Choosing safe and eco-friendly toys for your children

Play time is important for children to develop skills, to learn how to share and to use their imaginations. One way that young children explore the world is by sucking and chewing on those toys. Unfortunately, many toys have hidden hazards within them. Choosing the right toys that are fun but also safe is an important part of parenting your children.

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Reading Labels

Just grabbing the cutest or most fun looking toy is easy. However, it’s important to take a minute to see what the toy is made of and where it comes from. Look for toxic-free options that are labeled as PVC-free, BPA-free, phthalate-free, and paraben-free.
Although a few years since publication, the blog “Safe Mama” has a helpful cheat sheet to help you choose a company who produce safe toys for children. See HERE.

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Avoid Batteries
Disposable batteries are known to be harmful to the environment and health. Batteries, especially the lithium button ones, can be swallowed or leak, resulting in life-threatening injuries to your child. These batteries are commonly found in musical toys and cards, remote control cars and other gadgets. To be safe, stick with toys that don’t use batteries.

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Re-purpose Crafts
Something you already have on hand may make a perfect toy. Look around your home and see if you have wooden spoons, teflon-free pots and pans, a whisk, empty boxes, fabric scraps, or stainless steel bowls. These items provide hours upon hours of open-ended fun for children of all ages.

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Long Lasting Toys
Look for multipurpose toys that encourage creativity. High-quality toys cost more up front but generally last longer. Your grandchildren may even be able to play with them. Think classics like wooden doll houses or kitchen sets.

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Avoid Plastic Toys

Plastic toys are durable, inexpensive and easy to clean, but they may also contain high levels of lead, phthalates and other harmful chemicals. Seek out toys that are BPA-free and PVC-free. When plastic is the only option, remember that not all plastics are equal, and some are safer than others. look for safer plastics like those labeled  with the number 2 AKA High-density polyethylene (HDPE), number 4 AKA Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or number 5 AKA Polypropylene (PP). You can find these numbers inside the recycling symbol on the product.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 5.25.00 PMGoodbye Mold
Avoid bath toys that have openings, as water can settle into them and grow mold. These toys commonly contain PVC, which is hazardous. Instead, choose organic cotton bath toys that can be washed.

Choose Local
Opt for locally made toys that are eco-friendly. Seek out local artisan shops for safe one-of-a-kind toys. You’ll conserve energy and resources while supporting a small business. Avoid toys made in China, India, and Taiwan and other countries with lax toy regulations.

Buy from Trusted Brands
Consider where and how the toy is made. Focus your dollars on brands that are responsible and transparent about how they select or produce their products. Choose shops that are known for offering fun, unique and safe toys.

556256_406757729368197_1138574861_n11Buying less
Buying fewer toys is much more eco-friendly and wallet-friendly. Fewer toys means less to clean up. Ultimately, your child’s favorite item to play with is you. Time spent with your child is more treasured than any toy.

Go Natural
Look for safe toys made of natural materials like solid woods with a non-toxic finish. For fabric toys, seek out organic materials like cotton and wool. Any finishes should be lead-free, food-grade and non-toxic. These toys boost the imagination, mental health and physical development.

 

The challenge in buying toys for your children is finding products that are safe. When you go green, you can’t be wrong. Your child will have fun and you won’t have to worry about issues that can result from playing with unsafe toys. Continue keeping an eye on your children as they play. Consider other fun activities too, such as crafts and games.

Patricia-Dimick-Headshot

Patricia Dimick is a wife, mom, advocate to her child. She is also a writer, passionate coffee drinker, table tennis player, big fan of nature and DIY jobs.
You can reach her @patricia_dimick.

Moving home, the eco-friendly kind of way

Living in a different country, far away from where you spent your childhood is hard, to say the least. I know this firsthand, as I grew up in Australia and ended up falling in love and marrying a New Yorker. While my husband is very accustomed to New York City life, I admit to finding it challenging at times. Lately it seems more difficult with overwhelming feelings of missing my home, my family, my friends and just wanting to see familiar things. I think this is because my Son is growing so fast, and there is much I wish he could be experiencing living in the beautiful country I call home.

With these thoughts in mind, I started thinking about how one can move in a “greener” kind of way, whether that is a few blocks down the Street, or to the other side of the world?

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Maybe one day this will be our every day reality. My Son at 17 months meeting the locals in Australia.

Moving is one of those life experiences that tend to be stressful, not just for people but for our Planet too. Lowering one’s carbon footprint is not looking so good with endless boxes, rolls and rolls of packing tape and plastic wrap sitting in front of you. Not to mention, what about the fuel to transport all of your worldly possessions to your new location? The waste leftover has a detrimental effect on our environment, and although we all have to move at some point during our lives, there are ways for it to have less of an impact on Mother Nature.

Preparing to Move

Set aside some time to choose your eco-friendly items to help with the move,

  • Moving Boxes, use cardboard boxes which are made from recycled material, or containers made from sustainable sources. If you are looking for recycled and the most affordable moving boxes in Australia check out the Moving Box Co for options.
    Even better if you can pick some discarded boxes up and reuse them from your local supermarket.
    In the United States and Canada, consider a company like LifeBox who offer boxes which contain tree seeds, when you’ve finished moving just put the boxes in the ground, and wait for the area to bloom. Genius!
  • Packing Tape, you may choose to use a tape which does not use hot melt adhesive as the sticky part, and is made from biodegradable and recyclable materials. Generally, hot melt adhesive uses petroleum-based ingredients which are shipped in from the Middle East, according to The Binding Edge, it is also an energy-intensive process.
    Another option is using tape which is made more of plant-based materials.
    A good rule of thumb is to avoid standard plastic tape at all costs as it takes a long time to biodegrade, if at all.
  • Packing Materials, have a look around your home and see what you already have to start. Newspapers, magazines and blankets can all be used to wrap and protect items.
    Otherwise, use green packing peanuts which are made from plant materials and are biodegradable.
    Shredded paper instead of plastic wrap is another way to go “green” with your move. Plastic wrap is also troublesome if it ends up littering our Earth rather than being put in a landfill. Hundreds of thousands of innocent animals die each year, because of plastic being caught on their bodies or suffocating them, at least with paper these creatures have a better chance of surviving.
  • Marker Pens are a necessity when moving, to write the contents of the box on the outside thus no need for additional labels. Choose a brand that is non-toxic like these from the Ultimate Green Store.

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Choosing Transport

If you are moving locally, hire a vehicle that can transport your possessions in as few trips as possible. The more trips that you have to do, the more fuel being burnt. A preferred alternative is finding a vehicle that is a hybrid. Or, use a truck which runs on biofuel, which is fuel made from renewable sources like plant-based oils. If you are moving across country, consider using a train which on average uses 4 times less fuel than a truck over the same distance.

After Your Move

When you have moved to your new home, you are going to be left with a lot of packing materials and possible empty boxes. Rather than just throw these away, try and find another use for them. Cardboard boxes can be used for storage, or give them to children to play with in the garden.

Ideally we are all becoming more environmentally conscious in everything that we do, and with these tips, you can also make your next move a little “greener” than it may have been otherwise.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

A tutorial on Cold Pressed Soap Making

Ever wondered about how to make your own all-natural soap. Personally, I did for years, until I finally taught myself how to make it. Now it is all my family uses. Today, we have fellow Mum and Apothecary, Sarah from Sage Flower Hill guest posting with an overview of how it is done. Sarah is an expert, who makes the most beautiful products in the Napa Valley area of California. Enjoy!

Most store-bought soap, isn’t actually “soap”. Many mass-produced soaps are actually bars of detergent! True soap is the byproduct of fats reacting with an alkali (a substance that has a pH greater than 7… a base). The alkali that modern soap makers use depends on the type of soap that they want to make. Solid bars of soap are made using the alkali sodium hydroxide. Natural liquid soaps, however, are the byproduct of potassium hydroxide with oils or fats. This reaction between oils and alkali is called saponification. The byproduct of this chemical reaction is soap.

SFH #1Preparations
Soap making, like many things in life, is 90% preparation. Before I get anything started, I do a bit of research. I pull out my soap making books and research my oils. Just about any oil can be used in soap, but all impart different qualities in the final soap.  Some oils can be used up to 100% in the recipe while others can only be used successfully up to 5%. Some oils are super skin conditioning but don’t lather well, while others lather well but cause the soap to be soft when used in high percentages. Not all oils are created equal. Books and web sites are great sources of formulation inspiration.

Do your research on ingredients you plan on using in your soap
Once I have the oils figured out, I go online to calculate the exact quantities of oils, water and lye for my batch of soap. There are several great soap maker’s calculators online but my favorite is the Brambleberry one. After I enter all of my oil percentages, the online calculator determines the exact amount of lye and water that should be used in the recipe. Using the quantities of ingredients that the calculator gives me, I can now begin the actual soap making process.

 

Safety First
Soap making can be a dangerous activity so it is necessary to take safety precautions. When making soap, I ALWAYS wear thick rubber gloves, a long sleeve shirt, long pants and safety goggles. If lye splashes on my skin, it will burn. Short of wearing a hockey mask, I cover the majority of my skin while making soap. When I make large batches of soap, I use a respirator when I mix the lye with the water. Other precautions that I take are using utensils and implements dedicated to soap making. I never, ever, ever use implements that would be used in cooking or for lotions/non-lye based products. These safety precautions are not just important but required to keep myself and my other products lye free!

SFH #4Let’s Make Soap
The first thing I prepare is the lye water. I carefully measure the water in a stainless steel container. Next I measure the lye in a separate stainless steel container. Before I mix, I always say this little saying to myself about lye and water: “The snow falls on the water.” If the water is poured on the lye (the water falls on the snow), a lye volcano will erupt on the counter. Once the lye (snow) is added to the water, the mixture must be stirred thoroughly.  The mixture of lye and water heats up very quickly and will need to be put aside in a safe place to cool down.

SFH #5Now, the oils need to be measured and mixed. Some of my favorite oils, such as coconut oil and shea butter, are solid at room temperature. I measure these oils first and then melt them over a double boiler. Liquid oils such as olive oil and rice bran oil go in a separate stainless steel soap making pot. Once all the oils are melted, I mix them in the soap making pot.

SFH #6When the temperatures of both the oils and the lye water are below 120 degrees F, it is time to mix them together. I place my mixer in the oil then pour the lye water down the side of the mixer to decrease air bubbles in the mixture. Now, the oil and lye needs to be mixed in short bursts until it reaches the consistency of thin pudding. This is called trace. I then measure the temperature to make sure it is below 80 degrees so that I can add my essential oils. I prefer to stir my essential oils with a spatula so that the soap doesn’t get too thick

Since I don’t usually add colorants to my soap (sometimes I add clay at this phase of the soap making process), it is time to pour the soap into the mold.  Once poured, I like to take a dowel and run it through the soap to create a pretty little swirl.

SFH #11The Waiting Game
The most difficult of soap making has to be the waiting. Wet soap needs to sit in its mold for a day or two before it can be cut. I cover it with a towel and wait for it to cool. Once a day or two has passed, I remove the soap from its mold and cut it into bars.

This is where patience comes in. The soap needs to sit in a well ventilated area and be turned every few days. The soap will sit this way for up to 6 weeks while the oil saponifies the last of the lye. And then, and only then can this fabulous soap be used in the shower or bath!
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I highly recommend making your own soap. It is so much fun but be warned, this hobby could take over your life!

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

Healthy Vegetable Create-A-Stir {giveaway}

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Della Rice offers 5 different flavors

Today at Willy B Mum, I am creating, step-by-step, a delightfully healthy plant-based “stir”, perfect for lunch or dinner. As a canvas to build on and to have some fun with, I am using one of my favorite Non-GMO Della Rice varieties – Jasmine with Roasted Garlic.

A “stir”, is something that one creates by  combining a protein, some veggies/fruit, and a sauce served on top a bed of Della rice. This is usually created with food you have on-hand in your home. So as long as you have a well stocked kitchen, the possibilities are boundless!

For this particular “stir”, I am using broccoli as the protein. Yes, as far as vegetables go, broccoli is one that packs the most protein. Says the LIVESTRONG.com website “A cup of cooked chopped broccoli provides 5.7 grams of protein — 10 percent of a man’s 56-gram daily protein requirement and 12 percent of that for a woman”.  Additionally, the sesame tahini and bean sauce I made as a dressing is high in protein, not to mention delicious.

The nutty aroma and creamy taste of this rice is something to be believed, likewise my kitchen smelled heavenly while it was boiling in my trusty rice cooker. Personally, I love the smell of cooking rice. I chose the jasmine with roasted garlic Della rice as I feel it really compliments the variety of ingredient’s textures, colors and tastes. Especially with the avocado and the tahini sauce in the mix! However, if you are looking for options, Della Rice also offer 4 additional flavors – ArborioBasmati White Rice, Light Brown Basmati, and Jasmine White Rice.

Before we start, take a minute to check you fridge, check your pantry, check your cupboards to do a tally of what you have available? If you do not have one of the ingredients I used, substitute it for something else. Thus, making it a genuine “stir” by using what you have, rather than heading out to buy something new. Waste not, want not!

Healthy Veggie #CreateAStir

Healthy Veggie #CreateAStir

What You Will Need

  • 1 cup of Della jasmine with roasted garlic rice
  • 1 cup of roasted broccoli
  • 1 large boiled beetroot chopped in quarters
  • 1/2 cup of bean sprouts
  • 1 cup finely sliced kale
  • 6 small radishes cut in half
  • 1/2 an avocado sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sauce of tahini, lemon and black beans

  • SONY DSCIn a blender, drain 1 tin of black beans,
    reserving the liquid
  • Add 2 tablespoons of sesame tahini, a juice of one big lemon, 2 tablespoon of brewers yeast, 2 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 gloves of garlic, salt and pepper to taste
  • Hit Blend until completely smooth, adding the reserved water as needed to make sure that it is a thin sauce. You do not want
    it to be to thick as otherwise it is hard
    to dress the meal with. Add additional water if need be, I added an extra 1/2 a cup to mine

Step By Step

Now let’s get started, cook your Della Rice (as per manufacturer instructions which you can see HERE) to a visual of fluffy perfection, adding it to the center of bowl/plate.

Della Jasmine Rice with Roasted Garlic

Add some roasted broccoli, if you want a quick tutorial on that you can check a former instructional we posted HERE.

Organic Broccoli all the way

Next up, let’s include some boiled beetroot. You can be a superstar and do this yourself, or buy them ready-made at your local supermarket (that’s what I did).

Growing up in Australia, I always ate a ton of beetroot

Chop and add some raw high-in-vitamin-C radishes for a little crunch to this Create-A-Stir.

High in Vitamin C, I love to snack on these raw while on-the-go

Add some sliced all Hail the Kale, which I suggest always buying organic. Little critters also love kale, and as a result farmers have to drown it in pesticides to keep them away. Kale au naturale is better for everybody!

All Hail the Kale

Throw in some tasty bean sprouts. Popular in Asian dishes, and for good reason.

Go Bean Sprouts
“Have an Avvo today” as we say in Australia, yes we are known to shorten everything, and “avvo” is short for Avocado. A Willy B Mum stir is not complete with some of this appetizing fruit, also known as an Alligator Pear.

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And lastly my delightful tahini sauce, dress it all over. The recipe for this sauce makes a bunch so be sure to refrigerate it, to maximize the use-by time. I also love to have it on salads and veggie burgers.

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And, voilà just like that we have a colorful, healthy meal. I must say, it does make it so much easier seeing it manifest one ingredient at a time.

All Della Rice is gluten-free, and is available at ShopRite supermarkets in the North Eastern part of the United States. Or, you can find a stockist in your state by clicking HERE.

GIVEAWAY TIME

Through Friday April the 10th, Della Rice is randomly giving away 50 must-have rice cookers to 50 of their fans. Yep, that may be you! Winning one of these beauties will help incredibly to make your own #CreateAStir. And with 50 of them being given away, the odds are pretty good of winning.

Use the entry form below to enter, and visit the Della Rice Facebook page HERE to starting drumming up ideas as to what you can make once that rice cooker arrives in the mail, yes I am instilling the art of positive thinking here.

Good Luck, and thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

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**Willy B Mum is not responsible for fulfilling sponsored prize obligations; prizes will be shipped directly from the brand.

 

Dear Mum, feel slimmer every day {Leonisa giveaway}

We are so excited to be hosting a fabulous giveaway today, sponsored by Leonisa – makers of high quality, helpful and well made innerwear. This giveaway is especially of interest to new Mothers, as Leonisa make nursing bras, postpartum belly shapers and post pregnancy girdles. However, not limited to, as additionally Leonisa make the most gorgeous bathing suits you have ever seen, as well as lingerie.

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Postpartum panty with adjustable belly wrap

Postpartum Tummy

Ah, the joys of giving birth are many, yes you are holding a beautiful bundle-of-joy in your arms, but let’s face it, you are probably going to have a bit of a bulging tummy too, at least for a while. Completely worth it of course, however even if your “weight” is back to normal, your stretched and weakened abdominal muscles, can leave some Mothers with anxiety as to whether their body is ever going to return to normal.

Thankfully, Leonisa make a range of postpartum pieces, which can boost confidence by making a woman feel supported, tucked in all the right places, and most importantly comfortable.

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Whether this is by wearing one of their lightweight nursing bras (which cleverly comes with a clip-on strap so you keep track of the last breast with which you fed your baby), a postpartum panty with adjustable belly strap, a high-waisted girdle, slimming cincher or one of their various kinds of body shapers. No matter, Leonisa has you covered.

So, what makes this brand fabulous? Well, they have a whole range of features in place, which have secured them as a Mummy favorite all over the World. Try their anti-slip bands built-in, variety of choices with bra straps – halter, strapless, classic, one strap or criss cross, PowerSlim™ technology, seamless items (so another will not be able to tell you are wearing help underneath your clothing) and compression, push up and contour support, to just name a few.

PowerSlim™ is a powerful elastic material that has multi directional reducing strength due to its hexagonal thread pattern. A garment that has PowerSlim™ feels like it fits perfectly to your body with inherent slimming properties that shape, control and support like no other.

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Maternity support panty

We also appreciate Leonisa’s maternity panty by the way, which is suggested for use in the advanced months during pregnancy. This panty helps supports a Mother’s growing belly, aids in back pain and is comfortable enough to sleep in.

Giving Back

As added incentive, by supporting Leonisa, you can be assured that you are behind a company who gives back; since 2005 they have actively been raising awareness by sending educational messages, in regard to the prevention of breast cancer in women.

Did you know that the best time to give yourself a breast exam is 8 days after the first day of your menstrual cycle? Visit HERE to see how to to do this in 4 easy steps.

Leonisa Love

Personally, I love Leonisa, I ordered a retro one piece bathing suit from them last week, for my upcoming family trip to Australia, and it fits so well, not to mention, it is beautiful. My 4-year-old Son actually took a picture of me in it which you can see HERE, telling me I looked “smurftastic”, which put a HUGE smile on my face!

Leonisa, is definitely one of those companies that grows with you, through your journey of before and after becoming a Mother.

GIVEAWAY TIME
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We are giving away, to 2 lucky readers, gift certificates to choose whatever you want from the Leonisa website. The first prize winner will be awarded a $75 gift certificate for any 2 items, and the second prize winner will be awarded a $50 gift certificate for any 1 item.

Perfect timing for a new swimsuit for the upcoming warmer weather. Or, a pair of slimming leggings perhaps? There is much to choose from.

This giveaway starts at 6PM EST on Sunday March the 1st, and ends at 6PM on Tuesday the 10th of March at 6PM EST. It is open to the USA only.

We wish you all the luck in the world on winning this giveaway… it’s a really good one!

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**Willy B Mum is not responsible for fulfilling sponsored prize obligations; prizes will be shipped directly from the brand. If you are a winner you must respond to your notification email within 48 hours or we will choose another winner.

Clean Fifteen and The Dirty Dozen

As a child growing up in Australia, my parents always reminded me to eat my fruits and vegetables, however I never really understood how it important it was until I grew up and began to understand the nutritional value of food. Now that I have my own little bundle-of-joy, together with my husband, we both encourage our Son to have a positive relationship with fruits and vegetables, just like my parents did with me.

However, eating fruits and vegetables in 2015 in the United States, is unfortunately not as straight forward as it seems, and this brings me to the topic at hand, pesticide residue. Once a dirty little secret contained by food companies, these days with the Internet so readily accessible, more and more people are becoming hip to the fact that so much of our food is drowned in pesticides. These chemicals are silent killers that affect both young and old alike. The next time you shop for an apple, hold it and see if it has a waxy feel. That waxy substance you feel is actually pesticide residue and if you were to buy that apple, and not wash it you’d be consuming that waxy residue in your stomach. And, taking it one step further, even if you did wash it, good chance you will not get that residue off the apple, as these chemicals are designed to withstand the natural rain storms.

The Environmental Working Group, fortunately for us, has a list called the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen which highlights fruits and vegetables which have the most and least amount of pesticide residue. It is important to note here, that this list changes every year. This valuable guide help consumers make smarter shopping decisions, like when to buy organic or when you can get away with not buying organic. For example some fruits and vegetables have thicker skins, like pineapple, so the pesticides do not penetrate the inside flesh that we eat… so much.

The handy infographic you see below is a representation of what the EWG promotes, which you can print out to have handy whenever you shop for produce. Or, stay green and go paperless, and save it on your smart phone!

This infographic contains more than just the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen, it also contains information about where to buy organic produce at a cheaper price, and it has information on how to distinguish organically and conventionally grown produce and produce with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).

It’s the wild wild west out there when it comes to food, and in this case knowledge is power. If you have correct information to make educated choices, as parents we can decide what is right to put on the meal table for our families.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

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Winter Awards Giveaway

We are excited to work with Green Scene Mom for another awesome giveaway! Each of these items received a Green Scene Mom Award, celebrating Eco-friendly product design and creative innovation. This fabulous Winter Awards Giveaway is sponsored by the winning brands, and one lucky mom will win them all! Just make sure you enter by last day, Wednesday the 4th of March.

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Enter to Win this Amazing Gift Set, valued at $750!

FunBites Cutter of winner’s choice – $12.99
b.box Essential Travel Bib – $15
BabyHome Side Light Bed Rail – $99
Pure Care Home 4-in-1 Megacare Kit – $39.99
Buttons Diapers 2 packs of Flannel or Velour Wipes – $14
Konfidence Babywarma Swimsuit – $29.99
Wristy Buddy Teething Wristband – $15
Beautiful Earth Baby Box – $59
Pack ‘n Potty – $39.99
Bebe au Lait Organic Nursing Cover – $40
PacaPod Napier Diaper Bag – $170
Pacific Baby Natural Feeding Bowl & Cup – $10.99
MAM Anti-Colic Bottle – $6.99
OTO Ice Cream Truck Playhouse – $59
Yummi Pouch Reusable Food Pouches & Snack Bags – $25
Silikids $40 Assorted Gift Set
Naturalmat Fitted Organic Cotton Percale Crib Sheet – $45
Ava Anderson Baby Powder & Diaper Cream – $25
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Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum, and good-luck to you on the giveaway!

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Post-Partum Blues, and Getting my Body Back

Oh, how being pregnant for the first time changes your life, in more ways than one. Besides the complete upheaval of your life, there is a little voice in the back of your head wondering how you are even going to look after this little defenseless creature? However, a couple of months in you are rocking and rolling in that department, wondering what you were even worried about in the first place. As it is second nature, and as sure as brushing your teeth you soon figure out how to look after a newborn just fine.

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Me in a Diet Pepsi Ad

Personally, my second priority was getting back in shape. We’ve all heard people say things along the lines of “You never get your body back after having a baby”, well I sure have, a million times. And, it really scared me!

I was a high fashion model when I was younger, and my appearance and my level of health has always been very much a priority of mine. Plus, I do want to look attractive to my husband too, and being an older Mother I wanted to have the stamina to keep up with my newly arrived Son.

It took me awhile to figure it all out, I guess I was kind of lazy, or exhausted or I just really was in denial, probably a combination of all above, the first year all seems like a blur to me.

That first year, wow, things changed so quickly. I remember, I started drinking wine regularly again (which I was not doing while pregnant) and no matter how much I exercised I was not losing any weight. Clearly, alcohol is full of sugar! I gained 26 pounds while pregnant, I lost most of it pretty fast after giving birth, however I just could not get rid of that last 10 pounds. That really bothered me. Nothing worse than trying to fit into my favorite jeans and them not fitting, I hated that feeling, which in effect made me depressed, super depressed so I drank more wine and exercised less – vicious wine-o-clock cycle. And, then suddenly, I had put on more weight and I was getting close to my final pregnancy weight again!

I was trying to pretend I looked good in a bikini but I didn’t, here I am in January 2013 at the beach…. this was 2 years after I had my Son, who is four years of age now. I mean, complete denial as secretly I was still wearing pregnancy leggings and those stomach holder-inners like you can find on a website selling  cheap maternity clothes for sale from Bump Baby and Beyond. Yes, I was still wearing some of my maternity clothes and thought I looked good in a bikini; the mind is a funny thing.

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So, what changed??

I had a split-second experience, a year and a half ago, a complete and utter moment of clarity which changed my whole life…. again. I was at the kickboxing gym, I was kind of groggy from drinking wine at dinner the night before, sweating profusely and I caught myself in the mirror. I did not look good, I was bloated, I was struggling physically and I barely recognized the Libby of old; the one that looked after herself and who was happy and strong.

photo 3And, just like that, I decided to stop drinking, to change my diet, to clear my mind and to get my post-pregnancy body back. I knew if I could get a hold of that, I would be in such a better place. I really would be a fit Mum and I would not be kidding myself. There was no turning back on this, and I made it happen.

As I write this, I weigh less than what I did before I had my Son, but not just that I am more toned and I am powerful, I have definition in places I never knew existed. I am fit, I am clear, I am healthy, and I’m very proud of myself, as it was not easy.

Here are some of the things I did to cut unwanted calories and to become healthier;

  • Rid all alcohol from diet; for an Australian this was really really hard for me to do, but I knew it was having a detrimental effect on me so I mustered all the courage I could to change my habit
  • Started following a plant-based diet; following a vegan lifestyle is known to increase one’s life expectancy by up to 7 years compared to meat and dairy consumers, this fact was enough to change my eating habits
  • Started running a lot more and longer distances; running helps you drop overall weight gain on the body and I needed that BIG time
  • Consume minimal processed carbs like bread and pasta; I do enjoy brown rice at times and try to choose healthier pastas like quinoa varieties instead
  • Starting seeing a therapist every week; I can admit that I have a lot of worries in my head being a first-time Mum and committing to therapy has helped me work through them, thus  focusing on the best person I can be
  • Exercise at least 5 days a week, fitting it in wherever I can; for me variety is key I like to ride horses, run, play tennis, do crossfit or kickbox to get my gym fix
  • Walk everywhere I can; thankfully living in New York City I do this daily and what a  wonderful way to get to know this unique city that I live in

And this is how I look now in a bikini… 30 pounds gone from my body as a result of the above!
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In retrospect, what I found on this painful then joyful journey, is that I could get my body back after having a baby and fight through the low esteem I was feeling about myself, not forgetting the sometimes-depression I was also tolerating. That, by putting my mind to it, I could manifest change and make myself feel so much better!

I am a firm believer that Mothers can do it all, we just need to prioritize what it is that we want. For me, that is making time in my daily lifestyle to work on being strong mentally and physically. And, goodness knows, this is not always easy, as Mothers naturally put our children first and forgot about ourselves.

But children need healthy parents more than anything. Health is indeed Wealth.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

Big Green Giveaway

Hold on to your hats, as this is a really really BIG giveaway with so many chances to win! And, yes, we are very excited to be co-hosting this giveaway with other like-minded green-hearted bloggers!
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Living green, healthy and organic is more than the products you buy or the lingo you use. It’s about the day-to-day choices we make. Buying from a company that has our family’s health at the core of their being or choosing to recycle. Simply taking a moment to pick trash off the ground or buying used are small steps that make a huge difference. The #BigGreenGiveaway is one more step. Each of the companies listed here are all living green, healthy and organic and they want to help you as you make those green or greener choices. Continue reading

Margaux and May organic swaddle blanket {giveaway}

Here at Willy B Mum, we are very excited to be working alongside an array of fabulous bloggers across the United States and Canada, to help spread the word about Margaux and May.

Organic muslin blanket 3 copyMargaux and May, are a baby product company who are steering away from the cliché baby animals, blues and pinks you generally see when you think “newborn”. Instead, they are putting Mom first, with more “grown up” designs leaning towards style and sophistication. And, you can see that, with the bold print on the twin-set of the organic swaddle blankets we are giving away to our readers.

These blankets are incredibly soft and generously sized at 120cm x 120 cm/47″ x 47″, which are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) as being made from 100% organic cotton. Not to mention, they are hand-woven by experienced artisans; with a practice dating back to the Bangladesh of Medieval Times.

The swaddles are also vegan, meaning no animal products are used in the making of these blankets, which we love! Organic muslin blanket 7

Likewise, Margaux and May, have our seal of approval on the natural and recycled packaging they use to deliver these luxurious blankets to the world in.

All of these things are a huge plus to a Mother who is doing her best to be green-hearted and save the world, not to mention reduce the amount of toxins a precious little bundle-of-joy is exposed too.

And, we know you also want to try them out for yourself!

Giveaway Time
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We are giving away, to 8 lucky readers, an organic twin swaddle set each retailed at $29.99.

Perfect for the arrival of a beautiful bambino, or as a gift to a friend or family member. Another idea; personally, now that my Son is not in need of a swaddle anymore, I use them on beach holidays as a sarong over my bathers, so maybe you just want to keep it for you!

This giveaway starts at 6PM EST on Sunday February the 15th, and ends at 6PM on Wednesday the 25th of February at 6PM EST. It is open to the USA and Canada only.

However, if outside of these countries you can still purchase the swaddles HERE from Amazon. Confidently, Margaux and May, offer a no questions asked money back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with the product you will receive a full refund.

Good Luck, and thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Willy B Mum is not responsible for fulfilling sponsored prize obligations; prizes will be shipped directly from the brand. If you are a winner you must respond to your notification email within 48 hours or we will choose another winner.