The Baby Bag Guide

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When it comes to the perfect bag to tote around the numerous items your little one needs there's no one size fits all, or more accurately, one style fits all occasions. As I’ve quickly learnt, this can be said for many things you’ll buy as a parent, but for the purpose of this post I’m focusing on baby bags, because let’s face it, a bag is part of your outfit and so for me these purchases took careful consideration.

We started by investing in two styles, a his and a hers, or a formal and casual option, to best fit our daily needs and work for both me and my husband. Seven months in and I’ve just purchased my third baby bag to accommodate the smaller storage tray of our travel stroller (another additional item), because why should you lose all sense of your personal style just because you’re traveling…I’m all for the functionality of a backpack but it’s just not my everyday style! Just like the two bags featured in this post it’s not specifically designed to be a baby bag and comes from one of my go to sustainable brands Baggu…I’ll keep you posted on how well it serves me.

Here are my thoughts on what to look for and consider in your search for the perfect baby bag for you and your family:

The Handbag

My priority with this option was to still feel like me, you don’t have to lose all sense of your previous style for functionality! The gorgeous Fashionable Alem Utility Bag has allowed me to retain my personal style while also providing all the function necessary of a baby bag. With enough internal pockets to keep everything organised and large enough to fit mine and baby's stuff this bag is my daily go to. The detachable long strap was a must for me so I’d have the option to wear it crossbody and go handsfree, and to easily hang over the handlebar of my stroller...both of which I have never actually done, I guess some features you can’t be sure you’ll need until you’re in it. The external pocket is great and allows easy access to my phone and keys plus the full zip closure ensures the contents in the main compartment remain secure...no matter how tightly they’re packed in! The classic design and better when worn in leather of this everyday tote means it will easily transform and adapt to accommodate whatever is needed of it in the future.

Fashionable creates jobs in communities both locally and globally. They employ women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances and by providing these opportunities have a vision of ending generational poverty. The Alem Utility Bag is handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia and Mexico with 100% distressed genuine leather.

The Backpack

A necessary functional piece, this second baby bag is technically the hubby's although we did want it to be unisex. The main purpose of the baby backpack is to make family outings to the park and travel easy, and the Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe Backpack does it all with style and simplicity. Multiple internal pockets keep everything organised and easy to find and with an entirely removable insert any spills are easily cleaned. It also has an easy access front pocket and necessary side slip pockets for the reusable water bottle and quick access to items like wipes. This bag is our go to for family adventures, the memory foam padded shoulder straps make all day carrying a breeze and a sleeve that attaches the bag to luggage handles makes it perfect for longer trips too. 

Lo & Sons creates thoughtfully designed and highly functional bags that are built to last for years. The exterior of the Hanover Backpack is a 600D high density, water resistant, recycled polyester made from recycled plastic bottles.

The Portable Change Mat

There are so many options out there when it comes to portable change mats but I think I've found the most stylish and functional option of them all! The Storq Kit Bag is cute enough to carry on it's own for quick trips out of the house and covers all of the necessary functions required of a change mat. It's large enough to fit diapers, wipes and a change of clothes, while a smooth zip closure and carry handle make it easy to transport. Plus the most genius design element of all is the exterior magnetic pocket that holds the actual change mat, making one handed use a breeze, which when you're holding a baby in one arm is kind of essential! This bag is durable, machine washable and will last through many a new family member! 

Storq creates thoughtfully designed maternity wear to mix seamlessly with your existing wardrobe. Eco-friendly and natural fibres are used where possible and all products are ethically made locally in the USA and in China.


Good luck with your search and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve found essential features for your baby bag (or bags if you’re like me and have multiple!).

Baby Registry Must Haves For The Sustainable Mum

Becoming a Mum opens you up to a whole new world of products, whether they’re baby, maternity, postpartum or nursing related it can be very overwhelming trying to determine exactly what you’ll need once your bundle of joy arrives. It's also pretty common that a lot of the necessary products aren’t very helpful when it comes to living sustainably and reducing your waste! So for all of you eco Mamas out there I’ve compiled a list of the must have items that will help you start your new adventure with a baby as sustainably as possible.

Modern Cloth Nappies

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This is a big one and the most obvious contributor to that waste factor I mentioned, yes your baby will go through approximately 2,500-3,000 nappies in its first year on earth, wow! Thankfully there are amazing and easy to use solutions out there these days in the form of modern cloth nappies (or MCN’s as I’ve discovered after reading a few too many Mummy blogs!). The initial cost may seem like a large outlay but in the long run you’ll be better off and will also be saving half a wheelie bin of rubbish from ending up in landfill every week according to Pea Pods. Their adjustable sizing system for nappy covers, bamboo inserts and 100% biodegradable bamboo liners mean these nappies will last your baby from newborn right through to toddler all while being sensitive on their delicate skin and much better for the environment.

And if you’re struggling with the idea of reusable nappies there are more environmentally friendly disposable options, like Thank You Nappies that use sustainably sourced wood pulp in their lining and no chemicals. Plus your purchase helps provide maternal and child health care for Mums and Bubs in need.

www.peapods.com.au

Plastic Free Dummies & Teethers

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I imagine babies aren’t the best at keeping track of their stuff, making dummies one item that you could easily go through a lot of! And with so much plastic already out there in the world why would we unnecessarily add more to it, not to mention risk our babies putting hazardous materials in their mouths. Hevea Planet has a simple solution, offering pacifiers and teethers made entirely of natural rubber sourced from rubber trees, which makes them not only safe for your baby but also completely biodegradable. Babies can go through 10-20 pacifiers in a year so to help reduce waste Hevea Planet also runs an upcycling program to bring new life to used products.

www.heveaplanet.com

Reusable Breast Pads  

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If you’re planning on nursing your baby then breast pads are a must, but just like with other feminine hygiene products they can create a lot of waste depending on your flow. Look after the planet and your sensitive and hard working nipples by using washable breast pads like these ones from Breastmates. They’re made from super absorbent bamboo to prevent any embarrassing leaks and provide the most comfort! They can be thrown in the wash, and the dryer if you need them in a hurry, plus according to Breastmates they get better and more absorbent with age. What’s not to love!

www.breastmates.co.nz

Organic Wraps

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Having baby close, especially in the early days, is so important and helps solidify the bond between baby and parent...and with the use of a wrap carrier you’re also giving yourself some much needed hands free time! Hug A Bub offers sling and tie wraps, so you can choose your preferred way to carry baby, all made using 100% certified organic cotton and certified Fair Trade manufacturing. As well as being better for the planet this will ensure maximum breathability for you and your baby, especially during the warmer months. Plus for every wrap purchased Hug A Bub will plant a tree in countries devastated by deforestation.

www.hugabub.com

Organic Skincare

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When it comes to bath time we all want to make sure we’re using the safest products possible on our baby’s delicate skin, so investing in organic skincare is key. This bis made easy with Australian made and owned brand Bubba Organics which offers a full range of products for bath time and changing all made locally from 100% natural ingredients, ensuring your baby care products are free from harmful chemicals and not tested on animals. Bubba Organics focuses on minimising their impact on the earth through all aspects of their business including using locally made eco friendly packaging, and as a new Mum the bottles pump functionality will be a lifesaver when you have your hands full.

www.bubbaorganics.com.au

Organic Cotton Bedding

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Putting your little one down to sleep (which hopefully happens often!) you want to be confident they’re resting peacefully with organic cotton sheets that are free from any harmful chemicals and provide maximum breathability. With the amount of time babies spend in their bassinet or cot, investing in organic sheets is well worth it and Babu has you covered on all fronts with a variety of sizes available. Using 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, bottom sheets are fitted at all four corners and top sheets are fitted at the bottom two corners for maximum safety. You’ll even find organic cotton swaddles and bath towels to ensure baby goes from bath time to bedtime sustainably!   

www.babu.co.nz

Sheepskin Rug

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When it comes to a multi use and long lasting product you can’t go past a sheepskin rug to keep your baby protected and comfortable. Used for generations as the perfect mat for playtime which can also go from your cot to your pram to a simple floor rug or chair throw down the track. Ecowool sheepskin rugs are New Zealand made from happy, healthy sheep that roam free in unpolluted alpine pastures. The natural qualities of Ecowool sheepskin rugs keep baby at the right temperature, absorbing up to 30% of their own weight in moisture without feeling cold or clammy. They’re also tanned to infant use standards and have minimal fibre loss. Tummy time never looked or felt so good!

www.ecowool.com

This article was originally published on The Green Hub

5 Sustainable Brands For Your Baby's Wardrobe

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When it comes to dressing your little one there are so many adorable options to choose from, I mean what isn't cute when it's in a miniature size?! But, as we know, not all clothes are created equal. When you consider how delicate newborn skin is, what you choose to wrap your baby in becomes all that much more important.

Naturally my first stop when I found out I was pregnant was to check out the huge variety of baby clothes out there, and of course make a few purchases. Over the last few months I've discovered some amazing brands that are not only ridiculously cute but also offer ethical and sustainable baby clothes that are reasonably priced. So here are my top 5 brands to get your little eco baby on his or her way to a sustainable wardrobe:


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Nature Baby

Focussing their range on organic cotton and merino wool fabrications Nature Baby ensures it's garments meet babies needs for softness, breathability, warmth and durability while taking care of the world in which they will grow. The brands GOTS certified organic cotton is sourced in India and produced on farms that have become self sustaining while also offering factory workers fair conditions. This is achieved by paying above the minimum wage, providing equality between male and female workers and having zero tolerance for child labour. Merino wool is locally sourced in New Zealand, where Nature Baby was founded, and is ZQ accredited to ensure it comes from happy, healthy sheep.

Feel confident with Nature Baby for your sustainable little ones wardrobe from newborn to 4 years old, plus you'll find a selection of bedding, toys and necessities for Mum. 

www.naturebaby.com


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Purebaby

With a vision dedicated to creating beautiful baby clothing while never compromising on social responsibility, Purebaby's range is created predominantly with GOTS certified organic cotton fabrics that have been dyed with GOTS certified natural dyes. The brand substitutes only natural fibres where organic cotton fabrications are not suitable, ensuring their garments are soft, durable and strong while also allowing young, delicate skin to breathe. Purebaby partners with social organisations, St Kilda Mums and Global Sisters, to give back to the community and also offer Nesting Workshops in their stores to pass on practical tips to soon to be parents. 

Clothe your babes responsibly from newborn to 4 years old, plus Purebaby have you covered with beautiful nursery and gifting options.

www.purebaby.com.au


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Huxbaby  

A minimalist approach is what sets this brand apart. Focusing their range on gender neutral designs in a minimal colour palette, think black, white and grey, combined with graphics that pop, Huxbaby wants parents to buy once and buy well. As well as offering thoughtful designs, Huxbaby primarily uses GOTS certified organic cotton and AZO free dyes to ensure their clothing is of the highest quality, constructed to last and most importantly delicate on your baby's skin. This range of basics that are anything but basic will work hard for you well beyond baby number one and ensure your entire brood is clothed in timeless and sustainable style.

Dress your little minimalists in Huxbaby from 0-3 months through to 5 years old...and all over again as your family continues to grow. 

www.huxbaby.com


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Milk and Masuki

As well as their namesake brand, Milk and Masuki offer a curated selection of the best organic kids products from Australia, New Zealand and around the world, all of which align with the brands ethics and aesthetics. With a commitment to organic cotton from the outset this brand offers creativity and unique designs through their hand painted prints and are proud to be part of an ethical and environmentally friendly supply chain. Designs featuring koalas and kiwis mean you can represent your baby's homeland in a completely adorable way, plus you'll find a beautiful selection of responsible accessories for Mum so you can treat yourself too.

Clothe your kids in creativity from newborn right through to 8 years old with Milk and Masuki's unique range and more from their handpicked selection of local, ethical and sustainable brands.

www.milkandmasuki.com


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aden + anais

Standing firmly behind their preferred fabric choice, this brand has become known for it's signature muslin products which provide softness, breathability and comfort for your little one as well as durability. Beginning with the multi functional swaddle, aden + anais now offer a full range of clothing, sleepwear, blankets, bibs and bedding made out of this natural fibre they believe so much in to keep your baby safe and comfortable. Because of its aforementioned durability muslin is easy to wash and will last for years, plus aden + anais now offer ranges made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and a silky soft muslin which is combined with rayon made from bamboo.  

Wrap your babies in natural comfort with these infamous multi purpose swaddles from aden + anais that will last for years, plus clothing from newborn to 18 months and sleepwear up to age 4.

www.adenandanais.com


This article was originally published on The Green Hub

Shop Your Wardrobe Like A Pro In 5 Simple Steps

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After experiencing a bit of a style rut of late (because let's be honest, below freezing temps combined with a limited portion of your wardrobe fitting you can pretty easily result in feeling uninspired by your clothing options!) I started thinking more about the concept of shopping your wardrobe. While it may seem pretty self explanatory it can also be one of those tasks that's easier said than done. So next time you're feeling the need to add to your wardrobe with some "retail therapy" instead try these 5 simple steps to successfully shop your wardrobe:

1. Set Up Shop

Start by grouping together each garment type and only having out items that fit you and are season appropriate. Imagine it like you're walking into a store where everything is your size and available for you to wear straight away. You don't want to be distracted or disheartened by items you can't currently wear! Dividing your wardrobe into categories like pants, tops, jackets etc. will then make it easier to recognise what you wear the least, what you wear the most and will also be helpful when it comes to putting outfit combinations together. 

2. Highlight Neglected Items

Within each category pull out any items that may have been neglected of late and ask yourself why. The fun part is figuring out how these pieces can be brought back into the rotation of your wardrobe! Does it need to be made more weather appropriate? Maybe some layering with other items will make a piece workable. Is a particular item not making you feel great anymore? You may be able to pair it with an item you love or style it with accessories to make it work for you again. Or are you simply feeling bored with an item and need to hit the refresh button? Then get creative! Have some fun and play around with different ways you can incorporate neglected items back into existing favourite outfit combinations or even create totally new ones with them!

3. Incorporate Loved Items

Rely on your most frequently worn pieces to pull your looks together and help restore your love in those neglected items. You may also want to consider how these pieces can work harder for you...chances are they might be in need of a little revival themselves as their high rotation in your wardrobe could have you feeling little bored. That's where creating new combinations in the previous step comes in, a neglected item may breathe fresh life into a loved piece, and how you can maximise a garments feel good factor by making the most of accessories in the next step...

4. Focus on Accessories

Just like with your clothing it's likely you have your favourites when it comes to your accessory collection too. What's key to keep in mind is that there's nothing like changing up a necklace, wearing those boots that have been at the back of your wardrobe or even adding a bright lipstick to make your outfit feel new and fresh. It's easy to overlook the small details and go for the same tried and trusted accessories but in reality it's these pieces that can make the biggest impact. So focus on how you can make the most of your accessories, all of them, by pulling out those pieces you haven't used in a while and really considering how they can add to an outfit.

5. Reflect On Photos

As well as taking snaps of any new outfit combinations you come up with it can often be useful to look back on photos from 12 months ago and provide yourself with some inspiration through the outfits you wore last year. It's surprising how often all it takes is to be reminded of a look that you loved last season and are yet to wear this year. And you never know, it may even spark an idea of how a piece could be worn differently with this years style in mind.


Most importantly, the next time you're in a style rut and feeling uninspired or like you have nothing to wear, try to remember this...you're the only one that sees your wardrobe everyday! Yes it's easy to get sick of your clothes and even easier to get caught up in the notion of needing new ones, so instead flip these thoughts and reverse them, be proud of your wardrobe and get creative with your style!

Influencer Spotlight: Kira Simpson from The Green Hub

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I'm so excited to introduce The Green Hub, a wonderful website covering all things sustainability and lifestyle, and the inspiring founder and driving force behind it, Kira Simpson! The Green Hub offers a wealth of knowledge and inspiration with articles about sustainable beauty, fashion, travel and more to help you live your best sustainable life. As you may already know I have recently become a style contributor on The Green Hub thanks to connecting with Kira over social media. Kira has been a big inspiration for me on this journey when it comes to looking beyond my wardrobe and creating a more sustainable lifestyle as a whole, so it's an honour to share her story. I'm sure she'll provide inspiration for you just as she has done and continues to do for me. So dive in as Kira discusses her journey so far, how The Green Hub came to be and dishes her best advice on how sustainable living can be achievable for anyone!


What inspired you to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

I studied biology and environmental science at uni. It opened my eyes to some of the major issues facing our planet, but my lifestyle changes didn’t really start until a few years later. Using natural cleaning products was the first change I made, followed by investing in a reusable water bottle and coffee cup. The rest just followed from there.

Why did you decide to start The Green Hub?

While writing an old failed blog, I came across other eco bloggers on social media who wrote about ethical fashion. Here I was being an awesome greenie using my KeepCup and writing about climate change. I was like, what on earth is ethical fashion?! It was a pretty shocking discovery. That was kind of the turning point. Updating my wardrobe and discovering new ethical fashion brands was really the catalyst for starting The Green Hub.

How do you balance living sustainably with an urban lifestyle?

I’m all about convenience so I implement systems which work for me and my lifestyle. I rent so my compost system is easy to use and portable. I have no interest in growing my own food so I buy in season produce locally from farmers markets. I love skincare and makeup but I’m terrible at making my own beauty products, instead I support mostly Australian made natural and organic beauty companies. The balance comes from making sustainable lifestyle choices which work for me, without sacrificing the things I love. 

How have you implemented sustainability into your wardrobe?

I have a few rules I stick to. These are my values and may not work for someone else: 

  • Supply chains are a complicated business and finding a fashion brand who can trace their entire supply chain from seed to garment is rare. In a perfect world, complete transparency would be the norm but until that day comes, I’m satisfied with tier one factories (where the final garment is made) certified as being clean, safe and the workers are paid a fair and living wage. 
  • I (mostly) look for clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton, linen, hemp and vegetable tanned leather. If I can’t find these then I’ll buy from brands using deadstock or recycled fabrics.
  • I buy for durability and longevity. I will always choose ethical and sustainable brands first. But, if I can’t find something, say a pair of shoes I need, then I purchase from the not so ethical brand. There’s no point buying an ethically made piece if it’s just going to fall apart after a few wears and end up in landfill. Which is why I buy leather bags and shoes because most vegan leather is just plastic. 
  • I buy second hand. It’s not always my first choice but a great, cost effective option for when I can’t find what I need new or affordably. 
  • I don’t follow trends and buy clothes which suit my body type and my lifestyle. I live in Queensland where it’s hot most of the year and I also work for myself. I live in loose cotton dresses and have a stupidly large collection of straw bags. I’ll still be wearing these long after Instagram influencers have moved onto the next trend!

What would you say to someone who wants to live more sustainably but is finding it overwhelming?

Start small. Make one new change every week or month and don’t be too hard on yourself when you have setbacks, because you will. Even the most seasoned ‘greenies’ fumble and falter. Also follow blogs, sites and social media accounts of people who have started making the changes you want to make and connect with people on a similar journey. Having a support network helps!


To build your network of support for your sustainable journey let Kira lend a hand and check out The Green Hub website, sign up to the newsletter and follow their social media accounts for ongoing inspiration.