Paxley Sunglasses, especially for our Little Ones

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 11.09.58 PMMy Mum told me that growing up as a child in Australia I did not wear sunglasses, explaining that it was unheard of back then and as far as she knew they were not even available in children’s sizing. That is not the case these days, with Californian-based Paxley providing colorful, affordable and stylish options for the little Apples of Our Eyes!

For at least the last 20 years of my life I have been very much aware of how important it is to wear sunglasses. I, pretty much, wear sunglasses 90% of my time spent outdoors, I am quite fanatical about it. Maybe this is because I have blue eyes? Blue eyes are more sensitive to light than darker eyes, and for me it just really hurts and I am constantly squinting if I do not wear them. Plus, I have always been aware of protecting the delicate skin area around my eyes as much as possible. Yes, I can admit it, I am a little vain and am not a fan of premature wrinkles!

Health and looking stylish has always been important to me when it comes to eye wear, and I am now passing this on to my Little Guy in the hopes that he learns from a young age how important looking after his eyes are.

According to Doctor Michael Jones, who is a renowned pediatric eye specialist practising in Sydney Australia, starting the habit of children wearing sunglasses at a young age can aid in protecting against the most common eye conditions that develop later in life. You can read about this further HERE.

It seems fair enough that children should be wearing sunglasses as soon as possible. However, finding a comfortable pair that your child is willing to wear is a whole other story!

Finally comfortable in his Paxley's cruising around Brooklyn

Finally comfortable in his Paxley’s cruising around Brooklyn

Most recently, I was sent a pair of the light green Pico sunglasses to test out on my little munchkin. I loved the look of them straight-off-the-bat, Miles however was not an immediate fan. I tried putting them on him so many times, and he kept taking them off. It was frustrating! But, I knew if I kept trying he would start to get used to the idea so I kept persevering.

I put them away for a few days, and then I brought them out to try again. After multiple tries it was a no-go again. Oh well, I put them away again, there was always the next day.

Taking a rest on some brownstone steps

Taking a rest on some brownstone steps

And, then… we hit the jackpot! One morning, as Miles and I were getting ready to head out to his karate class, he casually asked me if he could wear his new sunglasses. I was just a bit excited about that, as surely with this icy glarey winter we are experiencing here in New York City, it is just as important to be wearing sunglasses as in the warmer months. Eye damage can develop in all kinds of environments, not just during sunny times.

Miles and I then cruised around Brooklyn taking in the ever-changing street art, and before we both knew it, I realized he had happily been wearing his sunglasses for over an hour! See, I so knew that was going to happen.

Now he loves his Sunglasses and has no problem wearing them at all, mission accomplished! Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward, especially when something is so important to instill.

Taking in the Brooklyn Street Art

Taking in the Brooklyn Street Art

Some of our favorite features;

  • Made without BPA, lead paint, PVC, Latex, Phthalates
  • Hypoallergenic
  • 100% UVA/UVB protection
  • Shatter-resistant lenses
  • Handcrafted in Italy
  • Ergonomically frames with rubber noses
  • Comes with a detachable fastener strap
  •  SafeBend technology that won’t pinch fingers, hair or clothing
  • Certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to be safe for babies and children

Paxley Sunglasses are available is 3 different sizing brackets; 0-18 months, 1-3 years and 3-5 years.  For the 2014 collection there are 4 different styles available, in 13 different colors.

Having a great time

Having a great time

You can buy directly from the Paxley website, and at the moment all styles are retailing for $40, which is very reasonable if you ask me. Shop HERE. Additionally, on top of that, Paxley have graciously offered Willy B Mum readers a 25% off promo code by using code at check out – WillyB

What’s your favorite pair?

Thanks for reading Willy B Mum!

 

Happy Australia Day from Downunder Mate

Today is Australia Day, and besides being my little brother’s birthday, it is a cause for great celebration in my home country of Australia as it is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet into Botany Bay back in 1788. Here in New York, it is usually a day that I feel more homesick than normal, and it makes me wish I was home to share the celebration especially with my 3-year old Son.

Thankfully though and to ease my separation from my home, Willy B Mum now has a contributing writer who is based in Australia. Specifically, from the breathtakingly beautiful Blue Mountain area of New South Wales. If you are not familiar with Australia; Sydney is the main city in the state of New South Wales so you have a better idea, or I could just say – it is on the East Coast side somewhere in the middle! Suzanne Robinson is a mother to five-year old identical twin girls, Lillian and Julia. She blogs at Mummy to Twins.

Happy Australia Day Everybody

Happy Australia Day Everybody

Now over to Suzanne….

——–

Today is Australia Day and we celebrated in usual style, a BBQ with mates. Do you find that the holidays are days where you have the chance to catch up with family or friends? Do you ever wonder why we don’t make more of an effort to see loved ones, rather than wait for a holiday?

The Katoomba Airfield decorated for the Australia Day BBQ.

The Katoomba Airfield, located in the state of New South Wales, decorated for the annual Australia Day BBQ.

Like you am very busy. I have five-year old twin girls, a house, a blog and other things to keep my time occupied, so of course, the days that are public holidays and long weekends are the times that I love the most because it means the long awaited catch up with friends and loved ones.

Lamingtons; a traditional Australian sweet as famous as vegemite

Lamingtons; a traditional Australian sweet as famous as Vegemite

So what is Australia Day all about?

Australia Day is similar to the Fourth of July celebrations in the United States; the holiday and the celebration, in regards to the nation and the coming together of family and friends is very much like what happens here.

Julia waving the Australian Flag

Julia waving the Australian Flag

Is there anything that happens in Australia to celebrate?

The options are endless when it comes to celebrating Australia Day, no matter what you choose to do though, it is usually spending time with family and friends and having a good time.

We go to the famous nearby Katoomba Airfield every year to enjoy the annual Australia Day BBQ. Mostly it is all plane and pilot speak, but every now and then it is broken up by activities that others can join in with as well – learning to fly, maintaining the planes, talking to other pilots, and fixing up the runway. Our group has grown to people who catch up at the BBQ, regardless of interest in planes.

It was lovely to kickback and relax. The kids played and ran around in the open fresh country air. I even managed to have some alone adult time with a good friend and, YES had some uninterrupted conversation! I know priceless.

Lillian the Australian Flag on her hat

Lillian the Australian Flag on her hat

One thing that I took away from today is to try and make more of an effort to connect with friends and family. Why do I need a public holiday or long weekend to do this? I can do it now. I just need to make the time.

My good mate was telling me that she was sorry for not being able to see us more. I told her I understood as she has a job that is shift work so it is hard. However, it did not stop me from trying to stop by to see her, even for short visits to say hello.

I think I will make 2014 the year to connect with more people. I will make more of an effort to visit, touch base and be more present.

James my hubby and myself at the BBQ on Australia Day. It was cold and although summer I needed a jumper.

James my hubby and myself at the BBQ on Australia Day. It was cold and although summer I needed a jumper (Australian for sweater).

What are your thoughts? Do you wish you could connect more with loved ones?

You can follow Mummy to Twins on twitter HERE.

**This posting was written mainly by Mummy to Twins, but I did make some changes here and there to make it a little easier for the average American to understand. Us Australians just speak a language all of our own!

Home Baked Miso Glazed Tofu Cubes

One of Miles Storm’s favorite snacks is our Home Baked Miso Glazed Tofu Cubes. They are very easy and fast to make. We like to make this for him as a snack once a week, as our pediatrician told us that it is not good to give little boys too much tofu. Her reasoning was that it has high level of estrogen and is only recommended in moderation.

You will need – Olive Oil, Miso paste and a package of organic firm tofu. I always use South River Chickpea Miso paste, as it is organic and tastes great. It is a little pricey though but worth it as one jar goes a very long way – you can buy it online here.

The ingredients

The ingredients

What To Do

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Line the baking tin with olive oil – a good amount which covers the bottom of the tray.

2. Drain tofu, place on cutting board and roughly chop into 1 inch cubes.

3. Mix a few teaspoons of miso paste in a few tablespoons of olive oil and blend together.

4. Either paint tofu paste on with a brush, or spoon mixture on to tofu pieces.

5. Put tofu in oven and cook until golden brown. Turn pieces of tofu every 15 minutes. It should take between 45 minutes to an hour to cook.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

6. Perfect for Little hands. Feed your munchkin!

Great for little hands

Great for little hands

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

Little Swappies are Keeping It Green

little-swappies-logo1Living in New York City AKA The Capitol of the World is literally living from one extreme to another – weather wise. One month it is hot, humid with 100+ degree heat. And, the next, we are in the midst of a Polar Vortex. Yes, as I write this, it is freezing cold being closer to MINUS 10 degrees with inches of snow laying on the ground. Never a dull moment around this town I tell you!

For an adult living here, you soon figure out that if you are a real New Yorker you have 2 wardrobes – one for the cold and one for the heat. And here is a fun fact; as a lot of the apartments here in NYC are so small, it is not uncommon for people to have storage units where they keep their clothes & switch out between seasons – true story.

However, this is a completely different scenario for a Little One. Of course, you go through the main 2 seasons (winter and summer), but they grow so fast that there is really no point in keeping anything in storage until the next year. Right? Well, unless you are planning on having more children and  handing-down the clothes BUT that is a whole other story.

So what options do we have as parents, in this situation, living in New York City?

Miles Storm playing among a bunch of his outgrown clothes and toys

Miles Storm playing among a bunch of his outgrown clothes and toys

Little Swappies NYC

This Australia Day AKA Sunday the 26th of January, in New York City the 5th Little Swappies Meet-Up is happening over at the Avenues: The World School in the FlatIron District of Manhattan from 10AM – 12 Noon.

Launched by Lauren Patterson a Mother of 2; Little Swappies is a meet-up where families can unload gently used children and maternity clothing, books and toys and in return take home goods that suit one’s current situation. A good rule of thumb is to give items that you would happily pass on to a friend or family member (or sell on Ebay), without stains, tears or obvious damage.

The cost to attend is $20 for advance tickets which you can buy HERE or $25 at the door. Children are Free to attend. Little Swappies are also offering a premium ticket for $40 which includes a voucher for 2 brand new items of clothing from the Children’s clothing line Frank and Lu. Love that!

So what do you get for the ticket price? Well, let’s start with FREE babysitting from Urbansitter and a free eco-friendly pram cleaning with Clean Bee Baby (both of these things are enough for me). But, there is also going to be singing and dancing with Kids at Work, and our favorite Super Soccer Stars will be in the house to brush the Little Ones up on their David Beckham skills! Additionally, there will be free prizes given out throughout the event and a ton of free family photo opportunities (don’t forget to tag Little Swappies)! Not to mention, you will be reducing clutter in your home, meeting other parents, saving money on items that you need and giving back to the community.

Little Swappies

Photo taken by Sofia Lynn Photography

As a parent I think that the reduce, reuse, and recycle ideology hits home even more because it is clear how the choices that we make today affect the world for our children and future generations — Lauren Patterson.

To take part, attendees must bring along 5 suitable items, falling into the categories of books, toys, children or maternity clothing. The age for this is newborns to 6 years of age. Once on site, event organizers will categorize the items by size and gender to avoid any messy digging. You know, keeping it all neat and tidy. In exchange, you will be given a bag to fill with stuff that your Little One/s can wear or use. Genius right!

As added incentive, all unswapped items are donated to Little Swappies charity partner – Covenant House Mother/Child Crisis Center and Nursery Program. Last year alone Covenant House took in 550 homeless mothers all under the age of 21, providing them with shelter, support and warm meals. With this in mind, you can be assured that everything is given back to somebody in need. Nothing is wasted and everything is going to a good home.

Miles Storm and his closet, how much of that still fits him?

Miles Storm and his closet, how much of that still fits him?

Please share the Little Swappies Love by following them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (for some visual vibes). This way, if you cannot make the meet-up happening on the 26th of January  you will be kept up to date on all future events.

Thanks for reading Willy B Mum, we hope you enjoyed the post. Feel free to also follow our new instagram feed HERE and help us to Keep It Green!

 

Ghabit – Make Green A Habit

Whenever I am pushing my Son in his pram down the Street and we see a disused plastic shopping bag floating in the wind or on the ground, he will say something to me like “Mummy somebody doesn’t care about the Earth, get the bag, quick”. And, I always do. I am constantly picking up bags and putting them in rubbish bins. Today alone I took 2 bags stuck, out of trees to dispose of them properly. Yes, I am that person and now my 3-year-old Son is also aware (because he has seen me pick up so many bags during his young life) and helping the Earth to be a cleaner place by letting me know if there is a bag that I happen to miss!

And, this is why I am encouraged and inspired when I meet like-minded people in the world. It is comforting to know that I am not the only crazy person out there who may be skewed as a little nutty….

1422492_10151944936704871_1181539897_nMost recently, I was sent a package from green inspired – Milesh Jain AKA Dr Ghabit – who is based in Chicago and is doing his part to help the Earth. Well that is an understatement, he actually lives and breathes green. He started his company Ghabit to help guide others to honor our planet and develop greener habits. He promotes the idea that if we all work together we can each leave a greener footprint on the Earth.

Ghaby’s Organic Garden

Milesh wrote a book called “Ghaby’s Organic Garden” which is sustainably printed in the USA on recycled paper using non-toxic inks. Additionally, there is an adorable little green penguin puppet who is handmade from recycled plastic bottles. The story is eco-educational which explains how to plant an organic vegetable garden while highlighting why junk food is not a healthy option. This is told in the ways of songs and catchy rhymes known as “Ghabit Habits”. The illustrations are sunny, bright and a lot of fun. Not to mention, Ghaby the little green penguin puppet is great at tickling and making little ones laugh and laugh!

Ghaby's going to get you

Tickle Time with Ghaby, Miles and I

I believe that it is very important to teach our children at an early age about our natural Earth and what one can do to preserve the beauty and our assets. The more little green heroes we have the better, and with a book like this it will be a lot easier to get that message across.

Ghabit Habit #2 – Let the earthworms go poo-poo to nourish the soil two by two.

Ghaby’s Organic Garden, depending on the option you choose, ranges in price from $9.99 to $29.99 and can be bought HERE.  As added incentive, with every book sold another book is donated to a  school in a low-income community. Love that!

Ghaby's Organic Garden

Ghaby’s Organic Garden and Twisted Caps

Twisted Caps

Not stopping with a book; when Milesh learned that most bottle caps, as well as plastic bottles with caps left on are not recyclable and thus end up in landfills, he came up with another great idea! Why not save the lids by turning them into interchangeable bottle cap jewelry. He is an ideas man!

This works with a standard base known as a “twister” (white cap in bottom photo) and on top of that you attach, by screwing on, a custom designed lid (like the Willy B Mum cap in bottom photo), which is interchangeable with other lids. This is a fun, creative option for organizations to raise money in an eco-friendly way.

You can learn more about the patent-pending Twister HERE

Twisted Caps up close

Loving the Willy B Mum Cap which acts as a wrist bracelet

We love you Milesh AKA Dr Ghabit, please keep up the Good Work!

Please support this cause and Share the Love by connecting with Ghabit through their social media avenues; Twitter, You Tube and Facebook.

Thanks for reading my BLOG, so happy you stopped by, and if you feel like leaving a comment you can do so at the top right of this posting.

Hemp Twine with Glass Bead Curtains

Mohawk

Mohawk Anne DImebag by the curtains

Around 15 years ago, while in my home country of Australia, I was reading an arts and crafts book – Simple Bead & Mosaic – where I saw the most beautiful pictures and instructions on how to make a knitted hemp curtain. The visuals stayed with me for many years, resulting in knitting my hemp twine curtains always on my list of things to do.

Six years ago, I finally was able to get started on that dream. I found a distributor online – Hemp Traders – and ordered around 20 balls of 1MM unwaxed hemp twine, to start. I found that buying online was a lot cheaper than buying twine from a retail store; the difference in pricing is astounding between the two. Buying retail you are looking at least $6 per ball, at Hemp Traders a singular ball is approx $4 but if you buy more than 10 balls the price drops to $2 a ball. BIG difference!

I then went to the arts & craft chain of stores here in the New York; Michaels and was so happy to find that they sold various glass beads in measured containers which you can see HERE. These pictures do not do the beads justice really, but if you decide to do something similar it will be handy for you to know what you are looking for. Plus, you can see in the photos how beautiful the beads look once knitted in! As far as pricing, I think they were around $12 a container which is quite reasonable for the hundreds of beads you get.

Knitted Hemp Twine Curtains
Knitted Hemp Twine Curtain up close; you can see how some beads are heavier than others & hang lower

My Grandmother, who I sure do miss, taught me to knit when I was a little girl. I knitted for years and then I just stopped. Literally, me taking on this project I had not held needles in my hands in over 20 years. I was not sure how this was all going to work out but, I was determined.

I bought the biggest knitting needles I could find. Once comfortable, I fastened a knot on one the needles and cast on from there. I did not follow a pattern at all; I just knitted. I did however have some direction, I knew that I was knitting 2 curtains to fit sliding doors around the 6 foot mark? If I remember I initially cast on around the 150-200 stitch mark. I actually was holding out the length of my knitting along the window constantly through that first cast-on row to try and figure when I should stop and start knitting back the other way.

A very lose cast-on, but it worked out well

A very loose cast-on, but it worked out well

Knitting glass beads in a random color sequence keeps the design interesting. Not to mention, when the sunlight shines through the curtains, a delightful array of sparkle is shown across the room. It is truly magical to see, like little fairies dancing everywhere.

This is a wonderfully easy project which creates beauty reminiscence of old twine knitted fishing nets, just like I imagine is a seaside town like Cape Cod. They have a lovely nautical feel about them. I say it is an easy project because mistakes like loops and dropped stitches work really well because of the rough and tumble of the curtains. Speaking from experience, I actually knitted the wrong way a few times and left it because it looked really cool; gave the curtains more character you could say! Surely, the hardest part will be working out the measurements for the window you want to knit a curtain for.

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Over 6 foot of curtains which I am very proud of

What You Will Need

  • Balls of 1MM unwaxed hemp twine which you can buy HERE
  • Assorted colored glass beads with circular hole in the center
  • Pair of Metric Size 11 knitting needles
  • Large Eyed embroidery needle
  • Curtain Rod

What To Do

  • Pull the yarn from the ball and thread it up with 100 glass beads to start
  • Loosely cast on stitches
  • Work the first 2 rows in knit pattern
  • Third row; knit in a glass bead every 5th stitch
  • Repeat this pattern until desired length of curtain is reached, adding more balls of twine and beads as needed. Just keep on knitting
  • Once you are around 4 inches from the assumed finished length, you will have to hang the curtain up for at least 48 hours to let it stretch, which will be caused mainly by the weight of the beads. I did this by oh so very carefully slipping my curtain off the needle and gently onto the curtain rod
  • Once the 48 hours is over, adjust the length of the curtain by adding more rows or taking rows off
  • To finish up; sew with the embroidery needle and some twine a running stitch across the length of the piece
  • Knit 3 more rows and then cast off
  • Fold the top edge and sew securely where the running stitch is making a loop which the curtain rod can slide through
  • Slide onto curtain rod and hang up

**Aim for tension of : 5 stitches = 2in/5cm; 10 rows = 2in/5cm

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Hi Miles Storm, Hi Mohawk

So I know you are wondering just how long the curtains took me to knit? I am going to estimate at least 200 hours over 2 years. Yeah, I know, it was a HUGE project. I used thousands of glass beads and at least 50 balls of twine. Keep in mind I knitted 2 very large curtains, well actually 4 curtains as there are 2 smaller ones on either side of the big ones.

Thanks for reading my Blog Lovelies and please let me know if you have any questions. I would love if you subscribed to Willy B Mum on the top right hand of the screen, this way you will receive new postings via email in the future.

Happy Knitting!

Sweet Orange Homemade Whipped Body Butter

photo

Ever since I was a little girl, I have had great curiosity of learning about the plants around me and the medicinal qualities they have. Whether that was collecting eucalyptus leaves and mixing them with rose petals to make potpourri, using herbs to steam my face, or making my own scrubs from sand taken from some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. It is something that has always been fascinating to me.

Making Body Butter is incredibly easy and something I have made a lot of lately. I buy all of my ingredients online from Essential Wholesale and Labs who are based in Portland, Oregon. However, if you plan on making a small batch these ingredients can be found at a health food store.

Why Make Your Own

There are so many reasons why making your own beauty products is preferable over buying the chemical laden varieties that saturate the market;

  • Quality — I enjoy making body moisturizer from scratch and being able to control exactly what goes into it. I avoid ingredients like synthetic preservatives and chemicals, and only use products that also have medicinal properties, everything I make is food-based
  • Morally — I know that my body butter is not tested on animals and is cruelty free and this makes me feel really good
  • Tailor Made — My body butter is dependent on what ingredients I have available in my kitchen on any given day. For example, some days I may use avocado oil instead of apricot oil
  • Gifts — Quality homemade beauty products are the perfect presents to give, you can also cater it to a person’s need. For example, maybe you have a friend who loves the citrus smell of oranges, well then, this recipe is going to be a hit
  • Price — Although some ingredients can be expensive when making your own products, for the most part I think it is overall cheaper than buying big name products that just are not good for your skin
  • Purity — All of the ingredients I use have medicinal properties. At this stage, I would prefer to put a Use-By-Date on my body butters then add a dodgy preservative into the mix to keep it good for an abnormal amount of time
  • Activity — This is a great activity for Little Ones, just like cooking, my 3-year-old loves to help me make beauty products in the kitchen. See last photo for proof in the pudding on that one!

Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter look very similar in their raw form

Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter look very similar in their raw form

Sweet Orange Body Butter Recipe

I love love love this Body Butter recipe, it is quickly absorbed and makes my skin feel and smell wonderful. It is a bit on the oily side initially but isn’t that the perfect consistency for a body butter? If you want to make it not-so-oily you could add cornstarch or arrowroot to calm that down a bit.

Ingredients You Will Need to make 8 ounces of Body Butter

Equipment You Will Need

  • A food scale
  • Double boiler
  • 2 Metal bowls (one bigger and one smaller)
  • Metal Spatula
  • Jars to put your body butter in for storage
  • Handheld blender

What To Do

  • Melt both the Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter together in double boiler, making sure that it is mixed well
  • Place the bigger bowl filled halfway with water in the freezer
  • In the separate smaller bowl weigh out the apricot oil and set aside
  • Pour melted Shea and Cocoa butters into the smaller bowl with the apricot oil, mixing well
  • Place this bowl in the bigger bowl in freezer for around 15 minutes, you will notice that the mixture will become cloudy on top
  • Remove from freezer
  • Add Vitamin E and fragrance and whip until mixture turns fluffy, I like to whip mine for at least 30 minutes
  • Using a spatula, place body butter in jars for home use, or label and give as the best gifts ever

This mixture should keep for at least 12 months, probably longer. However, I feel like it is going to get used way within a year! It is just too good to sit in a jar looking pretty!

Measuring out the cocoa butter

Measuring out the cocoa butter

Medicinal Qualities of Ingredients

I could spend literally hours writing the next part but instead I am just going to give you a few of the top benefits of using the ingredients on your skin. Let’s go!

  • Shea Butter — Is created from the fat of African Shea tree. Besides being a wonderful moisturizer for the skin, it is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E. It is an anti-inflammatory and is helpful for skin blemishes, sunburn, frostbite and helps diminish wrinkles.
  • Cocoa Butter — Is a natural fat derived from the cacao bean (think chocolate). Another wonderful moisturizer, it is also the Number 1 ingredient in stretch mark products. Things like rapid weight gain or weight loss cause the skin’s collagen to stretch and form scar tissue. Some Mothers may experience this around the tummy area when pregnant. The Vitamin E in cocoa butter aids in elasticacy the skin and minimizes the formation and manifestation of scar tissue
  • Apricot Kernel Oil — Is extremely nourishing to the skin and is high in Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Apricot Oil is an anti-inflammatory which can be beneficial with skin issues like eczema, for example. It also slows the sign of aging
  • Vitamin E Oil — Is a great healer and a strong antioxidant that aids in the prevention of premature aging – love that! It does this, by blocking free radical damage, boosting collagen production, supporting new skin cell growth and speeding up cell regeneration
  • Sweet Orange Essential Oil — Smells great, and is also an anti-inflammatory and a natural anti-depressant

Miles Storm helping me to whip up the Body Butter

Miles Storm helping me to whip up the Body Butter

Thanks for reading my BLOG lovelies! Feel free to leave a comment, and Follow Willy B Mum on our new Instagram page HERE!

Top 5 Eco Inspired Gifts under $30

Happy Holidays Everybody!

Okay, so who can’t believe it is that time of year again? It is unbelievable to me that Christmas and the Holiday period is once again upon us – 2013 just flew by!!

I don’t know about you, but every year I always leave the gift shopping to the last-minute. I do not mean too, I always have great ambitions to be one of those Mother’s who does all of their Christmas Shopping in the middle of the year, but alas it never happens!

I created this list of 5 eco-friendly gifts from companies that I love. All 5 of these products have the Willy B Mum Seal of Approval, so you can rest assured you are buying from a brand that is dedicated to making the Planet a better place in one way or another. I have much respect for all the people behind each of – Ghabit, Apple and Bee, Miyim, Aden and Anais and Jack and Jill Kids.

And, did I mention these gifts are all under $30!

Let’s get shopping Mummies.

Willy B Mum

Willy B Mum Top 5 Eco Gift Choices Under $30

From Left to Right and Top and Bottom;

Ghaby’s Organic Garden
Ghabit is a Chicago based company who are busy encouraging adoption of green habits & a healthy life style in children at an early age.
Ghaby’s Organic Garden is a book made from recycled paper which comes with a puppet made from recycled water bottle lids – love that. Additionally, with every book sold a book is given to a school in a low-income community.
A soft cover version retails for $24.99 and can be bought HERE

Blue Parachute Library Bag
One of my all time favorite bag companies at the moment is Australian owned Apple and Bee.
Their 12.20 by 14.7 inch library bag, was a special request from parents around the world, which Apple and Bee complied too. AMAZING – talk about listening to customer feedback.
If parachutes are not your thing, no worries, the library bag also comes in other, just as beautiful designs like Pink Owl.
It retails for $30 and can be bought HERE

Miyim
Brooklyn Based toy company Miyim offers chemical free eco-friendly baby products.
My Natural Good Earth Girl Mermaid is a beautiful plush toy made of natural cotton and recycled fiber filling. On top of that, she is packaged in a reusable recyclable gift box.
The mermaid retails for around the $26 mark but I found HERE on Diapers.com for only $20.99.

Aden and Anais
Another Australian influenced company which I love; Aden and Anais make baby blankets and natural products.
The Starstruck Swaddle is made from organic cotton muslin and is perfect for a newborn baby. However, the swaddle has many uses. Now that my Son has grown from a baby, I use ours as a sarong during the summer months when I am at the beach or pool – genius. As this swaddle is breathable and helps with overheating it is perfect for both of these things.
This swaddle retails for $26 and can be bought HERE

Jack and Jill Kids
Jack and Jill Kids is a tooth care company who are helping to make sure all the young mouths out there are healthy. They do this by making products that do not contain inadvisable chemicals and toxins, like 99% of similar brands.
Jack and Jill have a Non-GMO corn starch biodegradable toothbrush, which to a Green Mummy like me, is amazing!
The toothbrush retails for $4.99 and can be bought HERE

Thanks for reading my BLOG, I hope you enjoy my choices for the top 5 eco-friendly gifts for children under $30.

Willy B Mum Loves the Aussie inspired aden + anais®

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When I was pregnant with my now 3-year-old Son, like most first-time Moms, I had no idea what to expect, how I was going to cope, what to do or how being a parent was forever going to change my life. You know, you prepare as much as you can reading books and talking to other people; but you just do not get it entirely, until you have a bundle of joy cradled in your arms looking up at you like you are the Bees Knees.

aden + anais® swaddles and bibs were something that I had researched when I was pregnant. I had to set up a registry for my Baby Shower, and I fell in love with their organic products right off the bat. It was very important to me that my Little Munchkin had everything he needed with minimal toxins contained within them; his mattress, bedding, clothing, bibs, blankets, food and toys were all on my radar. Little did I know then, that aden + anais® was started by a fellow Australian. I actually did not figure this out until I started researching this article. I know shameful, what kind of Aussie Mum am I? No matter, now I just love aden + anais® ever more!

All perfect as gifts for the upcoming holidays; dream blanket, the mum and bub line and my favorite jungle jam giraffe swaddle. I still use the swaddle alternatively as a sarong over my bathers in the warmer weather.

All perfect as gifts for the upcoming holidays; dream blanket, the mum and bub skin care line (including fabric softener) and my favorite jungle jam giraffe swaddle. I still use the swaddle alternatively as a sarong over my bathers in the warmer weather.

aden + anais® was started by an Australian Mother, Raegan Moya-Jones back in 2006. Raegan, at the time being pregnant, could not find anything that she thought to be adequate in the way of swaddles here in the United States, so she created her own oversized version using the much-loved Aussie favorite cotton muslin.

Fast forward to now, and aden + anais® beautifully stylish products are available in 60 different countries around the World. Amazing.

Raegan, indeed is a Super-Mum; she is also Author of the art of swaddling book Swaddle Love. And, she established the aden + anais swaddle love foundation, which aims to end touch deprivation in orphaned babies across the world.

LOVE her!

The award-winning collection includes a full range of multi-purpose swaddles, burpy bibs®, dream blankets™ security blankets, sleeping bags, nursery bedding, bath & body products, and an electronic feeding and sleep system—the serenity star®.

Miles Storm

Miles Storm looking dreamy

Last week I was sent a Bamboo Dream Blanket in Azure Beads and Solid Aqua as a gift, and I know you are wondering what is the first thing we did with the blanket? Well I am glad you asked; Miles Storm and I jumped up and down on the bed like it was a trampoline, pretended the dream blanket was a cubby-house hiding underneath; and we laughed and laughed and laughed. Indeed, it was a lot of fun!

In all seriousness though, the dream blanket is beautiful. It is luxuriously soft being four-layers of rayon from bamboo fiber muslin. Muslin is hailed as reducing the chance of a baby overheating while providing comfort and warmth. The blanket is lightweight, snuggly and with every wash becomes softer, yes it just keeps getting better and better. I also like that it is generous in the sizing at 47” x 47” (120cm x 120cm) and perfect for a baby or a little boy like Miles Storm. It is a high quality blanket, that is interchangeable and can grow with your baby > child. Use it for tummy time, to cover your pram while your little one is sleeping, story time and cuddles, or straight out of the shower as a big towel (like we did).

aden + anais® also offer an organic variety, which costs a little more at around $70, but to me, definitely worth the extra cost. The non-organic dream blanket is around $60. Check out my favorite starstruck organic dream blanket; such a pretty design.

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Snuggles and Story time; Miles Storm in the Dream Blanket and me in his first swaddle blanket ever! Sigh, where did the last 3 years go.

aden + anais® now have a whole catalogue of different products, including their Mum and Bub skin line, which includes the Ultra Gentle Lotion and Soothing Ointment which is shown in the picture above. The skin care is made in the USA, and was developed under the guidance of top NYC dermatologist – Ellen Gendler. You can be assured if you use any of the skin care range on yourself or your little one, you are in safe hands. Trust me if I am happy to use it, then you can feel safe using it too. Everything is free of the nasties that most of the bigger companies include in their products like – phytoestrogen, parabens, added hormone disrupters, petroleum oils, phthalates, dioxanes from sulfates, gluten and soy, petrochemicals, DEA and artificial colors.

aden + anais® even have a naturally derived Australian Sandalwood scented fabric softener to wash all your muslin and bamboo in, which is so thoughtful!

**As a note, just in case you do not know; the word Bub is Australian for Baby. We also use the word Bubby or Bubs.

Thanks for reading my BLOG Lovelies!
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Natural Beauty Products; make your own

Aloe Vera and Chamomile

Aloe Vera and Chamomile; both plants were grown in my garden which can be used for home-made products

The holidays are fast approaching, too fast if you ask me, it seems like yesterday it was the beginning of Spring and I was pottering around in the soil getting my garden ready.

I am not sure about you, but for me, the holidays bring a lot of angst, as I just never seem to organize my loved and appreciated ones gifts in time. It is always a last-minute rush to get everything in order by Christmas Eve; when Father Christmas comes down the Chimney!

One way around this is to make your own presents; I feel like something homemade is more sincere than buying something, as so much love and appreciation has gone into the final product. I really enjoy making my own products, even if I am quite the novice.

So how do I know what to do? Well I am glad you asked.

A year or so ago, I participated in one of Back Porch Soap Company founder, Marla Bosworth, workshops here in New York City titled Balms, Salves, Butters and Scrubs  which are held at Little Shop of Crafts throughout the year on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I found her class to be extremely helpful. Marla is a wonderful teacher who knows her stuff. She is patient, knowledgable and has a really cool vibe to her (bonus). I highly recommend taking a class of hers if you can, you will definitely walk away with a spring in your step.

I also read a lot of books; in particular A Green Guide to Natural Beauty by UK-based Karen Gilbert. The book has the most gorgeous photos and offers natural alternatives of like-commercial-products which have too much packaging, too much perfume and are too expensive for what they are. Can we just take it back to basics now already please!

Another book in my library is Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles. She offers 175 recipes on how to make your own organic shampoos, moisturizer, balms, cellulite soaks, scrubs and toners. Yes, I just said cellulite soaks!

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2 Books for inspiration – A Green Guide to Natural Beauty and Organic Body Care Recipes

Have you ever stopped to wonder how many chemicals are contained in the products you put on your body?

There has been a huge focus on the downside of eating many foods of late, and I believe people are becoming more conscious of what we put into our bodies. But, what about the products we put on our body, which soak through our skin and into our cells. If you think about it, our body is still consuming it, just in a different way. This equals = just as dangerous. By making your own products you can control what goes into your cauldron ie no pesticide-sprayed or GMO ingredients.

Chamomile has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb

Dried Chamomile Flowers (from my garden) has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb

With a little research and patience, creating your own beauty products can be an easy-peasy way to fulfill your creative needs, save some money or make some money, and put a BIG SMILE on a friend’s face.

Upcoming on the BLOG will be a tutorial on how to make a Whipped Body Butter recipe, just as soon as I get it right.

What about you; do you make your own beauty products. If so, do you feel like sharing your experiences?
Peace Love and Plants RULE the WORLD. Thanks for reading my blog.