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Plastic Reducing plastic

Start 2021 by Preventing Plastic Pollution.

While there’s enough going on right now, and the headlines focus on other issues, plastic is still a problem for our planet.

Here’s some new tips to reduce or remove plastic from your everyday. We have made these switches alongside those previously covered:

All opinions are my own, and where I profit this is highlighted.

1. Choose plastic free dishwasher and washing tablets

For all your dishwasher and laundry (bio and non-bio) needs there is one supplier who stands out for us, Smol. We have been using them for a few months now and can honestly say there no reason not to switch. They are cheaper than leading alternatives and equally effective, with fully cardboard packaging but still with child safe locks, delivered to your door and with a free trial.

Check out Smol at smolproducts.com

2. Clean and protect your entire house, and reduce your plastic foodprint

There a full review of Koh here. But, put simply, they provide cleaning cloths and solutions with reusable bottles and washable cloths. The solution works on your oven, but is safe on your kids toys. More recently, they have a developed a solution which repels bacteria for 7 days from application – clever stuff and plastic reduced!

Visit koh.com

3. Buy from responsible retailers.

I’m not saying this is always easy to find out, but if you look around you can. For example, we have recently got some lovely dried flower displays from our good friend SunSoakedFlorals who uses 100% plastic free packaging.

beautiful dried flower wreaths and displays – zero plastic

Similarly, if you need a new board game, big potato board games have removed all plastic from their packaging. If you are interested I can also give you 22% off*. Contact me on Instagram or by email for a code.

*I earn commission on sales at big potato board games, but own enough of them to prove my thoughts are genuine.

4. Use biodegradable nappies when the reusable ones are in the wash

While reusable nappies are brilliant during the day for us, they struggled at night, and there was always the wash days which needed disposables. Biodegradable disposables may expensive, but when using them at the rate we do, when balancing with reusables, its unnoticeable. For biodegrable nappies we use kit and kin. But other good brands exist such as Naty, Beaming Baby and more. We chose kit and kin for their cute designs.

Visit Kit and Kin at kitandkin.com

5. Choose plastic free deodorant

I switched to natural, plastic free deodorant by AKT over six months ago and It’s one of the best things I have done. It smells great, makes me sweat less, contains no carcinogens like antiperspirant and is developed by west end performers (and I love a musical).

Image from aktlondon.com/

Smell better and save plastic at aktlondon.com

6. Protect your gadgets with biodegradable cases

Here’s another great one I discovered recently. If, like me, you like to upgrade your devices, you also tend to buy a new case to protect it. And what happens with that case when you recycle your device? Here’s where Pelacase come in, they make durable, but compostable phone and airpod cases and watch bands. I’ve used one for two months, and noticed no difference to my usual plastic housing. So next time you upgrade your phone, upgrade your case too.

Use code WM to save at uk.pelacase.com*

*I earn commission as a wavemaker at pelacase but my opinion would be the same regardless.

Do you have any more plastic free swaps? Let me know in the comments.

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Day to day Plastic Product Review Reducing plastic

Koh – The all in one cleaner – review

I never thought I cared that much about cleaning, then I spent months at home during lockdown and kept seeing the same adverts. One cleaning solution for all jobs, which powerfully cleans the oven but is equally safe for kids toys. There was only one way to know if it works. I had to give it a go.

I bought one of their packages. This included cleaning solution (delivered in a wine box style container), reusable washable cleaning cloths, a refillable spraying bottle and some tough diamond scrubbers. That’s a significant saving of single use plastic bottles and cloths. Its also eco-certified, vegan and cruelty free.

I tested the bathroom first. Blimey did it shine like never before, and all without burning my nostrils and throat with bleach (the usual occourence when scrubbing the grout.

Then came the true test, the oven. Following the instructions, you spray and leave the solution on for two minutes, then spray a diamond scrubber and get to work. Our oven needed some TLC, but after one go it improved substantially, and after two looked good as new. No over-priced, hazardous oven cleaning set in sight.

A few months down the line, impressed, we tried the mop package. With reusable, washable mop pads this is another game changer. It also comes with a neat little silicone scrubber and hair catcher. The pads attach and detach easily, and machine wash for re-usability.

The solution is scent free. However, that makes it personalisable. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the bottle, shake, and you’ve got your own personal fragranced cleaner. We’ve currently got some lavender scent and its lovely!

Then the most important one. It’s child safe (although keep the neat solution away from their little hands). What it means, is we can go from the oven to his toys, knowing when dry, they are perfectly safe to play with again. And we can use it with the mop, knowing he can crawl or walk over it straight after!

Price wise it also pays for itself. With what I now have, compared to the oven cleaner, non washable mop pads, mop solution, window cleaner, cloths, bathroom cleaner, bleach…. etc etc I now just have one solution.

Therefore its cheaper, safer, effective and better for the environment!

I’ll sum it up easily:

Price, safety, useability, environmental impact

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Do you have any eco friendly cleaning switches? let me know in the comments below

Daddy reviewed, Munchkin approved.

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Categories
Celebrating Christmas

Happy New Year 2021

Happy new year and thanks for reading the first post of 2021. 2020 may have been a rubbish year for many, so let me start by sharing my condolences with the people who have suffered or lost a loved one.

With Lockdown 3.0 starting as I write this, it’s hard to be optimistic about the year ahead. Hopefully, people will realise the importance of following the rules this time around, and we can approach the light at the end of the tunnel which is there, albeit a tiny glimmer.

With that, please know my inbox is always open and you can find that on my contact page, or drop me a DM on Instagram. Don’t hesitate if you need a chat.

With 2020 done and dusted, I would like to send my appreciation to anyone who reads my mutterings. I feel justified in buying the domain now as 2020 saw ~400 visitors jump by more than 230% and for that I am eternally grateful. If you missed any posts from 2020 I’ve added them all to the post carousel below.

So onto a new year of blogging. Facing 2021 with the same trepidation as last year, with little ideas for new posts, but comfortable knowing I felt this way last year but managed to put out 10 more posts than the previous year.

Thanks for reading, following our journey and being there for us.

Is there anything you’d like to see in a future post?

We hope you have a good 2021.

Daddy and Munchkin

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Categories
Celebrating Christmas

Building the Festive Magic in Munchkin

Whilst this isn’t a normal Christmas, like I spoke about in my last post ‘A Covid Cursed Christmas‘. The magic of Christmas is definitely starting to build in Munchkin.

The start of the magic was first spotted when the decorations went up. We have a large bunting spelling ‘Christmas’ (believe it or not) near the dinner table. When it went up he immediately was drawn, point out the ‘S’ and ‘T’ sounds. ‘Christmas (baby please come home)’ came on the playlist, and I sang along with my arms above my head to the ‘Christmassss’ bit. Munchkin immediately copied, and now does it nearly every meal time.

If you want to picture me singing that. Here’s the song

Christmas has come around perfectly with how now he seems to learn a new word each day. He loves to point out the various ‘Reindeeeeer’ decorations (everything he says is cutely drawn out), when there is snow in books, the Chrisssssmass tee (Christmas Tree) and baubles (which sounds more like bubbles). You also can’t stop him pointing out the lights.

Oh and my, he loves the lights and sounds. He always notices when we have forgotten to put them on demanding ‘lights, ON!’. One time, when i picked him up from nursery I pointed out some new lights that had gone up. It must have been the night everyone decided to put them up as the whole 20 minutes home was ‘lights…lights….lights, lights lights…. short pause… lights!’

Whilst Munchkin may have been scared the first time he met Santa (his face was as if he had seen a ghost), we didn’t expect much on his street visit. However, when we flew past on his car towed sleigh he was mesmorised! It’ll come as no surprise the next day he came down, saw a Christmas book, pointed and said ‘Santa!’

It’s a shame we won’t get to see all the ones we love this Christmas, but will the magic starting to build in Munchkin, I’m sure we will have a exceptional Christmas.

1 sleep to go!

‘Chrismasssssssss’

Have a fantastic Christmas 2020,

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Categories
Celebrating Christmas

A Covid-Cursed Christmas

While we have it better than most, being in tier two, not locked down alone in London, or self isolating and suffering with the wretched virus, its safe to say this has and will be a Christmas to remember.

Rewind six weeks or so, My Mum (You may know her as Nannyofmunchkin when she writes on here) had the perfect rule of six plan. We would see everyone in slots, and we would host Munchkin’s Auntie and Uncle (my Sister and my Bil (brother in law). It was the perfect, covid-guideline friendly plan.

Then came the three household plan. This changed it to a traditional Christmas at Nanny’s but without seeing my wife’s side of the family. This was tough but accepted.

We were just getting used to that idea when tier four struck. We are now down to just five: my sister and her hubby, me, Munchkin and Natalie. The first Christmas I won’t see my Mum, Nan, or Natalie’s family, and Munchkin won’t see either Nan or Grandad or Great Nan. Let’s hope Zoom/Teams/Skype hold out!

So it’ll be different this year. I’m currently desperately trying to find my Christmas spirit again. But with Munchkin, I’m sure it’ll be magical as always. Different, but still a wonderful Christmas.

Even though now, just 3 days away, I’m expecting further changes to our plans….

Stay safe this Christmas, and as ever, my inbox is open if you need a chat or a cute festive Munchkin photo.

Sending our love and ‘big cuddles’ to everyone struggling this Christmas.

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Favourite bloggers

Our Favourite Parent Bloggers

Alongside writing the odd post, we love to read others, gaining insight into the future of parenting and plenty of tips! Here’s a few of our favourite bloggers. Because, if you found me, you’re likely to like them too!

I’ll update this over time, so pop back and find some new blogs to follow every few months.

Fallenforfinnandbelle

It would be wrong to not put Emily first. This is the fantastic Mummy who inspired me to start, and helped me get into blogging in the first place.

She’s so down to earth, so honest and not afraid to say when its all going wrong. She many a great money saving tip, and her blog is a place for all the issues new parents face.

My favourite post has to be the post that needs no explanation ‘Congratulations you’re having a boy, oh no wait’

The Breaking Dad

A co-parenting Dad who shows that you should follow your heart, as it’ll all work out. The love for his Daughter shines through every post and his blog has many a great inspiring read.

Our favourite has to be ‘Do you believe in yourself?’ in which Dan tells us to be more like Evie, with ‘…no inhibitions. No fear of judgement. No fear of failure’. It’s sound advice.

The Stevenson Life

These two are a fantastic Mummy and Daddy duo with the cutest little man Grayson, and their latest equally adorable furry addition of Bella.

Their blog gives great parenting views from Nursery to great days out, recommends new music in New Tunes Tuesday, whilst also tackling tougher issues, such as sexual harassment and educating our children about white privilege.

There no one post to highlight, check out their blog and give them a follow on the ‘gram.

Categories
Day to day Plastic Reducing plastic

Wood you like to play?

With a planet drowning in plastic the switch to wooden toys may be one thing to help prevent the crisis. With wooden toys becoming reasonably priced, featuring popular characters, readily available and aesthetically pleasing why wouldn’t you?

We knew we wanted to make Munchkin as single use plastic free as possible from before he was born (though, we admit, it took months to be totally plastic free). So we switched his nappies, wipes, removed nappy bags, bought second hand plastic (or promised to re-gift or hand down) and always aim to buy wooden toys. Read about our plastic swaps and promises in the links below.

Admittedly, with toys, its not always this simple. Toddlers are stimulated by lights and sounds, where wooden toys can be more aimed at role play, or mentally challenging tasks like puzzles, shape or colour sorting. Knowing this, we didn’t avoid plastic to allow Munchkin access to these features, but use Facebook marketplace, or when buying new, are happy knowing we will use this for Baby-G 2.0, or sell on or donate in the future.

However there are many a wooden alternative to plastic toys and their prices are decreasing. Just weeks ago, we found a solid wooden alphabet animal shaped puzzle in Wilkinson’s for £5. The big shows are also going plastic free with ‘Hey Dougee’ and ‘Peppa Pig’ getting eco-friendly with their offerings so there’s something for every child.

My only worry now though, is when you take a glance up the older children’s aisles in our toy shop. It seems the older kids get, the more limited the wooden offerings become. Lets hope this changes before Munchkin grows up.

So why not treat your little one this Christmas, and also help save this wonderful planet for their future?

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Daddy's Adventures

A Dive from the Sky

In April 2019 I thought it would be great getting a group from work together to do a skydive. I had a gift voucher from 2011 and just hadn’t found a group of determined individuals to go with (or maybe I was actually procrastinating a little). So I popped the email out and got nine colleagues, past and present to join me, little did any of know then though that it would take until September 2020 to actually jump…

The faint hearted may call us crazy jumping from 10,000 ft, and maybe I would have agreed a little. But now, post-jump I think you are actually maybe crazy for not wanting to give it a go!

Why it took so long? You know, that 17 months it took from booking to actually jumping. Well that’s firstly the struggles of getting 10 people to agree on a date to book, with everyone’s weekend plans. Then add the typical British weather, slap on a vital plane part stuck in customs for weeks and then top it off with a sprinkling of a viral pandemic. It’s mad thinking it actually went ahead, for seven of us at least, still amongst the Covid-19 madness.

We made it on site once before, in November 2019. We jumped into jumpsuits and slipped on our harnesses in preparation. The first group boarded the plane, with us in second position. The plane set off, down the run way, then the fog dropped. We waited until 1:30pm, saw no relief and went home disappointed.

The group before us, on the plane that never flew

Then on Saturday 5th September, a coffee, was a welcome sight as seven of us nervously arrived. The nerves then grew as we got closer to flying, but were then suddenly dashed as wind speeds increased and the plane was grounded, over and over, again and again. We waited it out like before and at around 3:45 pm our names were called across the tannoy. ‘It’s actually happening!’ (though we got this far last time). We got fastened up in harnesses, took one last anxious looking masked covered face photo (see below) and climbed into the plane.

Sky diving is probably the closest you’ll get to another human who’s not from your household during lockdown. It is awfully cosy on those planes.

The door opened and closed throughout the climb, as per the new Covid rules. Then we hit 10,000 ft. The door opened for the final time and the first jumper disappeared outside. Four of my friends later, it was my turn. We shuffled to the door, legs back, fingers in our harnesses, head back and moments later we were speeding down towards the ground.

30 seconds of freefall seemed only like a moment. Then the parachute opened and the full view could be fully absorbed. It was the most mind-blowingly beautiful sight but also topped with the extreme thrill as my instructor asked if I wanted calm or exhilarating (a silly question for me). We spun in circles, dipped and dropped, before we finally drifted to the ground.

It left us all speechless, but elated beyond words. It wasn’t long after we were saying what we should do next…

Munchkin, I’ll take you one day, if you like. Just don’t tell Nanny.

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Categories
Family Parent

Living In the Present

When you start to gain followers, or you are even simply posting or chatting to your friends, its easy to be hooked to our devices. Even before having Munchkin, I’d use my phone as a comfort blanket, allowing me to avoid conversation at ease when I felt uncomfortable.

However, I have recently had the realisation, when I think about Munchkin’s future, that while having a phone may be essential for him one day, we want him to prefer to play a game with us, read a book or get outside.

It is also stark when you have a look at that bit in your settings which monitors your app usage. I’m not going to say a number of hours I saw in mine, but, I can tell you I was shocked. Oh instagram, you are rather addictive.

One thing I realised, it that even if I put put only three to five stories in a day, I’d do them as they happened, then respond to responses instantly. This could take a lot of time, and that was time I was not then spending with Munchkin. It made no difference to take the photos and videos, then post later when I’m not missing the next thing. Particularly, when with a child, that next thing could be their first word, or first steps or any of the thousands of little but exciting developments they gain in their first two years.

Also, notifications don’t expire. You don’t miss something because you didn’t pick up your phone when it just buzzed. The notification will be sitting there later waiting just as it does when it comes through the first time. And 99 percent of the time, that message can wait, as the point of instant messaging is, messaging, not constant conversation-ing.

If you really need help avoiding you device, see if your phone has a built in focus mode, or download an app such as Freedom, or Forest, which let’s a hypothetical forest grow for all period of time you’ve saved. I found my phones focus mode has helped working from home.

So, I guess I’m sort of writing this as my pledge. To be the best Hubby and Daddy I can be all the time and stop Instagram (other social media devils are available) stealing me away from being in the moment.

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Development and discovery Parent's Learning

Montessori Methods at Home

Montessori play is something I’d never heard about before becoming a parent but is something so great for development. What it means to me is giving Munchkin that freedom to choose what to play or do, making those choices accessible, learn through play and learn life skills.

Here’s a quick what to do to set up Montessori style at home and how we’ve done it, some of which by chance.

  1. Designate an accessible place for everything

This comes down to making things easy reach for your child. From toys, to books, to arts and crafts and snacks and drinks.

For us, we have all toys in low drawers and shelves, clothes for nursery days in bottom drawers, books under the TV for little hands to grab, and Munchkin level snack shelves so he can choose when he’s hungry and what to eat (within reason!).

2. Emphasize Life Skills

This swings on how even young children are capable of pitching in around the house in one way or another and by helping, it sets them up to be considerate and capable adults.

With Munchkin, this occurred naturally. Start to clean, he wants a cloth to join in too. Approach the dishwasher, he wants to help empty it. Hang out the washing, he would help ‘sort’ and pass the items to be hung. I always take him to show him jobs like watering the plants. I’m just too scared to give him a watering can indoors just yet!

3 .Teach Concentration

This is one I could question, but when you read, its about identifying your child’s interests and setting things up to keep them concentrating and thoroughly exploring for a period of time.

We know Munchkin loves the outdoors and a good sensory play activity. So we set up some time and some space and try to make the activity evolve to keep his interest and therefore concentration. For example, we set up an ice play activity, then introduced bubbles and coloured water later to evolve the play.

4. Give them their best learning environment


Discover where your child likes to learn and provide that space. Some children prefer solitude where others like the middle of the room. We have two spaces, a playroom and a play space in the lounge. Munchkin chooses where to go to play, and whether or not to ask for our hand to lead us to join him.

5. Focus on Inner Motivation, Not Reward

This Montessori method is about rewarding behaviour and progress with verbal feedback in moderation, over physical rewards such as stickers or sweets.

This is an easy one and one that we do naturally. Say well done, that’s great, we are proud of you and clap with him at big moments.

6. Use Child-Sized Furniture

For this one we have a tuff tray for floor messy play fun and a mutable for Munchkin sized table activities. We use the high chair when baking to bring the mixing and making to floor level.

If you’d like to know more about Mutable, see my review here.

7. Make Their Bedroom Child-Friendly

This echoes some of the previous points by giving them a play space, so if they wake early they can move from bed to play on their own.

Munchkin rarely uses it, but we have always had a third play space in his room ready for when he moves from cot to cot bed.

Future Montessori plans for Munchkin

One idea we’ve had to expand our Montessori offering at home is to create seasonal nature trays and more role play tuff tray activities, such as making a farm or zoo.

Do you have any tips or things you do at home? Let us know in the comments.

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