I’m not sure when it started, but I know that having a baby have definitely amplified my hippie tendencies, it made me think more about our environmental impact, and increased my sense of responsibility for OUR planet.

I came across Greenpeace’s plastic calculator earlier this year, and even though I thought I was pretty good with doing my bit for the planet, I was shocked and surprised how much plastic I actually used EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t even think that cotton buds are plastic.

Soooo, one of my New Year Resolutions, that actually lasted even evolved further was to reduce my plastic footprint. This simple calculator made me think about how everything is disposable; from fashion, to plastic spoons that I used to use at work ONCE to stir my cuppa and throw them away, to nappies and baby wipes… and to that extra cup that I was given at Starbucks the other day when I asked for some cold almond milk as my coffee was too hot. It all adds up, and this post is not about guilt tripping, but about my realisation that we all have our bit to add, and about some small changes that I made this year and some that I am hoping to introduce in the near future; money and convenience permitting – as some of the eco products and solutions are more expensive and not as easily available, which I think might be a big barrier for people.

GROCERY SHOPPING

Reuse your bags. I reckon we are all used to taking your own bags when shopping. Unless you’re me and you leave the bags in the car and you end up either taking the trolley back to the car, or leave a supermarket with pockets stuffed with the shopping, or cuddling and balancing the rest of your shopping in your arms!

I read recently here that Tesco will stop selling their 5p carrier bags and will only sell 10p ‘bags for life’, which I personally don’t like, and so I better step up my shopping cuddling act, or always remember to take my bags.

Shopping online. Shopping for grocery online, either delivered to your door or ‘click and collect’ is a game changer. You save your time, it’s likely that you don’t end up with any impulse buys in your trolley, and you can either swap your plastic bags when using Ocado, or chose not to use any when you do Click and Collect with Tesco.

Buy fruit and veg by weight and don’t use individual bags unless you don’t need them. The single most surprising thing when I moved to the UK was that all the fruit and veg is prepacked and wrapped in plastic? Why? What do you do with those bags when you get home? They are usually binned straight away, aren’t they?

I also try to buy my fruit and veg locally (30 minute walk from home), but I understand that once I’m back at work I will not have time to do that :((( However, we ARE GETTING AN ALLOTMENT, so maybe all my dreams of growing our
own veg will come true next summer?

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PERSONAL CARE

Swaps this year include:

Using sugar scrubs (love these from Other stories ) rather than scrubs containing microbeads that are harmful to marine life. From next year manufacturers won’t be able to add microbeads, so better to find your favourite substitute now

I also use natural face brushes and body brushes instead of sponges.

I’m also moving towards using organic soaps, and cruelty free makeup and cosmetic brands. Although I really struggled to find brands that are affordable (as the same price, or just a little bit more expensive than let’s say Max Factor or L’Oreal), so holler at me if you have any suggestions!
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HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

Oh my! Where do I start! I love my cleaning, so I am still trying to figure it out if I will ever move away from all my lovely toxic cleaning sprays… However, I have started to (sometimes) use lemon and water, or diluted apple cider vinegar for cleaning. I’m also making a conscious effort not to use as many trees, I mean, paper towels for cleaning.

Other swaps include:

Using reusable boxes and bowls and saucers instead of cling film (I’m on my last roll ever now!)

ON THE GO – TAKE AWAY

Simple swaps while on the go, are to carry a reusable water bottle with you (I guess that’s easier up North as the water is decent and you don’t get that limescaley taste that I cannot stand), use reusable coffee cups – love my keepcup and thermos cup.

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I’m also hoping to start using reusable cutlery when I go back to work.

BABY STUFF AND TOYS

Oh…where do I start… you need to be a parent to understand how many nappies and wipes (mainly wipes once babies are bit bigger) you go through every single day.
I was all enthusiastic about using a super cute looking reusable nappies, and laundry services before I had a kid, but once the baby arrived, that was definitely the last thing on my priority list, after keeping the baby alive, sleeping and generally finding my feet.

However, the simple changes I have actually managed to introduce is to try to use a reusable cloth to wipe his face and hands after meals at home rather than wet wipes.

I’m also moving towards using more and more bamboo dishes, and wooden toys, which we often get second hand – they are much more durable than plastic toys. I personally see so many benefits of wooden toys: as well as looking nicer ( hehe), they are educational and they encourage imagination, and ultimately they are biodegradable.
I’ve just googled for the benefits of wooden toys, and this article came up, which is quite helpful if you want to have a read.
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I Bought this activity cube for £6 on facebook market place. New one is about £40.

IMG_4968 I sometimes steal his lovely bamboo dishes hehe

Although, of course, we have some plastic toys that Oliver loves to play with (he’s one, so playing means banging to toys together), and walkers, and other stuff. Thankfully we got most of that stuff second hand, and I managed to sell the stuff that he doesn’t use anymore.

Thanks for reading and give me a shout if you can suggest any other swaps and ways to keep our planet tidy x

 

I take my running kit with me whenever I go away, whether it’s a short business trip, family holiday or a weekend at my parents. Even if I don’t use it, it’s almost my security blanket allowing me to escape, relax and have some time to myself.

However, if someone told me a few years ago that I’d be packing my running kit for a trip to Ibiza, I’d laugh them off. Especially since I like a good night out too…

So what’s like to run in Ibiza?

Terrain

We stayed in Cala Llonga, a resorty part of the island, which I have to say is absolutely stunning, and it’s miles apart from San Antonio – the second biggest town in Ibiza and home to many well know clubs, so basically the commercial part of the island.

The views in our area were breathtaking, and terrain wise it was a perfect mix of roads, trails (which were very challenging in places) and beaches.


I packed my Nike free run flyknit shoes based purely on the fact that they are breathable and I knew that the weather would be hot, and I don’t want to bake my poor feet he he.

They were a surprisingly good choice across all of the different types of terrain, even though some of the trails were quite rocky to say the least.

Season, the Weather and Hydration!

We went to Ibiza in early May, so just before all school half terms and holidays. There were enough holidaymakers around to remind you that it’s a popular tourist destination, but it wasn’t crowded. There was enough space to run on the beach and on the roads. It was quite nice to see some other tourists running too.

I have researched a number of routes on Strava prior to our holiday, but ended up running max 6 km from our hotel. That’s mainly to the fact that even though it was pleasantly warm during the day – up to 25 °C, I found it too hot to do a longer run. Which takes me to my next point; Set off early to avoid running in lunchtime sun, and take plenty of water to stay hydrated!

Alone or With a Group?

On our last trip to Ibiza Town I accidently discovered the Solo Runners running shop and running community. Unfortunately the shop was closed (siesta, hey!) so I didn’t have a chance to speak to anyone. However, it looks like if you don’t fancy running alone, you can join a running group in Ibiza.


A bit of radio silence from us again. Oliver is nearly 8 months old and he’s one busy little boy! We are even busier now and so I’ve had a lot less time to write!

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He’s also sleeping through the night now (high five!?) and I’m also adjusting to this by going to bed later than 9pm 😁 and even doing stuff in the evenings!

Anyway, today I’d like to write a few words about how are we feeling before our first race. Hopefully after the race I will write a little bit less about running, and a bit more about all the fun baby friendly stuff we’ve been up to! Mamas on maternity leave will be pleased that most of them are FREE!

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TWO DAYS TO GO!!

The time on maternity leave has seriously sped up. Week after week it seems to be going faster and faster, so here we are… 2 days to the race.

I’m excited, but also very nervous, and it’s not the old nervousness about getting a PB. It’s more to do with the responsibility I feel taking Oliver around the course with me. Will he be awake to see the crowds? Will the people make him nervous or just curious? I am sure he will be fine, but I just don’t know what to expect. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Let me start with a short summary of our training:

Kilometers ran since January – 260.29

In miles… 161.7

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Longest training run – 20km / 12.5 miles

I never run that far before a half marathon, but I guess, I wanted to make sure I can actually do it!

Terrain

Trail, track and road

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Any injuries?

It takes a year for your body to get to a pre-pregnancy state after giving birth, so yeah… I will be honest and I say that I overdid it a little bit. The tendons behind my right knee are super sore so I will be going to see a physiotherapist 😓after the race.
Music listed

MO, Bonobo, The Streets, Bloc Party, Courtesy, Sampha, Lil Silva, Santigold, A tribe called Red ft. Yasiin Bey
Keep your fingers crossed for the weather on Sunday and for us 😚

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Keep your fingers crossed for the weather on Sunday and for us 😚
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Living overseas means that I frequently ‘commute’ by plane to see my family. I knew that I would need to take my new baby on the plane asap, and of course once I was ready and comfortable to do so. I have to say that the thought of traveling with someone so small and vulnerable, but someone who requires more luggage than me was a little bit overwhelming!
Speaking to my friends and family, reading online advice and the mum travel blog was very reassuring and helped me to prepare and to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Here’s a quick summary of everything I learnt from my friends, family and our experience. I hope that everyone who likes to be over prepared enjoys this post 🙂

Is my baby old enough to travel?
I waited for my baby’s 8 weeks check-up before I decided to book our plane tickets. We also needed to carefully schedule our trip between his immunisations, which were given at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.
We went on holiday when he was exactly 3 months old, so a week before his final jabs.
I felt so much more confident to travel, or even leave the house once Oliver felt a little bit more ‘solid’. However, babies as young as two days old are allowed to travel by plane. The best thing to do is to check with your airline.

Travel insurance and healthcare
I never bother with travel insurance when I go ‘back home’ to visit my family. This time round we decided that it might be better if we get insurance in case of any emergencies, even getting our buggy damaged. Fortunately it wasn’t needed!
In addition to this we have registered for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The card is free and it gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland. Of course this may change after Brexit…

Packing and getting to the airport
We tried to pack lightly and ordered some of the baby stuff to be delivered to Poland so that we are not flying with any excess luggage. In the end we had two big suitcases, one small Ryanair size approved hand luggage, one rucksack, a pram and a nappy bag. The great thing is that on Ryanair you’re allowed to have up to a 5kg nappy bag, which is super helpful. We also got one of those big stroller bags, which we stuffed with our winter coats once we dropped off the pram while boarding.
As for getting to the airport we left an extra early to have as much stress free journey as possible, and allow for any hiccups like tram not going to the airport. Yes, this actually happened!
Food, hold and hand luggage
Once we got to the airport with our mountain of bags it was time to check in and go through security.
I knew from the Government website that we would be able to take enough baby food, baby milk and sterilised water (more than usual max of 100mls) for the journey. However, I was a little bit worried that we would need to open the bottles to prove what they were. In the end there was no need to do this, as the bottles go in a separate tray / scanner.

Up in the air
Once we boarded the plane there was plenty time to ask the person who shared a row of seats with us to swap so that we can have a middle and aisle seat, as we needed some freedom to get up and walk down the airplane, make some food or use the changing facilities. The lovely bloke agreed! I felt a bit sorry for him as he was very tall and broad and so he needed to pretty much fold in half to squeeze into his seat!

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Just chill….
Traveling with a baby is not bad at all! Babies don’t really mind where they are as long as they get the usual amount of cuddles. Whenever things got stressy I started singing to Oliver as this is something (no idea how given my voice) soothes him.
Oliver was very brave and cried only very briefly as he was a bit too hot and we needed to remove some layers. Ascending and descending weren’t a problem, because we’d been recommended to gave him some milk anyway to help his ears pop.
The other things that I found useful were some new toys to help distract him and keep him occupied while we waited for the plane, and of course, some sanitising gel and wipes for the plane.

 

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Overall the flight itself went smoothly and as my friends said, it’s actually easier to fly with a new baby who will be asleep than with a baby a bit older who will want to explore their surroundings. I have another couple of trips planned this year, and I’m already looking for tips on what’s like to fly and holiday with an older baby. Oliver will be 10 months old when we go to Ibiza later on this year. Does anyone have any tips on beach, summer holiday with babies? Can you even call it a ‘holiday’, or will it end up being even more hard work than being at home? Thanks x

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So yesterday was one of those days which reminded me of our first week back from hospital after Oliver was born.
It was 4 pm when I looked around, the kitchen was super untidy (first day of weaning), there were half drunk cups of coffee everywhere, Emma’s and baby’s toys were all over the lounge, and I was standing there with my messy hair in a bun, no makeup and yoga pants, which I had put on first thing in the morning to do yoga. I looked at myself and thought – what a catch. All those stories about letting yourself go at a certain point in a relationship must be right…Or not..

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I quickly tidied up the house, had a shower using a pan of water (our shower is broken, nightmare!) and made everything look normal to feel like I actually accomplished something that day.

So this post is to remind myself how to organise my day on maternity leave, so that I can make the most of my day; spend meaningful time with Oliver, rather than giving him an extended time on his swing (hello parents, we’ve all been there!), do stuff that I enjoy without wasting any time.

I’ll start with a confession, before I became a mum, and as someone who works in a job that requires great organisational skills, I thought that people with kids who talk about not having time for anything just couldn’t organise themselves properly. But the truth is that having a small baby requires an extra level of organisational skills and a great deal of planning. I bet some people just go with the flow, but I’m just not one of them. So here are 4 simple things that help me to make the most of every day.

Get up early

There’s no such thing as a lie in in the morning once you have a baby. Unless you think about those rare days when I stay in bed until 7am hiding under the duvet when baby is gurgling loud inviting me to play with him.

So the best thing to do is not to press snooze, but just get up and start your day. I tend to get baby ready first and then put my yoga kit on, so that I can do a bit of baby yoga with him before he drops off for his first nap of the day.

Then I do my yoga and core stability work. I choose to exercise in the morning as a part of my routine as plans tend to change during the day, and at least I know that even if I cannot go for a run in the evening that I did that one thing for myself that day.

It’s quite nice to do it with Oliver by my side, but I have learnt that often I cannot complete a practice or exercise in one sitting, as I need to be able to pause at any minute and then go back to it.

Anytime during the day when he’s napping I try to do tasks that I wouldn’t be able to do when he’s awake, so any type of ‘thinking jobs’, important tasks, ‘life admin’ or writing.

Turn off social media and your phone

Social media is great, but it’s fair to say that this is the biggest time thief. Once I check my facebook feed, I visit Pinterest, and then Instagram, and then do the same thing again…
I even started checking social media during the night feeds, which had a negative impact on my ability to go back to sleep. So i try to go offline more often now, and particularly so if I want to focus on something. I also try to grab a book instead of checking facebook. I wrote about this before here.

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Plan your day

By planning my day I don’t mean some regimented schedule, but having a rough idea of what I want to do that day and any tasks that need completing. Every weekday, except Wednesday, I have something planned either with Oliver or by myself (like my weekly running group), so I try to organise each day loosely so that I have time to fit in life admin, house chores and walking Emma without compromising my time with Oliver.
I only have a more ‘strict’ schedule if I need to be somewhere or do something by a certain date. Then I’ll have a deadline in mind, but will start working towards it way in advance as I know that things take much longer now!

Do one thing a time

At work, I was the queen of multitasking and I thrived when doing several things at the same time, but this just doesn’t work at home. I tried a few times, and everytime I ended up with a crying baby, an excited dog jumping all over me, dinner on fire, and badly painted nails!

As I’ve said before, I never know what day of the week it is, but I feel like I’m making the most of my 53 weeks off. I know that I will not look back and think to myself ‘I wish I did that when I was off’. Having said that we do embrace an occasional sofa day or a day when we grab food for both of us and just spend the day walking around, which what we used to do most days in summer and autumn. Here’s a photo from our brunch date (spot the milk bottle) from October x

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