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Archive for the ‘Life and love’ Category

It is only since having my own children that I really have ‘got’ the importance of celebrating motherhood and although I don’t like to be told when this should be I still feel its important to show my mum how much she means to me on Mother’s Day.  And I also enjoy my husband and kids making a bit of a fuss of me (hopefully he is reading this).

There are so many beautiful brands out there selling lovely organic, environmentally sound products out there that you are really spoilt for choice if you are looking for the perfect gift for your mother.

Beauty: Melvita is the latest mumzine fixation, the top-selling organic skin care brand in France is now available in the UK. Melvita launched in France in 1983 and was ahead of its time with its focus on natural organic products.  All are ecocert approved and there are 300 products to choose from.  Prices are very reasonable (£10-£32).  We have tried lots of their products but think mums will love this Eye Contour Gel (£18) which you can feel having an immediate tightening affect.

Fashion: I LOVE Bo Belle – its official.  Their products are all fairly traded and hand made fashion accessories using the luxurious eel skin leather, a by-product of the food industry in Korea.  I have this Gaia Eel Skin Red Leather purse (£32.00) and am always getting admiring comments.

Books: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – This book was recently recommended by a friend (who is also a life coach) and it has been one of those books where the pages are almost turning themselves.  It is a woman’s story of her literal and spiritual journey to find herself, get inner peace and strength and heal. Its a massive seller for a reason which is that so much of what she writes about women all over the globe can relate to and its very funny. 

Flowers: There are not many women out there who do not LOVE a bunch of flowers delivered to their door.

The main thing about buying flowers is that they are often shipped in from abroad.  If you want to buy flowers the best thing you can do is make sure they are UK grown.  There are now lots of options online to do this, Eco Flowers have a great range of flowers that are all British grown and if you buy from them you are also getting:

  • Responsibility for the handling of natural resources
  • No air miles used
  • A ban on child or forced labour
  • A total ban on toxic pesticides which cause damage to people and the environment.

Candles: Neom is one of mumzine’s favourite brands and they have a lovely range of luxury organic candles.  They are made using only vegetable wax and pure essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances so they burn without releasing harmful pollutants, toxins or soot.  This Invigorate candle with Grapefruit Bergamot is the one we are hoping for. They are £35.00 but are big and with 55 hours burning time should last well.

Charity: There is one issue most mothers feel strongly about and that is the safe delivery of babies. That’s why this Mother’s Day Maternity Worldwide is suggesting a different kind of Mother’s Day gift.  For just £15 Maternity Worldwide will send a personalised Safe Birth Certificate straight to your mum and send everything – from the hospital bed to the training for the midwife – to a woman giving birth in a developing country. Your gift will also support Maternity Worldwide’s Women’s Groups projects which offer women in Ethiopia the opportunity to gain financial independence and gain access to life-saving health information.

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A new book says parents should put their children second to their marriage to ensure family wellbeing. The advice comes from family therapist and Wall Street Journal writer David Code, in a new book entitled To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First.

He claims children who receive too much attention from overanxious “helicopter parents”, who hover over them constantly, will end up demanding and dissatisfied.  He argues that the ‘greatest gift’ you can give a child is to set them an example with a healthy, happy marriage.

He added: ‘A good marriage sets a great example for your children’s future relationships, and that’s win-win for the whole family.’By killing ourselves to provide a perfect, trauma-free childhood for our children, we’re wasting our energy. ‘The greatest gift you can give your children is to have a fulfilling marriage yourself.’

Mr Code says: ‘Today number one myth about parenting is that the more attention we give our kids, the better they’ll turn out. “But families centred on children create anxious, exhausted parents and demanding children.’We parents convince ourselves that putting our children first is child-friendly, but we make two main mistakes by doing so.’

‘First, it becomes harder to respect and enforce the boundaries that shape a child’s character, so he simply badgers his parents until he gets his way. Future bosses and spouses may not be so patient with this behaviour.’

‘Second, we put tremendous pressure on our children to fulfil our emotional needs, which may lead to the child acting up. This draws even more attention to the problem, as parents seek a diagnosis and physicians increasingly rely on medicating children.’

This article seems very centred on marriage. In this day an age families aren’t always born out of marriages, however, I’m sure the advice is the same for those in committed relationships.

Read more here.

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This year I am going to be in Thailand for Valentines Day so I need to make sure that I leave something romantic but ethical for my green husband.

1. Etsy is the perfect place to get a truly unique gift for yourself or your other half with a totally clear conscience about where it has come from.  Everything is handmade and there are some great finds out there.  These love boxes are emailed as a PDF for printing.  At $5.00 and no postage they do not break the bank.  If you are new to etsy it is a global handmade marketplace where thousands of artists and crafters sell their wares to more than a million buyers scattered around the globe.

2. Roberts have had something of a revival over the last few years, not only do they look great but they are also kind on the environment – the Revival DAB Radios (£149.00) have a whopping 120 hours battery life. 

If you want to take it even further you can buy a Roberts Solar powered DAB radio (£71.99) which is half the price and will save on the energy bills.

3. If you are a bit more of a traditionalist when it comes to valentines day we have a whole post devoted to really sexy eco undies (yes they do exist!).

4. If you think Valentines you think flowers.  The main thing about buying flowers is that they are often shipped in from abroad.  If you want to buy flowers for your other half or drop some hints about your own flowers the best thing you can do is make sure they are UK grown.  There are now lots of options online to do this, Eco Flowers have a great range of flowers that are all British grown and if you buy from them you are also getting:

  • Responsibility for the handling of natural resources
  • No air miles used
  • A ban on child or forced labour
  • A total ban on toxic pesticides which cause damage to people and the environment.

5. Despite their recent takeover I am still a big fan of Green and Blacks their Maya Gold Bar was the UK’s first Fairtrade certified product to hit the shelves 15 years ago and they have just announced all products will now be Fairtrade.  So if you want to get a bit saucy this valentines how about this?

Green & Black’s Amaretto-Almond Fondue

1 100 gr (3.5 oz) Green & Black’s Milk Chocolate and Almond bar
1/8 cup plus 1 tbsp water
2 tbsp (1 oz) Amaretto

Instructions:

Break up the chocolate and put in a saucepan with the water. Over low heat stir with a small wire whisk until ingredients are smooth and combined. Add the amaretto and stir. If the resulting sauce is too thick, add a few drops of water and whisk to blend. Serve with desired fruit and nuts. If fondue becomes cool and thick, microwave for 10 seconds and stir, repeat if necessary.

Suggested dippables: Strawberries, peach slices, grapes and almonds.

Serves 2 to 3 (if you are so inclined)

6. And finally…if you want to give your valentine a romantic rub down try some of this gorgeous Organic Blue bath and massgge oil (£7.95).  It smells divine and has a special blend of oils to warm and soothe.

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Parent confidential is a place where you can go to rant, confess or get something that’s bothering you off your chest anonymously.


Maybe it’s the husband, the mother in law or even the kids. At parent confidential you can scream till your heart’s content without judgement and with support. Sounds like great free therapy to me. Check it out, some great posts up there.

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If you are thinking about making some christmas decorations but don’t know where to start read on…

The internet is amazing for this sort of thing with lots of dowloadable templates and instructions.  Here are a few that we like

  • Or why not bake and decorate your own delicious edible decorations – I am definitely going to help my kids make some of these.

I watched Kirsty Allsop in action last night on Christmas at Home and checked out her site and found the below step by step instructions:

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So did my best intentions pay off? Well actually yes they did…Like most things in life the answer to my questions presented itself to me when I least expected it.  I wanted to give Rex a party without all the waste and cost associated with it.

I made the cake recipe previously posted which the kids loved although I decorated them to liven them up a bit and then I seized the opportunity to link it to Halloween (his birthday was Nov 2nd).  I was walking past my local Oxfam and in the window were 2 witches hats for £0.99 each and a pumpkin outfit for another £0.99.  I grabbed them all knowing that I could improvise on a cloak from what we had at home.

They I carved a pumpkin with the kids, they really loved it and although i don’t normally like bragging I was very please with the results (i had done one dummy run).  Incase you are wondering I used a stencil and there are lots online to download for next year.

pumpkin

Some family brought a few plastic decorations along which I guess were a little wasteful but apart from that it was a very low cost, low waste tea party and he loved it.  The kids loved dressing up and didn’t notice or care that it had all been bought for £3.00.

That does not include the cost of the bubbly I opened to celebrate my job well done.

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Mum to be Melissa asked me to suggest the best presents for a one year old.  They are not exclusively ‘green’ but a mix including ones that they will just love!

1.  Hedgehog long sleeved top -£12.00.  This week Green Baby are offering a 20% discount if you quote PRIMA and buy before Oct 31.  All their products are organic and by choosing to buy organic kids clothes you are choosing to make a difference to your future, your kids health and the future of the planet.

Raglan red top

I love this red hedgehog raglan long sleeved top in sturdy 100% organic cotton interlock and machine washable.

2.  At £40.00 this is a bit more pricey but this lovely Noahs Ark is a great way to start learning animals and colours.

noahs ark

It is Fairtrade and made by Lanka Kade (translates as ‘the Sri Lankan Shop’) and aims to provide an outlet for items produced by small craft enterprises in Sri Lanka.

3.  Mini Police Car – £9.54 – This lovely chunky wooden police car is robust enough to take some bashing around and is made from environmentally responsible soupolicerces.

4.  Puff the magic dragon book and CD – £ 3.74.  Right now this book is discounted from Amazon and I have to say I think its my favourite childrens book to date.

puff

I have had such fun with Dixie and Rex reading and singing along to the CD and it really throws me back to my own child hood.  The illustrations are beautiful and the CD makes all the difference.

5.  Duplo brick blocks – £13.

blocksPerhaps not a massive suprise but you CANNOT go wrong with these bricks.  They are chunky enough not to present a hazzard for little children but big enought to build some proper towers.

6. Wooden Walker with bricks £38.95 – Every 1 year old needs one of these.  Just as they are starting to get on their feet these can really help them get around and make the transition to walking.

IMblockswalkerorangeBGOn top of that the bricks are great for building and starting to think about colours.

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