Eco Friendly Fashion Upcycling Ideas in 30 Mins

This is the first post in a series of Eco Friendly Fashion Upcycling Ideas in 30 Minutes (or less!)

We’re starting with a simple brooch


For cash and time poor crafters like me it’s nice to put old fabric stash items to good use

This brooch is made from fabric scraps cut into different sized circles and layered up. You want to get loads of different textured fabrics going on here!

Stack your circles and machine or hand stitch four lines to attach them as shown, then cut through all the layers at a midpoint between stitches as shown being careful to stop short of the centre


Ruffle up your petals and pinch them in the centres to give more texture

Add a simple safety pin and pop on a coat or bag


Washi tape ideas 101 – Summer Garden Lanterns Tutorial

We’ve been working on our back yard for a while now and decided to buy a wooden bench so that we can sit out and enjoy the summer evenings.

As well as making some robust cushions I’ve been working on some little garden lanterns made from jam jars, to light the way on summer nights. I’ve posted a lot of washi tape ideas lately but this is my fave!


Want to make your own?

You’ll need:

A clean sticker free jam jar

Some fine wire

Washi tapes


(Optional beads)

A tealight

Start with your jam jar


Add washi tape in rows or stripes, you can leave a gap for the night to shine through or cover the whole jar, whatever takes your fancy


I’ve done stripes


Take your wire and cut roughly half a metre, folding in half


Wrap the wire twice around the jar and twist at the side, then create your handle, tuck the handle wire under the wire wrapped around the jar to secure in place and twist firmly to make a sturdy handle (I added beads but you don’t have to, just be careful to make a long enough handle so it doesn’t get really hot!


Slip a lit tea light in there (carefully!) and enjoy!


Lunch Bags for Adults: Belo&Me Jute Bags Product Review

Remember those ‘little brown bag’ lunch bags everyone used to have? I was looking for something that sort of size and shape for my work packed lunch and had an unsuccessful try at making my own too, then I saw this beauty from Belo & Me, eco-friendly and just the right size and shape I jumped at the opportunity to try one in the name of all things lunch!


What is jute?

Jute is a soft plant fibre produced in India and Bangladesh. It is the perfect eco-friendly option instead of using plastic or paper. Plastic bags are not biodegradable and the manufacturing of paper bags requires large quantities of wood, meaning less trees on our planet. Jute has none of these problems and results in a hard wearing, strong, long lasting bag.

Why jute?

‘The average plastic carrier bag is used for five minutes, but takes 500 years to decompose’ (DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) – think of all the lunch outlets that send us away with a plastic or paper bag, that’s a lot of waste, people use reusable shopping bags, why not a reusable lunch bag? Maybe it’s that they don’t want to be stuck with an empty bag post lunch? This one folds up and fits in my work bag so that’s that problem solved!

What’s good about it?

Look how much space! I fitted all this in and had room for a few cheeky snacks for Joss too! (Ham cheese salad wrap and granola yogurt if you’re wondering!)


Sturdy and hardwearing this will easily carry a small picnic for us in the summer and the range of designs means there’s something for everyone, popular owls, heart designs like mine, cupcakes and butterflies too.


The price?

£3.75 for a lunchbag with very reasonable P&P too.


What’s also good is that the bags are handmade so you’re supporting a mama in her business endeavours as well as wearing your eco heart on your sleeve and your lunch in your hand!

Real Nappy Week 2014 Cloth Diapers Rock

What’s the story here? 25+ Mams and Dads and babies sat down together with changing mats and what’s that they’re holding in the air? Nappies! Cloth nappies to be exact.

This week is real nappy week and we took part in the 2014 great cloth nappy change this weekend. As a real nappy user of almost two years now I wanted to point my readers to two of my earlier cloth nappy posts here and here

They highlight the benefits of cloth nappies and offer lots of handy tips too.

All major nappy retailers offer discounts and competitions through Real Nappy Week so if you’ve been thinking about going eco now is the time to try! There’s a great competition today with Babi Pur over on Facebook on the Real Nappy Week page!

Two years on our stash is still going strong, though I think potty training is nigh these will definitely be kept just incase we ever happen to decide to have another child as they have plenty of life in them yet, truly eco-friendly!



Mumslist: the Easter buddy came to town

Real Life

Last week was Easter and a really lovely family time that extended into Joss and I having a lovely afternoon out on Tuesday too. New shoes for her and a treat or two for me! She loves her sparkly shoes so much that she keeps stopping to take another look!


Joss was pleased that the ‘Easter buddy ‘ remembered her!


Today also saw the Great Cloth Diaper Change so we headed to Newcastle along with 25 (may have been more!?) littleys to take part in the international world record bid, aiming to get as many people as possible changing a cloth nappy, we caught up with some friends, met some new folk and created a work of art too! It’s Real Nappy Week next week so I’ll be blogging some cloth bum tips again.

(Photo by Mandy Charlton Photography event in Newcastle organised by Grow Up Green)


Work life is getting interesting, I have a jointly written paper that’s being published next week and I’m exploring blogging research findings for other outlets too, so work and home are taking some interesting converging routes, more on that in the next few weeks

Blogging Life

I’ve published a post this week that has really pushed me in terms of honesty and writing, but I’m glad I finally pressed publish on my birth story part 2 and although its focus on a very bad time in my life made it hard to write sharing it is a big part of my recovery. I also really enjoyed writing a bit of a forward plan for my blog to pin down the direction I want to go in, and this post about bloggers using research skills to generate content has been crazy busy in terms of hits!

I am pleased to have a few review posts coming up, and I’ve finally sat down and written out a day by day list of the linkys that I like to enter so I don’t forget to join in, and have put aside an hour a week to reply to comments and do some wider blog reading around parental mental health and wellbeing.


An oldie but goodie I’m trying my hand at Flylady’s cleaning routines again after reading this post

I’m exploring Vines as a canny way to include a short burst of video into my blogging, I’m not really up for vlogging but this is a good compromise for those moments where Joss is singing etc, so far so good!

- See more at:

An uncoventional baby bedtime routine

We have a different routine to other people’s book, bath, bed etc. Ours look like this:

Moneybox fun
Porridge (with Abney and Teal)
Nappy change
Say night night to everything
Tuck in for bed

Moneybox fun is basically emptying and refilling her moneybox, it’s a time of sheer joy when you’re nearly two and like counting A LOT!


Blastoff is where we say goodnight to her toys, Tramp and Monkey and count down from five, then we blast off to the window and look out and say night night to everything, she usually likes to say night night to something topical from her day, once it was an axolotl, other times its naming every member of our family individually and saying a protracted night night, it ends with “night night cars, night trees, night night lights” and as we close them “night night blinds”

A little unconventional but it works, by night night blinds she’s asking for her bed!

PND Birth Story Part Two: The one where I hallucinate a pigeon

Why part two? Wasn’t one post enough?! I know, it was a quick labour, you weren’t expecting a two-parter, right?

I am nervous to post this, if you know me in real life and we haven’t had a discussion about my post-birth experience then this might make you judge me, I hope you won’t do the mental health stigma thing, but talking about it is a new thing for me and I’m being no-holds-barred because it’s not talked about enough.

I’m not writing this out of anger or frustration, but just incase someone reading has had a similar experience, I hear you.

This kind of story, it’s not the one new mothers tell, but for me these stories are the ones that are significant. They are the ones I had to write to stop torturing myself over them.

Here goes.


Time goes on, I fret, I work, I worry about my unborn child and anxiety grows stronger but I don’t recognise it at the time. It is the shape of things to come. If I look at my mobile phone search field and type in ‘pregnancy and…’ a list from my pre-natal anxieties comes up we have ‘pregnancy and eating shellfish’ ‘pregnancy and not feeling baby move as much’ ‘pregnancy and counting kicks’ ‘pregnancy and flu’ ‘late pregnancy and going to wedding’ and last of all ‘pregnancy and feeling blue’

I had three different midwives, no-one picked up on my list making and anxiety, I didn’t even try to hide it, I turned up to each appointment with lists of questions, it strikes me now that someone might have questioned that given my history of mental ill health.


Dear health professionals,

When I came onto the ward with my new baby it was 8pm at night, the lights were out and my husband was sent home. I was scared. You handed me a leaflet about breastfeeding, my baby cried all night, she vomited, I called for help, you said she was fine, you left us to it, she cried, I cried all night too.

You came in to check on us at 1am, I said I was desperately tired after over 50 hours without rest, you tucked my girl into the bed with me and said just get some rest.

The next day I was not feeling good, we had visitors and I relaxed but when they left I felt panicked, I was afraid to leave my little baby in her bassinet so took her to the bathroom with me, you stopped me, and later again when I went for breakfast, “you can’t walk around with your baby in case you drop her but you can push her in the bassinet, it has wheels” – I told you I was afraid to leave her, you just laughed “don’t worry, the ward is alarmed” – I wasn’t worried someone would take her, I just couldn’t explain why I couldn’t put her down.

Later I hallucinated a pigeon in the ward bathroom, I didn’t tell anyone, I started to feel elated and manic, I didn’t sleep but spent hours reading about breastfeeding and a good latch. My girl’s notes said shed been taken to NICU in the night without my knowledge, “don’t worry, that was a mistake, it was someone else’s baby” you said, the damage was done. I was afraid to sleep incase they took my baby.

She was a lazy feeder, a poor latch, I felt like I failed her, you let me syringe feed her and said I could take some syringes home for just in case, later the breastfeeding support coordinator came for a chat, the syringes were a bad idea and later another midwife took them off me, I couldn’t take my baby home or the syringes until feeding was established. I lied, said it was going great not able to face another night of crying in the dark.

Before we left ironically a midwife talked to me about the baby blues, my husband also talked to a midwife about PND, maybe he knew what was coming? Apparently if I was making an effort I was doing OK. Here I am fully dressed and with makeup on, inside I’m crying but I must have been doing OK, right?!


At home a community midwife came out, if I’m honest I felt like I wanted to die. For three days she came bright and breezy, “look at you back in your jeans already etc” I was a mess and utterly panicked by the responsibility I felt, day three she left after ten minutes though I told her I was afraid to be alone with my baby, the next day I told her I was fearful about my mental health, she said she knew I was struggling the day before, so why did she leave in such a hurry?

Day four Joss was weighed by the midwife, before she did so I said breastfeeding was a struggle, my daughter slept through feeds and I wasn’t convinced she was getting any milk. The midwife talked about failure to thrive and hospitalisation without checking latch or weight, I got out the formula I bought just in case, all I heard was my baby would be hospitalised, I cried for days afterwards and two years on and as I came out of the fug and realised I had regrets about giving up, giving in and not fighting for the feeding I always believed and was told every mother could do, until recently I was still heartbroken by how things turned out. A friend later said she was just so stubborn about breastfeeding that she would never give up, every comment, every success story of triumphal feeding hurt.

I came to see my GP day five post partum, “oh its just the baby blues” – I wanted to run away, I told the hospital that on the phone but once they established my husband and mam were here that somehow made it all OK. By this point I was certain my baby would be taken away. By then the dreams and hallucinations had started, some religious some horrifying, still too hard to discuss I lost my grip on reality for two weeks, I cried day and night and the mania was frightening. When I later had counselling for postnatal OCD (that list making again) it became clear I had had a spell of postnatal psychosis. It explained the intrusive thoughts, waking dream/nightmares and the odd conversations I had in my head. I received no help, my midwife signed us off, in the end sleep was my respite and my husband my rock. Those two weeks were hell on earth, I couldn’t see a way through and it got pretty dark.

Intrusive thoughts came thick and fast and I knew they weren’t normal new mum worried but I didn’t say anything. My thought processed were stressy and hard to pin down “last night my baby cried and I cuddled her whilst the milk cooled, we both fell asleep, she missed the feed. Was it that she just wanted a hug or was she so hungry she slept from exhaustion? I must be a terrible mother. I can’t breastfeed my baby, I am a bad mother. She never finishes her bottles, what should I do, make more, make less, am I getting this right? Will she turn out to be mad like me? What am I passing on to her? Are the bottles sterilised enough, there are germs everywhere…”

Later I had a bad spell about leaving Joss to cry for even a minute, not eating or making myself a drink and making lists about her feeding, what she’d eaten, her weight. I look back on it and laugh, I tell people about it because I can now, not talking about it was a pretty heavy burden and I want to help others experiencing similar to speak up about their experiences too. As I hit publish I have doubts about sharing this but you can’t rewrite your history, I tried. I accept responsibility for how things worked out, I should have spoken up but I didn’t; the guilt and anger at myself are hard to let go of, my husband went through a lot, no-one helped him through that and what a brilliant Dad he showed himself to be, but I have no doubt we all came out of this worn down and jaded, that makes me feel terribly guilty.

We have an amazing bond my girl, her Dad and I and there is hope, that when you feel you can’t go on, you’ll never sleep again or you can’t imagine ever being the mother you hoped and dreamed of, you will get there, I promise x


I'm linking this into Motivational Monday as I am setting up a PND support group and wanted to remind myself why I wanted to share this post with others.

How big is your carbon footprint?

It was Earth Day yesterday and a friend sent me an interesting link from WWF

A carbon footprint calculator. Ironically I had just taken Joss to have her feet measured and the fitter was amazed that Joss only has one pair of shoes, I just don’t believe in waste and having more than we need, so one pair it is! It was with this philosophy in mind that I took the footprint calculator test (oh and Joss’ feet are a four and half if you’re wondering!)

I was surprised to see that our familial footprint, whilst lower than the average suggested that if we all lived the way this family does we would need 1.6 planets and we have only one.

With this in mind I signed us up to the seven day challenge and at the end of the week I’ll be sharing what we’ve learned on our eco journey.


What about you, did your footprint give you a surprise?