A simple guide to reusable nappies

A few years ago, back when I was single, I rented a house in Richmond with a girlfriend and convinced her that if we put a door on the formal lounge room we could get a 3rd housemate in to reduce our rent.

As fate would have it a gorgeous vivacious girl named Meredith came to rent that room.

Back then I wasn’t that eco-aware, beyond doing my bit to recycle and turn the lights off, but Mez always had the big Sukin bottles in the shower, and was always a little bit earthy.

Fast forward a decade and it was Mez who I turned to when trying to navigate the possibility of cloth nappies. Here’s the advice that she gave me after years of trial and error:

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Slow living

Downsizing to a smaller place for a bigger life

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy – Graeme Hill, LifeEdited

Six months ago we started living closer to our values by moving from a big house in the suburbs to a narrow 75 square metre workers cottage just a few streets back from the beach that shared a wall with our neighbours on both sides.

Our families thought we were mad to downsize just as we were expecting the pitter patter of more little feet, but the way we saw it we were gaining so much with a more walkable bayside suburb, a tighter community and a smaller cost of living and environmental foot print.

In a lot of ways the move had been inspired by Canadian environmentalist Graeme Hill who I had been following for years, and today our lives are completely different… all the better for knowing Graeme.

We walk and cycle more often, we’re tighter with our neighbours – given that their front door is literally 5 metres away from ours, and Ol can now scoot with reckless abandon as there are few driveways to worry about and there is little traffic around.

On weekends, rather than mowing the lawns and cleaning the house we might take Ol to the beach, or to the park to kick the soccer ball, or down to the pub for an early dinner, where it’s likely we will run into another local family that we know from Ols kindergarten or who we might have met out the front of our tiny house whilst drawing trains on the pavement in chalk.

We have truly traded ‘stuff’ for community and by living in a smaller house we’re out more often, choosing experiences over ownership, and memories over things.

A simple guide to baby gear

It’s funny how you can know someone for years and never really connect, yet with others you meet once and become friends for life from that moment on.

My friend Gemma is one of those ones that I got chatting to one night at a party in my mid 20s and before long we were spending every weekend together; gossiping around The Tan on a Saturday morning, heading out together later that night and meeting up again for a roast of a Sunday afternoon.

I had always admired Gemma from afar; she was one of those girls who seemed to have it all figured out. She was beautifully spoken – a trait she gained from her mother and later honed as a journalist, and always seemed to be so well put together wearing ‘outfits’ rather than just clothes.

Anyway, Gem recently confined in me that she and her hubby were expecting later in the year, and asked about what baby gear she would need, which got me thinking about the true essentials.

You can actually get away with one tenth of the baby kit that so many of the parenting websites would have you believe you need. Here’s a quick list that I put together for Gem. Every baby is different, so if you find that you need extra kit beyond this list, you can always buy it once the bub arrives. Continue reading “A simple guide to baby gear”

Slow parenting for toddlers

Slow parenting for toddlersOver the years I’ve picked up a few tips from seasoned girlfriends and worked out a few more along the way, so I thought it would be helpful to share them with any mums (or dads) looking for a bit of help here and there.. I know I’m always keen to hear from other mums about tips for tricky situations, which is often a lot faster and more effective than reading a thousand parenting books.

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A simple garden

A Simple GardenAfter years of getting overexcited by lovely books such as The Italian Way I have learnt that in order to make peace with the possums in our neighbourhood, I’m best to keep it simple and grow only herbs and lettuces. Herbs are so easy to grow (and exey to buy), and lettuces are a goodie to grow at home as they are often on the Organics Dirty Dozen list. Anything else I figure local farmers are probably much better poised to grow for our family. Here’s a list of the herbs that I grow:

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