My 10 Zero Waste Swaps

It can sometimes be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start with reducing waste and doing your bit to help the environment. So here’s some simple swaps that I have found useful in my journey to zero waste.

  1. CLOTH NAPPIES – This was our first change and got some great help from our local nappy library who gave us a kit to borrow and ongoing advice to make it work for us.
  2. REUSABLE WIPES – Following on from cloth nappies, we made the change to cloth wipes. We use them for everything from wiping bums to cleaning kitchen worktops. The uses are endless and I love the feeling of saving so many wipes from landfill.
  3. LOCAL MARKET -This was a move on reducing waste/packaging, supporting local business and saving us some pennies. We are lucky to have a brilliant market not far away, and it has become a feature of the week. It’s also been lovely to get to know the people that run the stalls. We take the mesh produce bags to put things like potatoes and mushrooms in, and the rest just go straight in a bag for life.
  4. SAYING NO TO PLASTIC BAGS – We do still shop in a supermarket, so remembering to take our bag for life with us is a must, and it means I only need one or two rather than 5 or 6 plastic bags. I recommend leaving bags in the car at all times, as there is bound to be an occasion when I might forget.
  5. TOOTHPASTE -This has been one of our most recent changes. It is a bit of a mindfield as most of the plastic free options are also fluoride free. Therefore it may not be suitable for everyone. We are trying out Georganics mandarin toothpaste as it is also suitable for children. We are getting on well with it so far, and when we are done, the pot will be used for something else.
  6. DEODORANT – I think this is one that is beneficial both to myself and the environment. Our skin is gentle and sensitive and since learning about the chemicals they put in conventional deodorant, I wanted something natural and kind to my skin. There are many zero waste options, but one I like is the organic essence as they come in a cardboard tube and have a gentle smell. It is also kinder in its manufacturing then regular deodorant.
  7. DRINKS BOTTLES – This swap has been a relatively easy one, and means that I no longer need to buy bottled water when out and about. Lots of places will fill up your bottle if you run out, and there are lots of options to suit what you need.
  8. HOME COOKING – We wanted to start eating healthier to set a good example to my daughter, so we started cooking from scratch, using ingredients from the local market and supermarket. This in turn means that we aren’t using as much prepackaged food, reducing the amount of waste, and we are then able to use leftovers for lunches. It doesn’t always mean it takes ages to do either, we have found ways to do quick dinners when needed.
  9. WOODEN TOYS – We decided to go down the road of wooden and ethically produced toys for my daughter. It has many benefits in that it supports small businesses, it supports natural development and naturally reduces the amount of plastic that we consume. Wooden toys are very well made and will last generations compared to most mass produced toys. They don’t have to be expensive either.
  10. REUSING – I have found that on my journey I have started to think more about what I am using and throwing away. So before I throw something out, or buy something new, I think about what I already have that I can use for that purpose, or how I can reuse the item. For example, we use a chunk of wood as a soap dish, a bottle box as a pencil box and we use old toothbrushes for cleaning. It is sometimes quite fun to think about the uses we can come up for something.

Yes Bébé Guide to Shampoo Bars

If you’re thinking of moving to solid shampoo bars or already have and want to learn more, this guide is a brief introduction to everything you need to know.

When you first move to natural shampoo, your hair will likely go through a transition phase where it may feel oily and waxy. This is because conventional products tend to coat the hair in silicones to give a silky feel. These can leave residues that are difficult for natural shampoo to remove straight away. Another reason is that these products strip the scalp of its natural oils, meaning it overproduces more to compensate. As shampoo bars don’t do this, it may take a while for your scalp to adjust to this method. For some it may be a week, others can be a month or two.  This is called transitioning.

Before the first use of your shampoo bar, you may wish to speed up the transition by doing one baking soda wash. It is completely optional. All you need is 1L of warm water and 1tbsp of baking soda/bicarbonate of soda and mix. Pour over your hair and massage in, rinse well. Then carry on with the shampoo bar.

Shampoo bars are more concentrated than conventional shampoos, therefore it is best to lather up in your wet hands and apply from your hands on to your hair. You can also try using a sponge to get later. This is especially important as your hair transitions. You may want to separate your hair into sections to ensure it is applied evenly.  Rinse out the shampoo and repeat another 1-2 times. The lather will increase the 2nd and 3rd time as the hair is cleaned. Then be sure to rinse well with water. If you have long hair, pay close attention to the middle back of your hair when rinsing to make sure you get all the product out.

After rinsing out the shampoo, you can do several things. Shampoo bars are naturally alkaline, so you will usually need an acid rinse to balance out the pH. The most popular is apple cider vinegar (see instructions below). If you live in a hard water area it can be more difficult to rinse all the shampoo from your hair. Many people find using collected rainwater helps solve this as it is soft water.

When you get started with shampoo bars it is advised to clarify your hair once a week using any of the methods below:

Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water. Pour over the hair and leave for a minute or two then rinse with water. The vinegar smell will go once your hair is dry. You can also use this method as a rinse after shampooing.

Baking Soda Rinse: 1 tbsp baking soda to 1-2 cups warm water. Wet the hair and pour on the rinse, working it through the hair. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. (This rinse is done on a different occasion to shampooing).

Rhassoul Clay Treatment: Add some Rhassoul clay into a bowl. Shake it level and just cover the clay powder in water. Leave the clay alone to hydrate and activate for about 10 minutes. Then add more water or powder if needed to achieve the right consistency for the intended use. The clay can be stirred before use to assure a homogeneous consistency. Aim for a yoghurt-like consistency. Wet the hair, then massage the clay/water mix into the scalp for a few minutes. Add a little more water to the scalp to keep the clay fluid. Do not rub the clay into the hair, just let the hair hang, it will be cleaned during the rinse. Rinse the hair and allow it to dry naturally.

If you have any more questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment, or perhaps you have something to add or your favourite way to use bars.

 

 

When My World Stopped Spinning by Kim Pascoe

When my world stopped spinning

We all know babies die for no apparent reason but we never think that we will experience it. Well at least I didn’t yet, here I am writing this almost 2 months after I lost my baby boy. What do I hope for you to achieve from reading this? I’m not sure to be honest because when it comes to child loss I’m no expert. I can only share my experience in the hopes that you understand sometimes “it’s okay; to not be okay” and to know that you are not alone.

Ethan Lewis Readman was born one month prematurely on 11th December 2017 and died 13th March 2018.

That was the day my world collapsed and a part of me died.

In the days, weeks and months after Ethan’s death I searched for answers to questions with no resolve. I am still looking for answers to questions I know will never be answered. Why my son? What did he do to deserve this? What did I do to deserve this? How can everything just stop working? How can my son just die with no rhyme or reason? It all still makes no sense and that’s the issue with SIDs, it never will.

As a parent you drive yourself crazy. That child was you everything and your responsibility and you allowed them to die in your care. Or at least that’s how it feels. Wondering what if you had done this differently or that would there have been a different outcome? Running through the events of the days leading up with a fine tooth comb. If I wasn’t co-sleeping would this have happened? But I co-slept with my daughter and she is fine? Did I make the wrong decision? What if I had have woken 5 mins earlier would I have been able to save him then? Why didn’t he cry? Why didn’t I know there was something wrong? Did the heating come on the night and he got too hot?  Did I roll on him and suffocate him? Did I do this to my son? I had endless nights of no sleep until the preliminary autopsy came back to rule out anything that we could have done as “suspects”. Hearing the pathologist say “What a well developed and well looked after little boy he was” made me cry but not in a sad way. That man does not know how much those words mean to me and will stay with me for the rest of my life.

After the autopsy he was taken to the chapel of rest and I was allowed to go see my son. This created a lot of conflicting feelings for me. Every minute i was there i hated it, I felt awful and I wanted to be anywhere else but there. But at the same time I didn’t want to leave, I just wanted to hold Ethan in my arms forever.

Something I can’t shake is how cold he was…I found myself wrapping him in blankets and laying his cheek on my chest “skin-to-skin” to keep him warm which is crazy I know!

The actual day of the funeral saying my goodbyes at the funeral home and holding him one last time was one of the hardest things I had to do. The rest of the day is a blur, I was numb after the funeral, putting on a brave face for all of the friends and family that came to pay their respects. It wasn’t until I was alone behind closed doors that I broke. Opening up to Joni helped a lot and I spent countless days crying and trying to hide it from everyone, it became exhausting. Then I realised that it’s okay to show that you’re upset you don’t have to be happy all the time and if you are happy don’t feel guilty for that, embrace it.

Some days I wake up and for a brief moment it’s like none of this has happened and then I get hit with a big hard smack from reality. It’s like experiencing the day all over again and I don’t think that’s something that will ever leave me I’m just hoping with time it becomes more manageable.

Losing Ethan is not only a tragic loss but a profound loss, and it is during this time that I have been shown how kind some people can be. I am humbled by the support that has been shown to my family by my loved ones, friends, and also complete strangers.

The Babble Community and Yes Bébé team have shown an astounding and overwhelming amount of support to me.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you.

I am only at the start of this awful journey called child loss and I know I have a long way to go to find the new me but I know that with time and support I will be able to keep fighting.

Life is too short to have regrets so, I propose some things to you.

  1. Help me make Ethan’s death make a difference in everyone’s lives, no matter how small. Write down one thing in your life you want to change or want to do and change it/do it. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today because one day tomorrow will never come.
  2. Go out today and wear something yellow in support of the Lullaby Trust sharing a photo on social media with #YellowYourself to raise awareness of SIDs.

I love you Ethan my boy sleep tight xx

Written by Kim Pascoe

A Year in Pixels

A Year in pixels was created by Camille of Passion Carnets (@passioncarnets Instagram). It is a yearly mood tracker that can be used as a stand alone tool or in conjunction with a diary or bullet journalling.

It consists of a box for every day of the year and a key on the right to reflect colour dependant on emotion. At the end of each day you colour a block based on your overall feeling of the day.

Bullet journalling alongside allowed me to identify patterns of emotions and highlighted some triggers. It doesn’t take much extra time either. When you sit down to colour in your square for the day jot down a summarised list of events that have affected your mood throughout the day.

Hope this tool is of some use to someone. Just remember we are all individual and what works for one may not necessarily work for others.

Written by Kim Pascoe

Yes Bébé Reviews: Violet’s Mineral Bleach

Violet’s Earth Friendly Mineral Bleach was a product I found whilst on our cloth nappy journey. I liked the sound of a bleach that was eco-friendly and kind to skin.

On the back of every packet of Violet’s you are introduced to the story of Judith, who founded Home Scents & Violets after her granddaughter developed childhood asthma.  The Violets 100% Natural Laundry range is a tribute to Judith’s late mother, a natural homemaker. Violet’s products contain unique blends of plant and natural ingredients which are kind to babies sensitive skin and suitable for children and adults who suffer allergic reactions.

I am a regular user of Violet’s Earth Friendly Mineral Bleach as I find it so versatile. I have used it for popping in the wash with nappies, spot cleaning stains on clothes, de-lime scaling the toilet, cleaning carpets and soaking my pans! I can’t profess to be a cleaning fanatic but Violet’s Earth Friendly Mineral Bleach really helps make the job simple without the usual chemical smells from standard bleach. The product comes with instructions upon the back of the packet and is not recommended for use on silk or wool garments and will not remove rust stains.

After a terrible decision to let my first born wear his grey joggers to pre-school I used a scoop of Violet’s Earth Friendly Mineral Bleach to two litres of boiling water to sort the stains. The bleach powder reacts with the water and delivers a satisfying fizz and bubbling. As you can see the results speak for themselves as the trousers show no sign of the mud and look sparkly clean!

 

   

Yes Bébé Guide to First Birthday Presents

First birthdays are a truly special event. Naturally you want to buy something that is going to inspire and entertain your little one and will be something to remember. Here is our non-exhaustive list to help you choose the perfect gift, whether it be for your own child or another special little person.

Hape Pound and Tap
Hape Pound and Tap

 

The Hape Pound and Tap is the most recommended toy for a first birthday. Great for motor skills, colour matching and musical fun.

 

 

 

Utukutu Engraved Rockerboard
Utukutu Engraved Rockerboard

 

A balance board is the ultimate open ended toy where imagination is the limit. it encourages gross motor skills, imaginative play and so much more. We stock various brands to suit every budget and whim.

 

 

Le Toy Van Petilou Sensory Shapes
Le Toy Van Petilou Sensory Shapes

 

The Petilou sensory shapes offer fun and learning for all the senses. There are different textures, sounds, shapes and colours.

 

Tegu 42 Piece Jungle
Tegu 42 Piece Jungle

Tegu offers building blocks with a magnetic twist. They can be clicked and clacked, built with, stuck to things. Great for little hands to grasp.

 

 

 

 

Haba Doll Clara
Haba Doll Clara

Every girl and boy needs their first dolly. The Haba dolls are soft, cuddly and a perfect size to carry round.

 

Grimms Wankel
Grimms Wankel

 

 

The wankel is our most popular stacker. Traditional Grimms rainbow colours and smooth edges  make it appealing and tactile for your developing baby.

 

 

Lanka Kade Countryside Animals
Lanka Kade Countryside Animals

Lanka Kade animals are lovely and chunky. Just right for grasping hands. They are really hard wearing and stand up to being chucked and banged.

 

Grimms 3 in a Boat
Grimms 3 in a Boat

 

 

These fun men satisfy the urge to take things out and put back in. They can have a rocking time!

 

 

Grimms Large Stepped Pyramid

 

This pyramid offers the ideal introduction to building blocks. With the Stepped Pyramid magical palaces and castles arise, beautiful cities, towers and landscapes… one can create everything with these bright coloured blocks!

 

LTV Woodland Tree Puzzle

 

Peg puzzles are the recommended as a starting point as they encourage the pincer grasp. It also helps with shape discrimination and problem solving. We have a variety of puzzles to choose from.

 

 

Hape Pop Up Teddy Shower Buddy
Hape Happy Buckets Set

 

Our Hape bath toys make bath time the best time of the day.

 

Grimms 7 Rainbow Friends in Cups
Grimms 7 Rainbow Friends in Cups

 

7 Rainbow friends in cups are an essential for any 1 year old. your child will enjoy putting the people in and out of the pots, and will be able to turn it into colour matching as they develop.

Holztiger – Brands at Yes Bébé

Written by Laura Canning

I first became aware of Holztiger through a good friend who had quite a few of the animals.  She has children the same age as my little one. She raved so much about them that I decided to try them for myself. It fitted in with my new-found love of wooden toys for open ended play value, longevity, quality, and sustainability in toys.

I started out with a few in a bundle. The first animals I purchased were a lion, elephant, and giraffe. When I opened the paper on that first delivery to reveal the most lovingly handcrafted figures…. well that was it! The feel, the look, the beautiful wood grain showing through had me hooked. Even the smell of the wood was enticing and addictive. But what really sold me was my two-year-old daughter picking them up, handling the chunky pieces in her hand, and using them for play. She loved them, and it really helped that the beautiful design and hand painted bright colours brought them to life. The stock pictures didn’t do them justice at all. These beautiful figures had to be seen and handled to really appreciate the workmanship involved.

After my first three figures came and I fell in love with them, I signed up to a subscription from Yes Bébé. This allowed me to be able to build up a few per month and the surprise package was highly anticipated each month! It was so easy to pick a subscription as I couldn’t name any figure I didn’t love, and each month was wonderful way to add to the collection without overwhelming my daughter. As I loved each one, the difficult choice of choosing which to add the collection conveniently lay in someone else’s hands. I did, however, choose the stunning knights castle last Christmas… well you must give the wooden knights a job!

Somewhere along this journey and through being part of the Yes Bébé Babble group. I started to learn more about “going green”, sustainability and ethics. I learned more about the impact of plastic toys and plastic in general in our environment. It allowed me to see many other ways I could become less wasteful and learn to find ways to minimise my impact on the planet with a view to protecting it for my daughter.

You may call it “the cart before the horse” but it got me really thinking about the ethics of my favourite wooden toy brand which led me to writing this piece in which I researched the company.  Holztiger is a German brand and they are made in Europe. They handcraft these wooden toys in solid, durable, and sustainable maple wood. Wood is free from pollutants and is a sustainable raw material. They are hand-painted with non-toxic, water-based colours that allow the natural wood grain to shine through that adds individual character to each piece. With chunky shapes and soft, rounded edges, they are also easy for small hands to grip.

The colours chosen are bright and vibrant to stimulate imagination and play. Faces of animals and other figures are friendly and welcoming.

Holztiger wooden figures conform with the European Directives for Toys (DIN EN 71), which includes testing that shows they do not contain lead or other banned elements. The non-toxic stains are furthermore subject to constant quality controls by the state supervisory authorities. Over and above this, Holztiger makes additional voluntary commitments to quality and safety. For example, every wooden figure has an additional water-based satin-finish topcoat to make it resistant to perspiration and saliva.

Holztiger can complement a child’s education by familiarising them with animals they may not ordinarily have encounter and broaden a child’s knowledge. My own daughter stunned my family knowing a flamingo, elk, and highland cow at two! From the holztiger animals she was able to identify them in a new book of animals at her nanas with no prompting. The hand carving is smooth and not overly detailed, so the child’s imagination can run wild while enjoying play and the tactile feeling of the animal in their hands.

The result from my own experience is a set of wooden animals I have no intention of ever passing on unless it is to my grandchildren. I want the memories and fun my daughter, husband and I have already shared with these toys to pass through generations and always be a part of our family as a timeless, classic, and beautiful addition to any home or playroom.

 

Organicup – Brands at Yes Bébé

I did a lot of research when first looking for which menstrual cup to go for. The thing that drew me to Organicup was that it was medium-soft so great for a beginner, and also the recycled packaging. I have been using it for about 6 months now and I can say that I am really glad I went for this cup. It does take some getting used to (as I’d not used a cup before), but with a bit of practice it works perfectly and feels great.

The cup is made from medical grade silicone and has little ridges that make for easier removal. It has little holes in the rim that help keep the suction. There is a stem on it which can help you to pull it out, but some ladies need to cut it off if they have a lower cervix. When you remove it, give it a little twist and pull. Empty into the loo, give a rinse and you’re ready to use again. I thought I would be bothered by the blood, but in all honesty, it really doesn’t. After all, it’s a clean, natural bodily fluid. When not in use, I keep it in the little organic cotton pouch that it comes in.

Organicup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a bit of background info on the brand, which I think makes it even more awesome:

OrganiCup was founded in 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark and today more than 350,000 have switched to an OrganiCup. The inspiration to start up came from a desire to make the menstrual cup  more widely available and make it more appealing to more people. They are doing that through great design, an engaging brand and an affordable price point. Organicup are from Denmark – a country with a long design history that typically focus on simplicity, clean lines and natural materials and they wanted to bring that to the world of period products and just like that OrganiCup was born. They have chosen to use recycled packaging because of the simple fact that period products are the cause of major pollution and they wanted to do something about that. Considering the impact they have on the environment is embedded in the product value proposition. Moreover, it’s embedded in the company ethos so it was pretty straight forward to choose sustainable solutions whenever possible. Organicup want to make making the sustainable choice easier. Often people feel that making sustainable choices are a compromise – this is not the case with OrganiCup, as 9 out of 10 find it more convenient than pads and tampons, plus the health, environmental and economical benefits.They think these benefits will drive the mainstream conversion to the cup to the benefit of our environment!

To buy your Organicup, click here

Images from www.organicup.com

Tegu – Brands at Yes Bébé

Tegu, the blocks that click!

Tegu was born with the vision to bring life to the classic building block whilst affecting social change in one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere. After a trip to Honduras, the creators decided that Tegucigalpa (the capital), was the perfect place  to begin. They wanted to address poverty in a sustainable – by creating business opportunities.

Tegu have partnered with a local school in Honduras to help take the children that work in the dumps and bring them into the classroom. They won’t stop until every single child is in school.

The wood for Tegu comes from the abundance of a harwood called Huesito (spanish for “little bone”. These trees are harvested when mature and replaced with thousands of saplings. They hold strict criteria when sourcing wood so they don’t damage the forests.

Tegu pay their employees the living wage and place a lot of importance on long term career growth rather than simple task based job. When you buy Tegu, you are supporting hundreds of families in Honduras.

The designers at Tegu started with the humble block created around a 30mm magnetic core. All their blocks have come from this beginning and are designed to work together in a unique way. They studied the size and shape of children’s hands and how they played with the blocks when developing the final design. Below you can find an infographic to show just how tegu really is perfect for all ages.

tegu play

So if you want to join in, then you can find all our tegu HERE

And don’t forget to join us in our Facebook group for Tegu Tuesday’s where you will find building competitions, prizes and awesome deals!

 

Organic Cotton

What is Organic Cotton?

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced without fertilisers and pesticides and grown on land that has had time to recover from any previous use of such things (minimum 3 years). Organic cotton employs the biological processes of nature and promotes biodiversity amongst wildlife.

The plants are in no way genetically modified and haven’t been treated with any chemicals during any part of the manufacturing packaging.

Is cotton sustainable?

To make production sustainable, several things must be employed. Biodiversity of the seeds used and the wildlife must be protected. The health of the soil and its resilience to the weather must be maintained. The system must rely on renewable sources to keep it sustainable such as manure. Therefore non-renewable sources such as fertilisers and pesticides can’t be used. Because of this, production isn’t as predictable as non-organic cotton and the yields aren’t usually as high.

How to tell if it’s organic

There are several logos that you can look out for to confirm whether or not an item of clothing uses organic cotton. Unlike food, cotton doesn’t have to be certified in order to label it organic.

 

GOTS: Products that have met environmental and social standards during production. They have been certified by an independent third party.

SOIL ASSOCIATION: They were a founder member of GOTS and products are certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard by Soil Association Certification Ltd.

Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®: Applies to raw, semi finished and finished textiles. They test for harmful chemicals, illegal substances and regulated substances. All items must adhere to their strict criteria.

Benefits of Organic Cotton

  • Supports sustainability and farmers
  • Kinder to skin, less likely to cause allergies/reactions
  • Free of chemicals and harmful substances
  • Prevents water contamination and land spoil
  • Less environmental impact
  • Less harmful to the farmers health

 

Find all our organic clothing here: https://yesbebe.co.uk/265-organic-clothing-brands/