt.  Plus, they are ridiculously cute!

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2. Cloth Wipes. I can’t tell you how much I love these. Water, or a lovely natural solution (I make up water, castile soap, witch hazel, lavender, aloe vera and coconut oil), and they clean up all messes. No chemicals or plastic in sight! You need a lot but old t-shirts, flannels, or specially made ones all do the trick. Throw them in the wash with the nappies and you are good to go. 

 

I have zero craft skills, so bought ready-made Charlie Banana wipes and have them presoaked or when I am out and about a little spray bottle of solution and dry wipes.

 

3. Reusable containers for food and milk. Pumping milk and storing it in reusable beakers/ice cube trays rather than bags, saves a huge amount of waste. If you buy ones that can be sterilized as well, this means you can use them before 6 months. I bought the Avent storage pots and they double up for purees, finger food storage and milk.

 

 

4. Shop in your local market rather than supermarket. Veggies are significantly cheaper and when baby is chucking most of it around the room and onto the floor, this eases the pain! Just remember to say “No thanks” to the plastic bags. 

 

In Hong Kong, plastic is king, and if you aren’t vigilant everything comes in some kind of plastic wrap/tray/bag. It baffles me that a pomegranate needs a tray and wrap, but this is how they are sold. So, off I trot to the local wet market with a shopping list and a plethora of reusable bags. My shopping for veggies used to cost me hundreds of dollars a week, I now spend around $250 and that lasts me all week, including Baby O’s meals.

 

5. Meal plan plan plan! This has been the biggest money and plastic saver for us. On the way to the market on Saturday or Sunday, we plan out our meals and stock up on all the things we need. We also sat and discussed the meals that we could eat that did not require plastic. So, for regular meals this unfortunately meant that out went some meat, cheese, and imported veg. Meals consist of mainly veggies and grains, and we eat really very well! I will pop up a post about our meal plan at some point.

 

 

6. Beeswax paper rather than cling film/cellophane wrap. Baby O is now eating solids and we are doing a mix of purees and BLW (Baby Led Weaning). This means pots, spoons and half eaten pears everywhere. Beeswax paper keeps your fruit, veg, meals, bread, etc all lovely and fresh. Not a brown avocado in sight.

 

 

7. Coffee cup and water bottle. I never leave the house without at least one of these, ever. It is the simplest way to reduce plastic use; mummy needs coffee to stay sane, and mummy needs lots of water to keep her booby milk supply.

 

Now, I am sorry to come across a little judgy but in 2018 and with so many amazing cup/bottle options, it baffles me that we are still using disposable. I rage every time I walk past a Starbucks that has a multitude of people sat in using TAKEAWAY cups. Seriously?? Ask for a mug, and a metal spoon. And refuse the straw, please. Thanks.

 

8. Bars of soap rather than liquid. Now I know that they don’t look as pretty, and you end up with a bit of soap scum stuck to a pot, the sink, etc but they are plastic free and come in a range of yummy flavours and smells. I have just converted to shampoo and conditioner bars as well, so when I actually manage to wash my hair, it smells lovely! The conditioner bar, I am yet to fall in love with as it is harder to apply but the shampoo and soap are divine. I bought them from Lush, so all natural to boot. No grossness flushing into the sea, yay.

 

So, these are my top tips for now. I am still learning and striving to do more.

Comment below with your own tips or ones you plan to adopt into your family! 

xx

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Elisha is a real, average mum of Baby O. Based in Hong Kong but originally from UK, Elisha is a lover of food, the environment, sleep and the occasional wine. Her blog follows her very normal life as a new mum in Hong Kong.

Follow Elisha at The Real Average Mummy Blog and on Instagram!

 

 

 

 


Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/may/20/environment.ethicalliving

https://www.australiannappyassociation.org.au/are-cloth-nappies-as-bad-for-the-environment-as-disposable-nappies/

https://www.thenappylady.co.uk/news/cloth-vs-disposable-nappies/advantages-of-cloth-nappies.html

 

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Long Haul Flights with Bub

Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a new mama than those three terrifying words: Long. Haul. Flights. Sadly experiencing this is the reality of an ex-pat mama, and soon after the birth of our bubs the longing to see family calls, as does our eagerness to introduce our bubs to loved ones back home. So off we must go, no sooner have we just learned How-To-Get-Out-of-the-House-In-One-Piece, we find ourselves booking our tickets and rushing off to make passport applications for our bubs (read: most tedious administration ever) in order that we can voluntarily, slowly torture ourselves for 7 to 15 hours depending on where you call home.

Long Haul Flights with Bub

This is all very fresh for me, I had the joy of doing not one, but TWO SOLO FLIGHTS with Bub to Australia last month. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t give this decision the appropriate amount of thought beforehand. I blame my eagerness to see my own mama back home. I thought, “Why not go on my own, this way I can spend more of my maternity leave with family and friends.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely proud of my efforts. Us mamas are so gangsta, we are strong in any situation – mamas can and should do it. I did it and live to tell the tale! But oh help me, if there is a way to exhaust your entire body in every way, this is it.

I had to learn how to sumo squat while holding bub in order to pick anything up off the floor in the plane.

I had to learn how to breastfeed on a pile of strategically placed blankets that continuously fell onto the ground, causing me to reach painfully down to pick them up while my bare boob was flapping around for all to see.

I had to improvise nappy changing in the toilet with one hand when the other became covered in poo because the air pressure in the plane had caused it to shoot up Bub’s back like a comet.

As for sleeping, I am clearly far too highly strung to have even contemplated sleep on either flight. One eye open, the closest I got to rest was half-watching a couple of episodes of Modern Family while wolfing down plane food while Bub napped in the bassinet.

On the plus side (I am not all about the whining…well I mostly am), now that I have done two long haul flights on my own, I am fairly certain I can do anything else ever if I choose to. No challenge will appear too great, it will never get worse (I can hear all mamas with toddlers and mamas with more than one child laughing at me and saying “Just. You. Wait.”).

The truth is though, no matter how scary, or anxiety-inducing doing something new might seem with our bubs, we will always surprise ourselves – we really can do anything mamas! We just need some time to recover, a wine, and some sleep after… (if we can get it!).

S xx


Sophia

Sophia is a new mum, slowly adapting to the many changes that a new baby brings to life. She is a keen writer and adventurer who loves to travel, although now considers leaving the house and walking around Kennedy Town, where she lives, an adventure in itself (ah, how times change post baby).

Follow Sophia on Instagram!

Peajuu & Co.

Mompreneur: Edwina
Business: Peajuu & Co.


Peajuu and Co.

Edwina is SAHmama to two beautiful kids, Lily (almost 3) and Liam (5 months old). She started Peajuu & Co. last year whilst pregnant with Liam and will be launching the business here in Hong Kong this Summer.

 

Peajuu & Co. is all about creating unique, stylish and comfortable coordinated outfits for mamas and their minis. Soon after Lily was born, Edwina began designing and making matching outfits for them. Designs were chic, not overly cheesy and needed to be breastfeeding friendly (super important as Lily ended up nursing for 2 years!). After receiving lots of compliments from strangers and friends, and a huge amount of encouragement from her husband, Edwina started Peajuu & Co. to share the fun with other mamas and their kids.

 

Great thought is placed into picking the right fabric for comfort and creating one-of-a-kind designs both mamas and their minis would love to wear together. The outfits are all hand made in limited quantities by a small family-run workshop and individually checked for quality. Currently the first collection is for mamas and their little girls, however Edwina plans to extend her products to papas and little boys too (once life with 2 kids + no help gets a little easier for her) – so please stay tuned!

 

Follow Peajuu & Co. on Instagram and Facebook!

iStyle HK

Mompreneur: Karishma

Business: iStyle HK

Karishma moved from Manila to Hong Kong after getting married in 2016. She is Indian born & raised in the Philippines. She has an eight year old son, Shaye and a three year old daughter, Seher. Karishma loves spending time and doing activities with her children. Karishma does her best to balance being a Mother and Entrepreneur, finding the right balance can be challenging at times.

In 2009 a couple of friends approached Karishma to design their homes. From there her clientele grew by word-of-mouth referrals. Karishma also spent some time designing footwear for women. Upon moving from Manila, Karishma’s own home became her portfolio and she spent time getting accustomed to Hong Kong. Karishma imbibed the constructive knowledge of designing, organizing her work, and separating and creating boundaries between her personal, family and professional relationships. Since starting iStyle,  Karishma is constantly researching and sourcing new ideas through various social networking platforms. She feels it is great to share her work and learn from new people. Karishma’s philosophy simply is “what you can imagine you can create”. She encourages others to “try not to limit your thoughts and go for something new each time”.

Follow Karishma’s iStyle on Instagram and Facebook!

Pre & Postnatal Wellness Workshop

Pre & PoTORQ postnatal workshop 26june18 posterstnatal Wellness Workshop

Join TORQ’s Wellness Workshop on how to maintain a fit and healthy body and mind before and after baby!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
TORQ, 3/f Adboolally House, 20 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong

To book your spot sign up on Eventbrite or on Facebook!

At TORQ we pride ourselves in being market leaders in pre and post natal exercise.  Many of the team of instructors at TORQ are mums themselves and have experience first hand of exercise and wellness during and after pregnancy.  At TORQ we have a fantastic support network of partners we work with around pre and postnatal topics so we thought why not bring everyone together and share our knowledge and experiences to support new mums in Hong Kong.

The time of pregnancy through birth and recovery brings many changes in the life of a woman, both on a physical and emotional level. This workshop will cover many of the hot topics mums have questions about when it comes to the changes in there bodies before and after pregnancy.

* How to look after your body in pregnancy and after from an expert physiotherapist

* Pre and postnatal Fitness and exercise with a chance to try a 45 minute exercise class with TORQs experienced instructors

* How to health check yourself and your baby

* Homeopathy for mum, baby and the whole family

* A little pamper session to make us mums feel good