Getting back to nature

There were many things I missed about Sydney while I was living overseas. Having returned though, I realise that the Sydney I left as a single person, is not the Sydney that I have come back to as a mother of two. I thought I would be back enjoying cafe culture, the theatre, art galleries, art-house movies, dinner and drinks with friends, picnics, bushwalks and camping.

Before moving, Tim and I were regular bushwalkers and that is one of the amazing things about Sydney – in that there are so many places so close to the CBD that you can enjoy.  We are spoilt for choice, so it was with great excitement that I returned to Australia and the Australian bush.

But going on a bushwalk is another adventure when you have a  1 and 4 year old and children that have grown up in an apartment and are just getting used to a house and having a backyard.  As you may have seen from an earlier post, actually getting out for 10 minutes by myself is a BIG achievement and having more or less abandoned my walks at night, I have for the last two Saturdays gone for a little walk in the morning. The first time I stuck by the road, but yesterday I saw a sign to a bushwalk and I thought ‘what the hey, let’s go for it’.

The path took me down by Stringybark Creek. Though surrounded by residential development, the hum of the traffic receded to the background as the sound of whipping birds and the trickle of the creek got louder. The smell of the leaves and the earth took hold of me and I was so happy!  This walk is so close to me, which says something about Sydney too. People may grumble about this City, but I don’t know many places where I can walk out of my house and catch a bus and be in the City within 15 minutes or go for a bushwalk just 5 minutes away.

I’ve wanted to introduce Jayden to the bush and I’m really looking forward to taking him on his first bushwalk. It is an easy walking trail which is great for kids and we’re so close to home that if it all goes badly, I can quickly get him back home to his comforts of ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ and ‘Bob the Builder’.

I didn’t walk for very long. I knew my Saturday ritual of pancakes with the kids was waiting for me at home, but the little walk that I went on had me so refreshed. It felt really great to get back to nature.

Ay ay Naty

One of the challenges facing mothers and those with an inclination towards environmental protection is what to do about the nappy problem: cloth or disposable. I started this challenge with a clear idea in my mind. Cloth nappies it was going to be for my child. I never looked at the life cycle impacts of cloth vs nappies, but I figured millions of plastic nappies buried in landfills around the world could not be good.  I was so determined in this endeavour that I enlisted the help of my mum.  She could not persuade me otherwise, so when she came to stay with me after the birth of my son, I got her to trace down cloth nappies for me.

I was living in Abu Dhabi and I couldn’t find cloth nappies in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, so my mum, on a visit to Iran, hand made cloth nappies for me. She came back armed with two large bags full of cloth nappies – how happy I was. But soon after the birth of my son, I decided to give these nappies a go. Not so easy – on a newborn they are HUGE, especially as you have to put in a liner, the cloth nappy, then a plastic pair of undies over them. I started to use disposable nappies, but thought ‘hey my mum has gone to all this trouble, I will use the cloth ones during the day’. My son however was a TERRIBLE sleeper and a very colicky baby, so when he did sleep, the last thing I wanted was for the cloth nappy to get wet and cold and wake him up, so soon I was using the disposable nappies in the day too. Goodbye cloth nappies,  but they were so well made, 100% cotton, that they never went to waste. I still have them and use them as rags to clean up the kids etc.

Now 4 years later, my son is still in nappies at bedtime (I am yet to fully potty train him, but that is seriously another topic of discussion) and my daughter is in disposable nappies too!

Now however I have discovered Naty  (go the Swedes!). They cost me about $34.00 for 62 nappies which works out at about 55 cents per nappy. The other nappies she was using were about 33 cents per nappy – so clearly there is a price differential that needs to be considered.

What are the ‘eco’ claims of these nappies?

  • Made from GM free corn based film
  • Made of renewable natural materials
  • Chlorine free and fragrance free

How do they stack up? So far – good.  They do the main thing that nappies should do for a baby – absorb! They are also light and so far I’ve noticed that she doesn’t get rashes where she did in the past.

To manage the cost of the nappies – I will  try and see whether I can put her in pants sometimes during the day (though that is hard, as it is winter and my tile floors are cold) and by trying to not change her unless she really needs it!

Does anyone have any cloth nappy experiences? if so, how was it? are you convinced it is the only natural way to go?


I have landed in the land of DIY.  I read home and garden magazines (how sad right!) and I saw all these articles about people doing their own home renovations and making their own artworks and decorative things and I thought ‘bleugh – who has time for that? who does that ?’ and here I  go, I did it! yes I made my own artwork thingy.

One of the fun things that we did during my  baby shower which my lovely friend and amazing boss (Holley) organised for me was to decorate baby bibs. I’ve kept them all in Mahya’s special chest of treasures at the foot of her cot. This week I put a few in a frame with the intent to hang them in her room. Thanks eco-chick friends!

I don’t have a lot of other DIY projects, but one project is Jayden and helping my little boy with a few things like learning to use scissors, hold a pencil, be able to start and complete a task and learn his letters. He’s never been artistic, nor had much interest in writing and doing craft and for the last 6 months I’ve had a lot on and neglected him in many ways. Now I’m trying to correct that and I can see a change in his behaviour.We did an activity today which was fun and was multi-faceted. We looked through magazines and picked out things that started with a letter making sure to make the sound. Then he had to cut that thing out, and stick it on the paper. I would then write that letter (lowercase) on another piece of paper and would trace it with my finger. He would then do the same and try to write that letter. He has a long way to go, but did really well. it actually made a huge difference getting him to first trace, then write the letter. We did 7 letters today and he wasn’t too proud of his efforts when he went to show his daddy, bu. I can tell that he knows he’s not great at it (he is a perfectionist) but I’ll keep working with him and I am sure he will get much much better.

I have other DIY projects in mind….but stay tuned for more later….

Happy World Environment Day

World Environment Day website

I have not been very good and only just realised that it is World Environment Day today (June 5, 2012).  The theme for this year’s world environment day is ‘Green economy: does it include you?

I would have to say that yes it does. The United Nations Environment Program defines this as ‘one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive’. I try to incorporate these principles into my life overall.  Some of the things that I am doing are:

  • Installed solar panels (1.5 kW system which will account for all my daily needs – just not nightly needs!)
  • Recycling all the waste that I can and have established a compost and worm farm which are really making a huge difference in the amount of food we now no longer throw away
  • Other behavioural things to try and reduce energy and water use like turning off lights and using energy and water efficient appliances
  • Using environmentally friendly cleaning products
  • Taking public transport to and from work

These are just some of the things I am doing. I am planning on doing much much more. But how did this day not even make it to my radar this year? I work for an environmental organisation and there was nothing about this unique day mentioned today – just another ordinary day at work….but then again, we’re all part of the green economy there….

But it is a special day and the UNEP website has more information about it (hey you can even possibly win an electric car!). Also special this year because it is the 40th year anniversary of the UNEP. So try and engage within the green economy. I will continue this theme and post regularly on how I’m doing.

So are you part of the green economy?

Action Plan 1


I’m one of those people that likes an action plan and I am also a list person. I like to tick things off – makes me feel like I am progressing and getting things done.  This is a list I came up with on a bad day at home, I’m sharing it in the hope that I will do it!  I’ll report on progress of my ‘Action Plan for Physical and Mental Health’ regularly!

So here it is:

1. Go for walks 3 nights a week

2. Start yoga 2 times a week

3. Healthier diet

4. Get a cleaner

5. Get Jayden and Mahya into a stricter routine which involves naps during the day

6. Ask Tim to cook more to lessen burden on me

7. Maintain or try to keep positive about job

8. Meet friends fortnightly

9. Go out with Tim fortnightly – take turns organising

10. Plan a holiday for the end of the year

How have I gone over the last month?

1. So far for the first few weeks I did indeed go for a walk at least twice a week.

2. I am yet to start yoga classes, but I’ve been talking about them so long that Tim bought me a voucher for Mother’s Day. I am yet to start.

3. I have been trying to listen to my body, rather than eat and drink etc based on habit.  I do however drink my cup of coffee nearly every day. It is my little treat!

4. I have not gotten a cleaner and the task of maintaining this house of mine does at times overwhelm me. I do however want to get a dishwasher, which will mean I don’t spend half my day washing dishes. The garden is another story entirely….

5. This one is a bit hit and miss. Often when I am home, the kids are so excited that they don’t sleep, or they feel some sort of ‘awake’ energy from me and fail to cooperate.  These days are usually long and involve frustrations from me, as I end up having to carry and rock and walk with Mahya for hours within a day.

6. One can ask one’s husband to cook more, but whether it happens is another thing entirely.  It can get exhausting because Tim and I are vegetarian and the kids are not, so I often have to cook several meals in one day. Also because I work some days, I try and cook ahead of time, which can mean that I get tired of cooking and not very creative.

7. This is also a bit up and down. Some days I feel better about the job than other times.  I do feel grateful for having a job and for the fact that I work with good people and for an environmental organisation, so there are positives. But its enough said on that front for now!

8. I have not been good with meeting friends fortnightly. The last few weeks have been busy organising a mega party for Jayden and there have been family issues. But lunch meetings are on the cards for the next few weeks.

9. Oh yes the elusive date nights that I thought I would have plenty of when I came back to Sydney. Tim and I did go out for dinner a few weeks ago and a herbal tea at a cafe/bar in Lane Cove, so a little tick there…

10. I have been thinking of a holiday, just toying with locations….local, overseas, driving holiday?? etc

Do you have an action plan that you want to share??

Gettin’ the job done!

My son is really into ‘Bob the Builder’ at the moment. His favourite catchphrase is ‘let’s get the job done’. That’s usually my motto too. Just get it done! which may make me a little impatient – well my husband would probably say, very impatient. I am trying and I try every day to be more patient. With life and my kids! So I am very delighted to say that today, I got a few more things done that have seriously taken me months to do (doesn’t that show patience?) – remove old nail polish from my toes and a little bit of hair removal! yes, it really doesn’t take much to make this eco-mummy happy.

I am enjoying a blissful few hours, as all kiddies (I take care of my niece while my sister is at work) are asleep. These are rare times and so rare is also the feeling that I can maybe have a few precious moments to myself. I feel so crazy most of the time, like someone who has had too much caffeine and has a bad twitch, so even when I can relax, I don’t. My eyes are darting here and there looking for things to do.

I had lunch with a friend a few weeks ago and felt  terrible when I just got up really abruptly and announced the end of our lunch date, then realising that my lunch hour was not yet over. And also terrible when another friend came over for tea and I spent the whole time looking at my kids who (yes rare) happened to be playing happily by themselves, but I just felt that a meltdown was around the corner and was on high alert.

So today, I am enjoying my time removing nail polish, dreaming of more ‘green things’ to do around the house and just being!