Trying to reduce waste when you’re a family can seem daunting, but there are a few small, simple things that you can do that can make a big difference both for the environment (any landfill waste creates greenhouse gasses which are very bad news for global warming) and for your pocket. So whilst none of the below are groundbreaking, they help us reduce waste in our home and live a little more consciously relying less on disposable items to carry out small everyday tasks, particularly in the kitchen. Here’s some items I’ve bid farewell to in at attempt to reduce the waste we create as a family and just generally, to live a little more simply…

SAY GOODBYE TO…

Paper towels and wet wipes

Probably the simplest and most effective change I’ve made to create less waste is to ditch paper towels. It’s so easy to grab one when there’s a small mess to wipe up, or a dirty baby’s hands to wipe, or some sticky fingers to clean up. So now instead of buying disposable paper towels, we use bright cloth napkins that we had anyway in the home (that were simply gathering dust in the cupboard and totally underused). They’re so much softer and more cheery (important when wiping mess up!) and now instead of disposing of a dirty paper towel, we just stick them in the washing machine. I’m also a big fan of cheeky wipes to wipe up mucky faces and bottoms – I will do anything to avoid baby wipes and have spoken of my feelings towards these pesky bits of yucky fibres here. Quick tip if you do decide to go down this route – I really recommend using coloured or dark cloths; I reckon white cloths would end up stained and mucky looking.

Cling film and aluminium foil

Again, cling film has been struck off the shopping list over the past few months. Instead we use Abeego bees wax food wrap which are made with beeswax, tree resin, organic jojoba oil infused into a hemp and organic cotton cloth. After one use, I simply rinse them with cold water and they’re as good as new. Tip if using abeego: don’t use any hot water to wash them and don’t stick them in the microwave. In fact I’m trying to get rid of anything disposable in our house: whether it’s a picnic, party or camping trip, you don’t need to use disposable plates, cups and cutlery and instead we either use stainless steel items like this rectangular one with mini storage inside which are super durable (& perfect for camping), or I’ve recently discovered these biodegradable and reusable plates.

Washing powder

The eco egg is a total game changer for any family and I could not be happier with this nifty little product. It’s amazing for the environment, is a real money saver and is also a must if you or your loved ones have sensitive skin. You don’t need anything else – you just pop the egg in with your washing and I also put a few drops of lavender oil in with the clothes too. The product comes in three size; the largest lasting for up to three years! The natural cleaning pellets inside the egg are the cleaning agent. There are no harsh chemicals and it’s proven to wash just as well as normal detergent. Win win win!!

 

Food packaging 

Ideally I would take my empty jars and containers to the shops to refill them somewhere like here or here but unfortunately this isn’t the reality (I live a bit of a distance from both). And whilst I try to buy foods from the supermarket with least wrapping as possible and I always take my own cloth bags to the shops, sometimes, especially if shopping online, packaging is of course inevitable. Once beyond the horrible packaging, I strip my produce of its packaging before putting it in the fridge or in the larder. This means I’m much more aware of the food that I own and I’ve found that the food waste we produce as a family has plummeted. Side note: it also looks way more attractive. The other reason I like removing packaging of fresh produce in particular – sorry husband – is to get rid of sell by date stickers. As a result, we just go by what the produce looks like rather than a date on a package.

If you want to explore a more waste-free lifestyle, you’re going to need to say goodbye to a few things. Are there any tips and tricks – however small – you can share around creating less waste in the home? Do you do any of the above? I’d love to hear…

P.S Other items I love: my reusable coffee cup, and my camelbak water bottle, I generally don’t leave the house without either. Oh, and stainless steel straws are a complete winner with the kiddos – there is something really special about teaching the children about this world too.

P.P.S 10 ways to reduce waste and live with less and zero waste parenting tips

A Perfect Laid Back Family Retreat in Italy

OK, so I’ll be honest with you: up until now, the idea of an all-inclusive holiday has always made me feel a little uneasy. To date, most of our holidays have been backpacking, roadtripping, camping and long haul flights to who knows where. Naturally, therefore, I was somewhat skeptical about Villa Pia. I’d be surrounded by other people’s children, there’d be organised fun and everything would be run on timings and rules. Well, I may as well get this out there right now: I could not have been more wrong about this place.

I think it was just after we arrived when we were given a 3 minute tour of the house before being offered a beer and left to our own devices that I realized Villa Pia wasn’t going to be a typical “all inclusive” sort of place. There were no staff walking about in bright t-shirts and caps (their presence was unbelievably discreet), no signs around the place with ‘dos’ and ‘donts’, and not an aquaaerobics class in sight. Indeed, everyone is very much left to get on with it which for me is exactly what I want from a holiday – but with (delicious) meals, a swimming pool, a load of toys, some adult banter when you want it and every single baby item you could think of, at your disposal.

Villa Pia is a beautiful farmhouse located in Lippiano, a stunning hilltop village conveniently located between several Italian airports. Most people rent a car but one of the families had taken the train which they said also worked perfectly. The house holds 20 families and the rooms are basic but full of character, and have all you need. We had one very large room for all of us but I get the impression that they’d cater for whichever set up you want. All meals (including alcohol and a sit down three course dinner) are included in the stay and trust me when I say, the food is mouth- wateringly excellent.

When it came to activities for the kids, asides from a few paid extras, for example a weekly kids cookery class, there weren’t many. But with the huge grounds, a room full of toys, a mega outdoors slide, a softplay room, and two swimming pool, there is more than enough for children. Some of the guests there with older children mentioned that they’d have liked a few more activities but for us with younger kids, it was so simple and so perfect.

Here’s a few personal highlights from Villa Pia:

  • The fridge stocked full of juices, milk (they even had oat milk), prosecco, beers, yoghurts not to mention a dresser laden with spirits that adults could help themselves to, say if you wanted to make a casual gin & tonic at 7pm
  • Whilst dinner for kids is earlier with the aim that you feed your kids and put them to bath and then the adults eat together at 8, equally if your child (like ours and a few others) fancied playing on the climbing frame and hanging out, no one batted an eye lid
  • Baby bottles, bibs, plates and cutlery on tap
  • Being able to get a tiny bit dressed up and have some adult chat with other parents from all over the world at the end of the day (and stay up late finishing the bottle, if you so desire)
  • The fact that if you forget any single medical item for a child, someone else is bound to have it

So in conclusion, don’t come here if you’re looking for the latest, snazziest toys (the toy room was definitely sporting some retro toys), activities to occupy your child with every moment of the day or state of the art TVs in your room (there was no TV in the room, which I really loved). But if you’re looking for somewhere relaxed and homely where the food is restaurant quality and kids are seen as part of the furniture, then this could be your next holiday. It almost feels like Villa Pia is stuck in another era, in all the right ways. What I mean by that is that they get all the simple things right, and don’t worry too much about the rest – which in my mind, is exactly how it should be.

If you want to see more from our time there, I’ve included some more photos below. Thanks as ever for taking the time to read this post (and I’d love you to pop over to watch a short video diary of our time here– it gives far more of a feel for this gorgeous place)

Emma xxx

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DISCLAIMER: Villa Pia very kindly invited us to come and stay with them – but all opinions are 100% my own. We absolutely LOVED this spot and we’re already gathering troops to return next year! To find out more or make an enquiry, head to Villa Pia’s website.

Easy Vegan Banana Bread

Picture the scene: it’s day 2 of Veganuary, obviously dairy and meat is out of the question, our food shop isn’t arriving ’til the next day, and I’m hungry. Faced with a grumbling tummy and an empty fridge, I would normally snack on cheese and crackers. Obviously this isn’t an option now. I can’t whip up a quick scrambled egg either and the grey looking tub of hummus on the top shelf isn’t appealing to me either.

I scan the kitchen and my eyes fall upon a bunch of black bananas that had been left festering under a pile of newspapers. It’s approaching witching hour for the kids which means the wheels will soon start to fall off and my tummy still grumbles on. I realise that there’s only really one possibility here: some sort of banana bread. Except it has to be vegan. And Sam is kinda anti-sugar. So it has to be sugar -free. And I fancied wholemeal flour rather than the typical refined type. So basically, a really boring banana bread.

But here’s the thing – this one tastes amazing and has a lovely crunchy crust, it’s soft on the inside with no sweet sickly taste as some normal banana bread can be. The best part? Tucking into 3 chunks (with no topping – it doesn’t need it) makes you feel zero sorts of guilty. A win all round. So here’s how I did it (with a helping hand from Jack). Sorry that the instructions are a little vague (#hippycook) – for example when I say ‘cups’, you could measure out 120g, and also it it totally flexible recipe so go with what feels right (and what you have in the cupboard!). I hope it works out deliciously for you – I’m sure it will.

Ingredients

2/3 (ideally 3) bananas mashed (Jack did this part – in other words, don’t worry if they aren’t too mashed!)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
6 tablespoons water
110ml olive oil (I also tried this with vegetable oil, and it turned out more than fine)
100ml maple syrup OR 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white flour + 1 cup wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp each cinnamon
Handful of vegan chocolate chips (optional) – we used these ones

Switch the oven to 180’C and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper or rub some (vegan) butter on a muffin tin (this recipe works just as well for muffins or a cake). Beat together the oil and maple syrup. In a separate bowl, mix together the chia seeds and water and add this to the oil/maple syrup. Then add the mashed bananas.

In a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients then fold this into the wet mixture. Pour into your tin and sprinkle over some oats. The mixture will seem thick and stodgy, but that’s perfect! Pop in the oven for about 35 minutes (or until a knife comes out clean – you know the deal) Enjoy with a big brew, and either have it on its own (my favourite), toasted or top with peanut butter, maple syrup, banana slices, jam, nutella…..Or freeze it. But I recommend, just on its own, whilst still hot (it tastes ten times more delicious), with a big mug of tea.

P.S Vegan Chocolate Courgette Cake  and The Best Dairy Free Milks for Kids

The UK Campsites You Need To Visit

I have a confession: my favourite blog posts are the ones I do mainly for my sake over yours. Like this one about the kids milestones or this recipe for healthy banana cake which I go back to again and again. Don’t take this the wrong way but they’re always the ones that actually get me excited and which I really pour epic amounts of time into either researching or writing. This post is a prime example of this. I have spent days and nights feverishly digging into the depths of Google/ Trip Advisor / Instagram to make this post happen, and I also want to thank some of you for putting forward some ace sites too.

My geography ain’t the best is shoddy so apologies if the below ordering structure is a little haphazard. Also, can you tell we’re based in London? I know there aren’t many up North in the list below – I’m working on it! Anyway so, here goes: a guide to the best campsites that are mainly small, simple and beautiful; that are not off grid, have clean showers, and in many cases, pizza vans, lakes and fire pits. All important shizzle. Genuinely, who needs Trip Advisor or Google? We got each other 🙂 Enjoy the list, guys:

Breck Farm – Norfolk

Swallowtails – Norfolk

Lings Meadow – Suffolk

Thistledown Farm – Gloucestershire

Nethergong Camping – Canterbury

Folds Farm – New Forest

Wardley Hill – Norfolk

Cornish Tipi Holidays – Cornwall

Dewslake Camping – Pembrokeshire

Wookey Farm – Somerset

Hale Farm – Sussex

Edale campiste  – Peak District

Fen End Farm – Cambridgeshire

The Secret Garden Touring Park – Cambridgeshire

The Real Campsite at Park Farm – Oxfordshire

Folly Farm – Devon

Burnbake – Dorset – turn up and pitch

Gooseberry Field Campsite – Kent – glamping only

The Secret Campsite – Sussex

Experience Sussex – Guess where..

Wowo – Sussex

Fforrest – Mid Wales

Eweleaze Farm – Weymouth

Thanks so much for reading folks, and please let me know if you have any additions or have been to any of the above and have any thoughts!

Emma xxx

P.S Camping with a tiny baby and A Perfect Birthday Camping Trip

Mamalina Meets Pebble Magazine

I had the pleasure of interviewing Georgina Wilson-Powell, the brains behind the totally awesome independent Pebble magazine. Pebble is not about ‘sustainability’ as you might know it. It’s not about intimidating or even dare I say it, boring concepts. It’s about so much more: Permaculture. Knitting. Whizzy futurists. Slow fashion. Open sourcing. Foraging. Crafting. Eco-villages. Food waste. Forests. Mindful discovery. Protecting the seas. Great food. Local food. New manufacturing models. Conservation. Organic skincare. Vegetable leathers. Vertical farms. Staycations. Kayaking. Thinking differently. Travelling lightly. Traditional skills. Zero waste. Turning plastic bottles into clothes and shoes. Dressing well. Creating communities. Enjoying our lives without harming the planet. Supporting people who have taken a risk to find a better way of doing something. Challenging the status quo. Zero waste cocktails.

In essence, it’s a magazine about living a good life full of adventures, they share and promote positive stories from people doing good around the world and crucially, they’re paving the way for helping us incorporate these things into our own lives. Here’s what Georgina had to say when we caught up….

1. what gets you out of bed in the morning?

Instagram. And a crazy long to do list. Seriously, although running a start up magazine is pretty full on and overwhelming at times, it’s a joy to be able to talk to amazing people doing amazing things, write it up and share it with our audience. We’re all about #pebblesmakeripples, but even if we only make a small positive impact that’s worth getting up for.
I long for a dog. I’d like to get up every morning to walk the dog.

2. whats the first thing you do once you are up?

Sadly it’s usually post to Instagram, check Twitter and write the daily news piece for the site. Once that’s done I realise I’m still in my PJs and then I run around like a mad thing, half dressed, half answering emails. My ideal morning would be to get up and do yoga in a quiet light filled room but my flat’s so small there’s nowhere to do a down dog without bashing into a wall.

3. tea or coffee or ‘erb?

Is it bad that running an ethical living magazine has pushed me back into the arms of caffeine? It’s coffee if I’m out a meeting or I do love the Pukka Turmeric Gold tea for home. Like a hug in a mug.

4. fry up or healthy?

Healthy. Whatever’s in the fridge goes into a smoothie. Which never looks anything like the ones you see on Instagram.

5. what is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Work wise? Having a bath in the middle of the day. At the moment I’m working from home (we move into an office in October) so I’m making the most of it.

Life wise? Dodgy 80s Drive Time ballads and the kind of pick n mix sweets that have sat in a newsagents for years.

6. when are you happiest?

By the sea. I grew up on the Suffolk coast and after years living in the city, I’ve started to yearn to be back by the water. I don’t want to be in it or on it, but just watching the waves or hearing the lapping water and the clink of sail masts. Ideally it will be paired with an ice cold G&T or a cream tea.

7. what makes you angry?

How long have you got? Mostly waste. 15 million plastic bottles wasted a day in the UK. 7 million coffee cups. Ridiculous levels of packaging. The realisation that most people don’t have the info they need or the financial independence to make more eco-aware choices. Feeling as if we’re going backwards as a society. Inequality. Donald Trump. Brexit.

8. in the last year you have become…

Far more knowledgeable about ethical fashion, plastic waste, zero waste and also a lot more empowered. I’m learning how to grow veggies and compost (ready for my dream smallholding life) make my own toiletries and I’ve learnt how to knit.

9. if you can pass one piece of advice on to your former self, what would it be?

Get on and follow your passions and don’t care what other people might think. Embrace the geek.

10. and finally, crunchy or smooth? (peanut butter)

Erm, can I have both? Crunchy on toast, smooth in everything else. Added PB to a curry recently – a revelation.
Don’t forget to find out more about Pebble here#pebblesmakeripples

Flying With Kids – And How You Might Even Enjoy It

“You’re crazy.” Simply put, this was one friend’s response back in 2015 when I told her that we we’d just booked to fly to South Africa with our 9 month old son. “Ahhh it’ll be OK”, I said half-smiling, half gritting my teeth, wondering if we’d made a big mistake and should be driving to Centre Parcs, or something more sensible sounding. Fast forward two years, we’ve added another child into the mix and been fortunate to visit places all over the world, from Ankhor Wat to Arizona and I’d jump on a plane tomorrow for another 15 hours or so if it meant we could wake up in another far away country with our children. Because here’s the thing: in my opinion, sitting on a plane with kids is the easy part, it’s the sitting on the beach part that I find tricky. So here’s some quick tips I’ve picked up along the way if you’re heading on a plane journey with little ones and might be interested in some ways to maybe make it a little more palatable even, dare I say it, enjoyable.

Leave colossal amounts of time in the airport

However much time you were planning to leave, take that and add at least half the time onto that again. Everything takes longer with small children – you already know this, but nowhere is it more true (and important) than in an airport. Even when we think we have loads of time, we often still finding ourselves power walking (Sam) and lightly jogging (me) to get to the gate in time. And don’t forget to find the kids’ play areas – the one at Heathrow is right next door to a Pret which means you can sit with a caffeinated drink and watch the energy sap out of your child ahead of your flight. It’s kinda cool.

Fuel is everything

Having enough food on board is crucial; it serves not only to keep everyone relatively content  (have you seen how happy rice cakes and breadsticks make children?) but it’s also time-consuming. By that I mean, have you ever seen how long it takes a toddler to eat a bag of popcorn if you ask them to line all the pieces out in a row? Or how about if you ask them to make shapes with them? Bring on board more snacks than you think they could ever possibly consume because I promise you, they’ll all get eaten (if not by them, by you). That being said, if you really want your little ones to sleep, I’d suggest trying to get some proper food, ideally carbs, down them or alternatively bring something on board with you and don’t be afraid to ask for your childrens’ meals earlier – (see below on air hostess etiquette).

Be nice

I’m not suggesting you give out goody bags to people sitting next to you – that’s just unnecessary, not to mention kind of weird. I simply mean, talk to people, make eye contact with them, help them with their bags and basically be a good human who happens to be in possession of a small, very loud person. In particular, focus on the air hostesses and other people with children. Both are powerful people: the former because they have access to delights such as yoghurt, fruit and water – all valuable commodities when traveling long haul with children and you really need four minutes to go the loo and a banana will give you that. British Airways also carry Ellas Kitchen pouches on long haul which let’s face it, are pretty much gold dust in this situation. The latter because another friendly mum or dad with a whole back story and a toddler the same age as yours to share toys and snacks with is some of the best entertainment (bar a film, but you ain’t watching any of that) out there.

 

Don’t keep them in their seats

Despite looking out a plane window being one of the best story books out there, that will only last you so long (probably 7 minutes, max) Instead, let your mini run wild in the aisle to expend as much energy as possible. Good luck trying to avoid business class – a grubby, sockless, squealing toddler bursting through that elusive black curtain is not ideal, for anyone, least of all you who is going to have to be the one to sheepishly retrieve your small person. By the end of your flight, you’ll know the cabin crew area behind the seats very well and if you’re lucky, won’t have had too many encounters with suited business class folk trying to get on with reading their book and sipping their g & t#notjealousatall

TAKE TURNS

Whilst parenting is undeniably about team work, there are moments where you sometimes just need a break (How have Kit Kat not capitalised on the parenting arena?). And being on a plane with small people, is one of those. Give each other time slots (that have to be observed – there’s no messing about here) and know that your moment to recline that seat is coming.

Take a sling

There are a tonne of gadgets out there to help traveling with children but in my mind, nothing beats the humble babycarrier. Relatively small, foldable, and allowing for a superb rocking motion perfect for calming / lulling little ones to sleep, we don’t travel anywhere (not even hardly to the pub) without one. My favourite is the Connecta baby carrier – there have been many times where this was the only way our kids would fall asleep, and from there we would transfer him to arms/ a bassinet.

Technology will be your friend

Pre download shows on your phone and don’t rely on the plane for kiddies programmes – you might just have a seat with a duff entertainment system like we did that time we’d downloaded ONE twenty minute episode of Peppa Pig for a 12 hour plane flight.

Fly overnight

If you fly overnight, they *will* sleep at some point which discounts at least a few hours. Also, if your child is under 1 and / or can still fit in the bassinet, make sure you book this (and keep checking it’s confirmed). On the sleep note, cross everything that your plane is not busy. This can make a world of difference; just one extra single aisle is all you need to offload a restless, dribbling toddler desperately trying to sleep, balanced against your chest, legs straddled, jaw wide open…. you get the picture.

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I hope these few tips might be of some use, and if anything else, encourage you to take the leap and book that flight. Happy traveling – if in doubt, just do it. The world is waiting for you (and for your little ones) and whatever happens, you’ll learn a tonne along the way.

Thanks so much for reading as ever and definitely drop me a comment if you have any thoughts / questions / tips you’d like to add – I’d love to hear from you.

Emma xxx

P.S If you are pregnant and are about to purchase DVT socks, I’m not sure I’d bother. These are for people who are stationary. And you won’t be.

P.P.S If you enjoyed this. you might like ‘How to go backpacking with a baby.’

How To Wean With Zero Fuss

I found becoming a mum second time round vastly different to that brand new mama status. Birthing, breastfeeding, sleeping – everything just seemed that little bit easier and less of a ‘big deal’ when it came to sproglet number two. And nowhere more did I feel this than in the realm of introducing food and weaning. With Jack I remember painstakingly measuring out the exact amount of milk I should mix in with his porridge (3.5 teaspoons, to be exact), I would Google the perfect way to prepare sweet potato for a baby (surprise surprise, it’s the same way you prepare it for an adult) and I would spend ages coaxing him to eat (when he probably just wasn’t hungry). Feeding Sonny has, in contrast, been a wholly more relaxing and enjoyable experience (not least because it was a factor in improving his sleep) With Sonny, I’ve felt excited to give him food and although I’m absolutely no expert, here’s my tuppence worth on why this time round, the whole “getting-food-in-their-belly” process has been fuss-free and fun:

1. It’s not a race. As with most things baby-related, people tend to want to rush development and probe other mums about what they’re doing. “Has he had banana?”, “She’s had mango”, “What? Seven months and you’ve not given him any food?”. Life – least of all, feeding your baby which is the most natural process there can be – is not a race. So just remember; it doesn’t matter if the child at your local playgroup has tried courgette aged 6 months and yours is still suckling at the breast.

2. Babies palates are fickle so even if your little one doesn’t seem to like something on a Monday, chances are that by Friday he/she will. Keep trying foods that at one point your baby didn’t like and try to avoid labelling your child and their tastes. So for example, “my baby doesn’t eat vegetables” could simply be reframes as “at the moment or this week, he’s not eating vegetables.”

3. Don’t be intimidated by the jargon. There are two main culprits here: ‘baby led’ and ‘puree’. Or should I say “or”. I’m not sure why but people seem to approach weaning as if there is only one “method” and that you have to “choose” between these two perfectly different, perfectly perfect ways of weaning your child. My advice? Try both – depending what you have in the fridge!

4. Get some decent kit. There are some staples that you’ll need: bibs, cutlery, plates, bowls and a highchair – and there are several varieties so consider what you want carefully. With Jack we had a beautiful wooden highchair but it was an absolute pain to clean. A lot of people love the IKEA one but we have this Moutain Buggy clip on high-chair which I love as it takes up zero space and is portable. I also love the Bamboo Bamboo suction based bowls and plates which have prevented so many plate parties with Sonny chucking the entire contents of his plate on the floor. That being said, remember….

5. Avoid the gadgets. Again, and it’s a pattern in the parenting world, there are a tonne of different gadgets when it comes to feeding babies. I’ll let you in on a secret; if you’ve got hot water, an oven and a magimix or a stick blender, you don’t need any of them. Yes they might save you some time, but they won’t be easy on the bank balance (or on the cupboard space). So say no to stuff and know that I’m sure whatever you own is more than sufficient to cook and feed your little one.

6.Have back ups. If your little one is being a bit fussy, it is always helpful to have some food up your sleeve (not literally, though this is often the case, too) to try to get *something* down them. Sonny will never say no to some of the Organix finger foods and that way I know I’m getting something nutritious down him. That said, I also live by point number 8…

7. Batch cook, smatch cook. This is another aspect of weaning that terrified me; people would talk of spending entire Sunday nights preparing and cooking food for their babies for the week ahead whilst all I could think of was the Sunday night TV that I would miss. I’m sure I’d save myself time but I don’t ever batch cook, I just cook for the children and if there’s anything left over, I might stick it in the freezer. Isn’t that the same thing anyway? I’ve also started making extra of what Sam and I are eating at night and giving it to the children the next day or – making them a separate portion if what we are eating is particularly spicy or contains salt.

8. Don’t stress if they don’t eat. You’ve probably heard the phrase: “Food is for fun until they’re one” (and even beyond, I would say) and I think it’s a great one to remember so long as they’re drinking their milk. If your little one doesn’t eat much for the odd meal here and there, they will absolutely be OK* – plus, read on for what I do in such scenarios…

9. Watch for the signs. With Jack, one of the main reasons I think mealtimes turned into lengthy events is that I was ignoring his signs that he didn’t want to eat. So now when Sonny turns his head, spits something out or pushes it away, I refer to point #9 and move on with the day.

10. Ain’t no denying the mess. Some people put down sheets and there are amazing products on the market to help avoid the amazing amounts of mess that feeding a baby creates, such as this one. So far, however I’ve never been organised enough to alleviate the mess so instead I try to just embrace it and remember, as I’m on my hands and knees for the third time in a day scrubbing the kitchen floor, that this is just a phase and actually it’s quite good for my flexibility. That being said, if you like things neat and tidy, you’ll want to consider how to alleviate the mess.

If you’re soon to embark on the food journey, or are in the process of, that you might have found these tips useful. Ultimately, eating food and feeding our children should be fun, but these days it can become hyped up and another source of worry for parents.

What have your experiences been when it comes to introducing food? Has it been a positive experience ? What tips have you got that you can share?

Thanks so much for reading, as ever.

Emma xxx

P.S Perfect food for playdates

This post is also in association with Organix who have put together some tips to help you on your journey. We – or rather the kids – are huge fans of their finger foods and we pretty much don’t leave the house without a bag of some of their finger food.

 

 

* I’m not an expert but it’s my gut feeling

 

The Positive Birth Company

I’m so excited to introduce on Mamalina Meets Siobhan Miller aka Hypnobirthing Guru and founder of The Positive Birth Company. Siobhan, or Shivvy, runs group hypnobirthing courses monthly in London, Devon and Birmingham and is also an IPEN certified placenta encapsulation specialist – she taught me and helped me achieve pretty much my ideal birth. She has also just launched the UK’s first luxury hypnobirthing babymoon – The Positive Birth Retreat® (more about that later). Shivvy is also a Mum to 3 boys and writes the blog The Double Mama. She can be found on Instagram @the_double_mama though my favourite place to find her is on my sofabed where she has been known to reside. Here’s what she said when I sat down to ask her a few cheeky questions:

1. What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Cup of tea or an angry child. One of the big perks of having a 10 year old is that they can make and bring you tea in bed.

2. What’s the first thing you do once you are up?

Tea, Wee, Cuddles. Sometimes the order changes!

3. Tea or coffee or ‘erb?

Tea all the way!!! I used to *hate* herbal teas and thought they were all smell and no taste but when I was pregnant I got really into them so now I try and drink them at night to avoid pre-bed caffeine overload!

Images Copyright Susie Fisher Photography www.susiefisherphotography.com

4. Fry up or healthy?

Ooooh that’s a toughie! I like both. My favourite place for brunch is The Curious Kitchen in Brixham. I love the baked eggs and chorizo dish. Not sure if that counts as fry up or healthy?! Perhaps a bit of both 🙂

5. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

I’m so guilty of being on my phone all the time. It’s shameful. I hate myself for it. But I suppose if we’re confessing secrets – I do love a G&T and a cheeky cigarette of an evening 🙂 I recently discovered Gunpowder gin! It’s irish (like me) and it’s bloody amazing! My new fave!

6. When are you happiest?

My happy place is being with my family in our VW camper. Specifically waking up in the morning, opening up the back door and breathing in the fresh cool air. I love to be snuggled under the duvet, drinking a hot cuppa and looking out across the fields wherever we’ve pitched up. The boys love running wild and free when we’re camping and them being half feral makes me so happy. That’s what I want for their childhood.

 7. What makes you angry?

James. Especially when he says he’s going to do something and then doesn’t. I hate that. I know it’s not the done thing to air dirty laundry in public but if we’re being honest with each other for a moment, doesn’t everyones partner drive them insane at times?!

8. In the last year you have become…

A IPEN qualified placenta encapsulation specialist!! I am officially that crazy placenta lady. If you told me a few years ago that’s what I’d be doing in 2017 I’d have thought you were the crazy one!

9. If you can pass one piece of advice on to your former self, what would it be?

Oh 100% to be more confident!! I’d have told myself to care less about what other people thought. Being a Mum at 21 was SO hard and mostly because I was so worried about what people thought about me being a young single mum and being judged. I wish I’d had support around me. I wish I’d felt confident to go out there and chase my dreams. I was just consumed with being the best mum I could be by the textbook that i lost myself completely. I was so worried about fucking up. And when I was even younger I was always so critical of my body. Now I just wish I had that body back!! I’d tell myself to wear short skirts more often and be more body confident. I’d tell myself to go on more dates, take more risks and just learn about the world and all the different people in it.

10. And finally, crunchy or smooth? (peanut butter)

CRUNCHY ALL THE WAY!!!!!! I’m a peanut butter addict.

Head to The Positive Birth Company to read more about the amazing work Shivvy does. Her retreat is a 3-night, luxury, fully-catered mini break for couples, where expectant parents will have the opportunity to really switch off, relax and prepare for the birth of their baby. With morning yoga classes, evening relaxation sessions, aromatherapy massage treatments, complimentary mini bars, an outdoor hot tub and of course the full hypnobirthing course, it really is the ultimate babymoon. The next retreat is set to run in October and is suitable for first time through to fourth time parents but spaces are limited. Get in touch with her asap to book your spot.