I know its technically not Christmas anymore, but I'm allowed to be late now, I have an 8 month old! Its due to this darling angelic 8 month old that we had to erect a Christmas tree guard this year. Before we get to that, here is a few pics of the new fireplace at Christmas:
We made the guard using MDF and hinges:
I covered the MDF in glittery christmas paper :-D
And here it is:
What do you do to keep your toddlers from the tree?
We have had to adapt and change so many aspects of the house since having a baby, and the latest is the fireplace. We used to have a large mantelpiece with a gas fire placed in front of it:
The tiles on the floor were so dangerous for Miri, and she kept grabbing the grill of the gas fire and pulling herself up to standing. I spent all day pulling her away or placing cushions and pillows over the fireplace to cover it. It had to go!
Here are a few pics of the work in progress:
The floor piece is padded and covered in oilcloth, much safer for Miri and can be wiped clean! The fireplace is painted with magnetic chalk board paint so when Miri is old enough she can draw and write on it. So much more child friendly, and pretty!
I had already up-cycled the fireplace sometime last year, so there are actually three before and after pics:
Whilst on holiday in Cornwall this year my mum suffered from a stiff neck and severe headache, which she often gets. At the time I said to her "you need a heat pack!" Which reminded me that during my pregnancy I had planned to make my own aromatherapy heat pack to use on my lower back and I've finally got round to it today! I don't need it anymore, so it's a lil' gift for my mummy. I used my sewing machine to create a simple long rectangle bag. I filled the bag with rice that had been soaked in lavender. Everyone knows the relaxing benefits of lavender so I won't go into that now! I also added freshly dried lavender from my garden. So not only is the heat pack a chemical free pain relief and muscle relaxant, it also has aromatherapy benefits.
Here's Hubby testing it out, he said that the lavender kept his calm whilst working from home this afternoon. ;-)
If you or anyone you know is suffering with stress, pain in the body or is pregnant, I can highly recommend an aromatherapy heat pack. I would be happy to make more - xmas is coming up!
There’s nothing better than lighting a scented candle in
your freshly cleaned home, next to your bubble bath or to pop in the middle of
the table on date night! But a couple of months ago the vet warned my sister that
her scented candles were having a detrimental effect on her cat’s lung health. Being
pregnant at the time, I wondered if they could also cause harm to a baby’s
The short answer is yes, in fact they can cause harm to
adult’s lungs as well!
Here’s the long answer: Scented candles give off VOCs –
Volatile Organic Compounds. If you’ve ever researched into and bought ‘baby/child-friendly’
paint, you would have looked for paint which is VOC free. That’s because
breathing in VOC’s can cause a number of health problems, such as headaches and
dizziness (short exposure) or cancer and kidney damage (long exposure). For
more info on VOC’s click here.
Most scented candles are made with paraffin wax, including the
very popular Yankee Candle (although they do state that they use refined
paraffin). Paraffin is an oil by-product and can give off the same types of
emissions found in diesel fuel fumes! Diesel – something I never would have
related to my lovely smelling candle!
Candle wicks may also cause harmful air pollution in your
home. Some candle wicks contain lead.“A candle with a lead-core wick releases five times
the amount of lead considered hazardous for children and exceeds EPA pollution
standards for outdoor air, says the CPSC, which is why they banned lead wicks
in 2003. Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone
disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and numerous health
I could go on and on with all the
research I found surrounding the safety of scented candles, but this was enough
to persuade me not to use them anymore. If you do want to read more, look here.
You may have seen on my Instagram that I
have been experimenting with making my own chemical free scented candles. I
decided to use soy wax in my candles. Soy Wax is non-toxic, releasing no known carcinogens
(substances capable of causing cancer) into the air. I also chose a wick made of cotton, ensuring that
it didn’t contain any lead. To scent my candle I used a lavender essential oil.
To try and give you a full and honest
picture, I did find one piece of research that found small amounts of VOC’s are
released when essential oils are burned, but certainly not the same amount as
paraffin candles. See more about this here.
I have found that the only completely toxic free candle is a bee's wax candle. However, I think essential oil soy candles are a safer scented candle than shop bought paraffin candles.
DIY scented candles:
1.Super glue your votive wick to your candle container. Depending on the circumference/width of your container, you may need to use more than one wick, evenly spreading them. If not, the wick will not melt all of the wax. See pics below:
2. Melt your wax flakes in a glass container over boiling water. I used double the amount of wax flakes that the container holds was enough.
3. Add essential oils to the melted wax and stir well.
4.Pour the wax into your candle container and leave to set over night. I used lolly pop sticks to hold my candle wicks in place.
5. Light your candles!
Using three wicks instead on one worked much better with my glass container. I will judge the amount of wicks I use each time, and I will also give bee's wax a go in the future.
I will be handing my natural scented candles out to friends and family over the coming week and will ask them to write reviews, which I will collate in a blog next week.
Having a baby completely changes your view of the world.
Keeping your baby safe, healthy and happy becomes the most important thing. In
light of this, since having my baby I have endeavoured to keep my house tidy
and clean at all times, using polish, surface sprays, anti-bac wipes, bleach,
etc. My step-daughter was sick a couple of weeks ago and I went mad
‘anti-bacing’ every surface and door handle in the house! When I clean the
house, I take the baby out of the room I’m cleaning, or if Hubby’s about, I get
him to take the baby out. I can’t bear the thought of her breathing in the
polish spray or the toilet gel. After a while I began to wonder why I was happy
to spray these chemicals all over my house if I wasn’t happy to use them in
front of the baby. Also, even after washing my hands with soap they would still
smell of the cleaning products. Obviously I am then touching baby.
Because of this I began to research ‘baby-friendly’ cleaning
products. The products I found were produced by reputable baby brands, such as
Milton and Ecover, however a quick scan of the ingredient list shows a whole
host of chemicals.
Many household cleaners, such as toilet gel and oven
cleaner, contain corrosive chemicals: Chlorine bleach and Ammonia, which have
high acute toxicity, produce fumes which are extremely irritating to our
throats and lungs and advice suggests these should not be used around people
with asthma or lung problems. Personally I would take this a step further and
question why we use them around anybody! To make matters worse, when Chlorine
bleach and Ammonia are mixed together they produce a highly toxic gas called
Chloramine Gas. Chloramine Gas exposure can lead to pulmonary irritation and
pneumonitis. You can see why I don’t want to use these products around my
precious new born, or around the rest of my family!
So began my research into natural homemade cleaners. Although
many of the recipes varied, they all use the same basic ingredients: White
Vinegar, Water, Bicarbonate of Soda and Lemon or other essential oils.
I decided to make my household cleaner using white vinegar,
water and the juice of half a lemon. Here’s why:
·White Vinegar contains acetic acid. Acetic acid
is an organic compound produced through the fermentations of sugars and is the
reason vinegar cleans so well. White Vinegar prevents mould, mildew, and some
bacteria’s (for example, salmonella) from growing.
·Lemon juice has antibacterial and antiseptic
qualities. As they are highly acidic, the juice cuts through grease and neutralises
I bought the bottles from the pound shop, although washed up
empty bottles would be fine as well. I filled the bottle with water and then
poured it into a measuring jug. It showed that the bottle would hold a pint of
liquid. I used the same amount of water and white vinegar – just under half a
pint. This left enough room to squeeze half a lemon’s juice into the bottle.
Give the bottle a good shake and your good to go!
I have used my spray in the kitchen as a surface cleaner.
I’ve also used it in the living room and dining room as a polish replacement
with a microfiber cloth. I have also used it in the bathroom as a sink and bath
cleaner. It worked perfectly in all places. The spray has a light vinegar and
lemon smell as your using it, but the smell dissipates almost immediately – My
house does not smell like fish and chips if that’s what you’re wondering! I was
happy to use it with the baby in the room, and my hands don’t smell after using
Cleaning our homes with chemicals is the norm, something we
don’t think twice about. But when the question does pop into your mind it opens
the floodgates to a whole host of other issues . . . what can I replace the
toilet gel with? What is in baby soap and body cleaning products? What is in
baby wipes? I will be investigating these issues and others, and putting some
homemade alternatives to the test in the upcoming months.
If you’d like to use a homemade cleaning spray but don’t
want to make your own, I’d be happy to help :-)
Let me know what you think of the issues raised?
Did having a baby change the way you did any of life’s basic tasks? Have you
used any homemade cleaning products?
No need to buy a Nursery Furniture Set for upwards of £100. The cot is finished, and now for some storage and a changing station. The old set of drawers that have been in the garage for a year will work fine! Had a slight problem with the paint job - the original surface was highly waxed so spray paint was the only option. This still didn't work perfectly, but I'm still happy with the overall results!
I added stickers from the same set as I used in the cot.
I hung some pockets from the side of the unit to store bits for changing baby (Not sure what yet!)
So pleased with how the babies room is going so far!
Some of you may have seen the teaser I put on my Facebook page last week. In case you didn't here it is:
What are we making now?
We were making some storage for the bathroom. With a baby comes lots of . . . stuff!! We only had one small wall cupboard in the bathroom. Here is the space above the toilet before:
And here it is now:
I had to have some help from Hubby to saw the bottom part of the shelving unit. I white washed it in quite a shabby chic way - you can still see parts of the original wood coming through. I also cut up a old table cloth and created some curtains for the front of the unit.
Starting to fill it with baby bits already!!
I'm really pleased with how it turned out, what do you think?