Archive for the ‘Things that make life easier’ Category

Have you heard about Royal Mail’s new recycling service?

Every year, over 1.1 billion printer cartridges are sold around the world with half of these ending up in landfills. Inkjet cartridges can easily be re-manufactured up to two or three times each resulting in fewer going directly to landfills.

The UK only resells or recycles 11% of their mobile phones (source: TNS Omnibus 2008). Even fewer recycle cameras and MP3 players. Each year, 20 million phones are tossed into landfill in the UK alone which then take more than 1,000 years to break down (www.wasteonline.org.uk).

Now you can recycle your old mobile phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and inkjet cartridges using Simply Drop. Old technology is reused or recycled for parts and metals to be used again.

How does it work

1.Register your items at Simply Drop

2. Send them in a prepaid envelope.

Their envelopes are made from naturally oxy-degradable polythene. Meaning they degrade and disappear in a short period of time, leaving no fragments, no methane, no harmful residues, and therefore no lasting impact upon the environment

3. Get paid.

Choose to receive a personal payment for the value of your technology, or donate your payment to charity.

Recycling couldn’t be easier.

I’ll be rummaging through those drawers of junk to dig out anything I can send. Now I just need some way of dealing with old batteries!


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Baby led weaning is becoming more and more popular. It’s based on a paper written by Gill Rapley (Deputy Programme Director of Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative), it means not giving purees and instead introducing your 6 month old child to finger foods from the start.

Using solid food allows a baby to feed themselves – no spoon feeding. Food should be offered in shapes and sizes that your baby can handle and they will feed themselves using their fingers. They choose what to eat, how much and how quickly.

That’s the essence of BLW. No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no baby rice, no mixing everything with expressed breast milk and no preparing everything weeks in advance.

I came across this method when I was weaning my 2nd child. She refused point blank to be spoon feed anything apart from yoghurt. She loved feeding herself and has an extremely healthy appetite, more so than my 1st child who was weaned using purees. It made life so much easier. I made one meal for the 2 of them and they both tucked in.

Don’t they choke?

There is no more risk of choking than with any other method of introducing solids. Gill Rapley argues that as long as babies can sit upright, the fact that they can handle their own food and move it to the back of their mouths means the risk of choking is minimal. However, it is important to remember that babies should never be left unattended when eating. Foods with stones in should also be avoided like cherries and olives.

We did experience some gagging during the process, but gagging, as opposed to choking, is actually a safety response to food travelling too far back into the mouth so when we see our babies gagging they are actually handling the problem and it’s best just to keep calm (or at least look calm) and wait until it passes.

Foods I tried were peas, sweetcorn, toast, butternut squash, fish, mince, eggy bread, omelettes, chicken, rissotto, meat stews, baked beans (low salt and sugar ones), rice and many more. Here’s some BLW recipes.

There are some great benefits of BLW, baby becomes part of family meals and frankly it’s so much easier than dealing with the spoon feeding stand offs.

It helps babies practice hand-eye coordination every time they use their fingers to take food to their mouths. Holding foods of different sizes and textures a few times a day helps improve babies dexterity. Also because all their senses (touch, smell, taste, hear) are involved babies learn to relate all these things together for a better understanding of the world around them.

Meal times can be messy but clearing up solid food is still easier than mopping up puree.

(courtesy of baby led weaning)

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I picked up a fantastic tip from my Monday’s mummy supper club this week. Frozen herbs, brilliant idea.

Dorot produce a wide range of seasoning products, offering you crushed garlic & ginger, chopped basil, parsley, chilli, dill & coriander in ready to use, pre-portioned trays. All you have to do is pop out a cube into the dish of your choice. So convenient and completely mess free. Their products are packed at their peak of freshness and do not contain preservatives or artificial colours. You can find them at Sainsburys in the UK and Trader Joe’s in the U.S

Waitrose  and Ocado also do frozen herbs in their cooks ingredients range. You can find lime leaves, chopped garlic, chives, coriander, lemongrass sticks, parsley, chilli and mint in 150g all for £1.48.

You need never get caught short again when cooking up your next culinary feast and no more wasted leftover herbs.

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The average UK woman spends around £90 a year on sanitary products and uses nearly 11,000 disposable pads and tampons throughout her lifetime menstrual cycle which end up in a landfill or the sea. In the UK alone, 4.3 billion disposable sanitary products are used every year.

Switching to reusable sanitary towels, a moon cup or a sea sponge can save you money and help the environment

Reusable sanitary towels are easy to use and care for, and there is so much choice. If you prefer tampons, try a a menstrual cup, a washable crochet tampon, or sea sponge instead.

Menstrual cups – are a great alternative to tampons. They are folded up and inserted into the vagina to catch the menstrual flow. They can then be emptied into the toilet, rinsed and re-inserted up to every 8 hours. They can be used overnight and when swimming or exercising. There are many different brands on the market Mooncup, The Keeper and Femmecup to name a few.

I have been using a Mooncup for several years now. I had to upgrade post births, the words “bucket fanny’ came to mind although my husband assures me that everything is alright down there. I think they’re great. They can be a bit fiddly when first using but once you cut the stem to the right size and get the knack you’ll never go back. Mooncup is the first sanitary protection manufacturer in the world to be awarded Ethical Business status for its people and environmentally -friendly practices.

Sea sponges – women have been using these as tampons for centuries. Sponges are plant-like creatures growing in colonies on the ocean floor and they are highly absorbable. Easy to use, simply wet the sponge and squeeze out excess water and insert. Similar to a menstrual cup they can be removed, rinsed and re-inserted. They last for about year before needing to be replaced. These have not yet been tried out in the Mumzine office, but see what Earthwise girls had to say about them.  

Earthwise girls do a great range in reusable sanitary towels which are available in a variety of different colours, shapes and designs. They recommend buying 6 sanitary towels as a minimum if washing every day, although some women have more so that they can wash them all at the end of their period. They also stock storage purses and bags for your reusable sanitary towels to go in while out and about.

Also check out Ecomenstrual for a whole range of menstrual products.

Not convinced? If disposable is really the only way forward for you try Natracare organic cotton tampons and sanitary towels. Using organic cotton tampons avoids the risk of toxic shock syndrome. They do a great range in nursing pads and maternity sanitary pads too.

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Did you know that 1 in 5 children has learning challenges?

Yesterday, First News launched their My Way campaign at 10 Downing Street hosted by Sarah Brown, with Henry ‘The Fonz’ Winkler and Children’s Secretary, Ed Balls.

Happy Days star Henry Winkler has spoken of his struggle with dyslexia. The actor aged 64, who was not diagnosed with dyslexia until he was 30, agreed to front the campaign because of his own experiences. The campaign aims to help boost the confidence of youngsters with special educational needs.

The star told GMTV that he struggled to learn scripts for his famous screen role.

“I had to go over it and over it so I didn’t make a fool of myself. I cannot read out loud.”

He added: “Children learn differently and every child has got something good in them and there’s a tremendous prejudice between intellect and the child who is really good at vocational.

“A society needs every citizen, every child to be at the top of their potential.

My Way! aims to raise awareness of  the learning challenges that some children face at school. They want to dispel the myth that these children are less intelligent and show that every child can succeed.

Read more

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The UK is facing what is potentially one of the coldest winters in 100 years. Temperatures are barely topping freezing in some parts and a heavy snow fall is predicted for much of the South tonight. Flu, coughs and colds are prevalent at this time.

Beat the cold and keep the viruses away with our top immune boosting tips for the family.

A good diet rich in fresh fruit and veg goes along way (easier said than done particularly if your children like mine are boycotting anything except carrots and sweetcorn!!) So here are some things I have found useful:

1. Homeopathy. Constitutional treatment with a professional homeopath can help with long term immune strength. Remedies are given through lactose and sucrose tablets which taste sweet so children love to take them. Click here to find a registered homeopath near you.

2. Sambucol. (black elderberry extract with added Vit C) excellent in helping with upper respiratory infections and to shorten the duration of influenza. It has twice the natural antioxidant of blueberry and more than 50% of the overall antioxidant capabilities of cranberry. Their range includes a specially formulated pleasant tasting syrup for children from 1-12yrs.

3. Mulitvitamins, minerals and vitamin C.  These can help keep you fighting fit. Biocare and Higher Nature are reputable brands that offer products for adults and children. Their products are made with the highest concern for the environment  as well as being highly bioavailable (easy and maximum body absorption). My favourites are:

  • Dinochews – irresistible multivitamins and minerals chewables with a dinosaur design.
  • Fizzy C and Fizzy multi – first effervescent vitamin c and multi-vitamin in the UK without additives or artificial flavouring. They’re naturally sweetened with fruit sugar. Perfect for younger children who don’t like taking tablets.
  • Kids complete complex – blend of vitamins and minerals in a base of natural freeze dried banana. Can be mixed with water, milk or juice or sprinkled on food.
  • Optimum nutrition for children– another chewable multi vit and min. Voted best tasting multivitamin and mineral for children by children.
  • Vitasorb C and Vitasorb multivitamin – absorbable liquid preparation that again can be mixed with into water, juice, milk or under the tongue.

4. Probiotics. I know, I know I mention these a lot. New research shows that they might be beneficial to more than just your guts. Keeping your intestinal flora balanced is good for the overall health of your immune system. The tiny, yet powerful microbes bolster the immune system helping stimulate the production of more killer cells that attack viral infected cells.

For older children there are capsule products available from both of these brands. Check out Biocare for their Junior nutriguard plus.

Mums and Dads look after yourselves too. After all if you’re ill everything falls apart. Follow the tips above but most of all wrap up warm!

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Here are a whole load of discount codes for ethical and green products.  Great for very last minute xmas presents.


  • Free organic skincare when you subscribe to The Green Parent magazine – it only costs £19.99 for a year and you get a free gift worth £19.99! 15% off gentle fresh skincare – code: GP31
  • £5 off organic beauty gifts at Green People – code: GP14195588
  • £5 gift voucher to spend on natural beauty products or treatments – code: GP09104
  • 10% off organic skincare, soaps and candles – code: Parent
  • 5% off natural menstrual products – code: Green


  • 20% off organic products for family wellbeing at Pitta Patta – code: Greenparent
  • 10% off beanbags for pregnant mums – code: BUYABEANBAG10
  • 5% off organic toiletries, real nappies and more – code: GP02


  1. 5% off a stay on an organic farm in West Wales – code: Green Parent


  1. 15% off fairtrade, organic and handmade clothing for kids – code: GP10
  2. 15% off ethically produced childrenswear – code: GreenParent09
  3. 10% off eco clothing for boys and girls – code: greenparent
  4. 10% off organic cotton t-shirts – code: greenparent


  • 10% off wonderful wooden toys – code: GP10
  • 10% off natural toys – code: NEWGTH
  • 5% off wooden treehouses for elves – code: GP01

10% off beautiful, unusual gifts – code: GP1201

Source – Green Parent Magazine

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