LIVING SLOWLY & SUSTAINABLY

MOTHER OF ALL LISTS

The title of this says it all. Like many I crave a calmer, more balanced existence and while I am realisitc and understand that we are in a hectic point of lives: young kids, trying to manage jobs and childcare etc etc, any tips on how to adopt a ‘slower’ approach come very much appreciated. As for sustainability? It’s something I am so conscious of and absolutely determined to make more ethical choices.

Here Emma Ross shares valuable advice on the way takse a ‘Slow and Sustainable’ approach to raising her two boys:



  • Block out a day with the kids where you have no plans. Nada. Niente. Like, nowhere to go and no one to meet. Spend all day getting yourselves dressed, eat two breakfasts, brush teeth slowly, sing songs loudly. It doesn’t matter because you have nowhere to be at any particular time.

  • Release yourself from the pressure and see how good it makes you and the kids feel. You might just find that without the time constraints, without the tussles to get shoelaces done up and rush to get changing bags packed, that everyone is just a little bit happier.

  • Things that might help: a good playlist  a strong brew, a great pair of pjs, a vaguely stocked fridge. Search #zeroplansday on Instagram for more inspiration. Oh, and it’ll mean you’ll finally water the houseplants

  • When you do make it out the the door (you will inevitably need some fresh air and a change of scenery), head out with nowhere to go. Let the kids decide which way to go. Sit at bus stops, watch the busses go by, dawdle, talk to strangers, pick daisies (my kids also tend to enjoy collecting weeds…). Chat about nothing. Chat about everything. Go with the flow and hey, if you end up in a café eating cake or ice cream along the way, just go with it…

  • Take the kids food shopping (again, with no time constraints). Wander through the aisles, give them their own bags and tasks to spot certain foods. Make it an activity and an opportunity for them to learn and use it as a way to entertain them too

  • Buy loose fruit and veg instead of the plastic wrapped ones – plastic packaging accounts for the largest single sector of plastic use in the UK

  • Also I promise you you’ll be in and out of the supermarket in no time at all when you shop plastic free and will end up with different produce you might not normally go for. Fresh beetroot? Yes please.

  • Alternatively, subscribe to a veg box to avoid much of the plastic packaging. For anyone based in South London, check out Oddbox.

  • Wherever you shop, take your own bags to the shops (in fact, keep one scrunched up in your bag at all times – they’re so tiny and take up no space at all)

  • Shopping plastic free as much as possible will mean you’ll be super opportunistic (and never say no to that amazing smelling bakery you walk past)

  • Seek out your local farmers’ market – (officially my favourite places ever) – promise you it’ll be a treasure trove of fresh, seasonal, economical fruit and veg.

  • Eat less meat. Why not give Meat Free Mondays a go and see how delicious vegetarianism can be.

  • Switch to milkman delivery – you’ll no longer be running out of milk and save a hefty load of plastic by buying this way. Plus, milkman are the nicest people ever. Fact. Find your local one here.

  • Alternatively, why not try making your own milk.

  • Generally, giving kids a role and getting them involved – whether it’s bringing in the milk, emptying the food compost, hanging nappies out, cooking – is to live a little more sustainably and find the time to do so On the subject of nappies, find out if your council is part of the cloth nappy incentive scheme which is an incredible initiative giving us parents a voucher to spend on cloth nappies or wipes. It’s not widely (enough) promoted so please take a look! Hooray (for once) for taxes!

  • The information out there about cloth nappies can seem quite overwhelming – take a look at these posts for some myth busting around cloth nappies to get you started

  • If nappies isn’t your thing, consider switching out baby wipes for cloth wipes. Cheeky Wipes are a great brand or even easier (and cheaper), you know those muslins sitting there not being used? Grab a pair of scissors and cut them up into medium sized squares. Next time you want to reach for a wet wipe, grab one of these, dampen it, and use it to wipe your kids’ mucky hands / face / table

  • Then shove it in the washing machine and it’ll come out good as new and ready to go again. Same goes with that fleece blanket that no one is using. Wet wipes are responsible for 93% of matter clogging up sewers up and down the country so let’s start to think about the alternatives. See how it goes… Bums next…

  • If you’re going out and about, just pop them in a wet bag and you’re good to go.

  • There are other ways we can become more conscious and create less waste – and it doesn’t have to all happen at once. Start small – get yourself a reusable coffee cup and a reusable water bottle. Get into the habit of taking it out with you, remembering to get it out / hand it over at the point of purchase (trickier than it might sound when you have kids hanging off you / are in real need of that drink), and then washing it out when you get home again.

  • You can get all sorts of fancy gadgets. Or you can just wash out an old jar of empty pasta sauce and it makes the most perfect water bottle.

  • Consider buying (you can also make it) some beeswax wrap and say goodbye to clingfilm and tin foil for good. Also just get in to the habit of placing a plate on top of your leftovers and popping them in the fridge – works just as well!

  • Think about starting up a bulk buying group in your neighbourhood – buying bulk is a great way to cut back on plastic packaging and also to meet local like-minded folk in your community.

  • Be that person who takes home leftovers from the (kinda expensive) restaurant meal you had – with so much food insecurity in the world, food waste shouldn’t be an everyday option.

  • When it comes to entertaining the kids and toys, visit your local library – they might have some lovely free classes or even better, a toy library.

  • Grab a friend and her kids and go litter picking in your local park, woods or beach. The kids look at is as a game, and its gets everyone outdoors and doing something really helpful.

  • Next time you walk past a charity shop, pop in. I challenge you not to find a great wooden toy just waiting to be snapped up. And don’t forget to donate, too.

  • Consider wrapping kids presents in newspaper or one of their old magazine instead of wrapping paper which is often impossible to recycle. See if they notice (bet they don’t).

  • Check with your parents if they have any toys left from when you were kids – hand me down toys (and clothes) are some of our absolute faves. Genuine, vintage fisher price telephones, anyone?

  • Embrace the clothes you already own and try to stop buying new ones – spend the time you would on a shopping trip to buy new clothes refashioning items you already own. Add a waistcoat, throw on a headband, try it with heels; the whole outfit becomes something new.

  • Better still, embrace rewearing the same clothes and not having to put pressure on yourself to buy the latest seasons ‘musthaves’.

  • An estimated £140 million worth of clothes ends up in landfill each year, so consider maybe just holding back on that next purchase.

  • Consider reusable sanitary items – there are just so many options these days. Cloth pads, moon cups, period pants. With the mega advantage being that next time you come on, you won’t have to dash to the corner shop to pay an extortionate amount for a pack of plastic pads or tampons because your stash is sitting right there in your cupboard, ready for you.

  • Us women get through on average 11,000 tampons in our lifetime. It’s time to start thinking more sustainably when it comes to our menstrual cycles. And that’s before we consider the chemicals laden in the plastic products we’re currently buying.

  • Switch out plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones and consider ditching plastic tubes of toothpaste for glass jar alternatives.

  • Toilet paper doesn’t have to be plastic wrapped, either. Again, there are alternatives.

  • Next time you’re in the market for some shower gel, buy a soap bar instead. Just see how it goes. You can also get shampoo and conditioner in bars so its more simple than ever to ditch the plastic bottles and cut down on you bathroom plastic waste.

  • Also look to your kitchen cupboard for beauty essentials: slather coconut oil on you and take those used ground coffee beans to make the best facial scrub.

  • Stretch for 60 seconds every morning. Set your timer and get your body moving. Just a little bit. And then tell me that you don’t feel 100% as good as you did before you stretched.

  • I hope some of these tips might be of interest!

  • Not only are they good for the environment, they will also save you money and time in the long run (despite an initial financial outlay).

  • And the sense of satisfaction and the calmness many will bring you is real! Hanging cloth nappies out as to be one of the most meditative things, I’m telling you. That, and the fact that you will rarely run out of things again.

  • Good luck if you’re embarking on a sustainable parenting journey, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions!IMG_2461.jpg

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8 Comments

  • Reply Claudette October 22, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    This is so much easier to do when the kids are small…😊. I miss those days. And I agree. Many a day we simply headed out the door and the only challenge was to decide which direction to take. Follow the toddler left or the preschooler right?
    😉

  • Reply Emily RickardE October 24, 2018 at 1:36 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!!

    • Reply Mummywumbles October 24, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Personally I find it to be complete and utter bollocks. A mix of frankly bizarre lifestyle suggestions with a good dose of lecturing on frankly obvious topics. What a complete and utter load of old wank from yet another instagram mummy.

  • Reply Mummywumbles October 24, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Perhaps we could wait a couple of years and then her children could also do a list telling everyone what to do.

    • Reply Mummywumbles October 24, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      Better still perhaps she could do a live read out at Binky Felstead’s Mummy Tribe Retreat and everyone can cheer and take photos

  • Reply Mummywumbles October 24, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Sorry please feel free to delete these comments they are quite rude

  • Reply Becky October 28, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Errrrrm Clemmie please change this somehow to moderate the comments before they’re published? Such trolling on your lovely lists makes me sad. Anyway. I love the post but wanted to ask the author..: I live and parent abroad and also have zeroplansmonday with my two kids 2 and 4… I love slow living in practice and get why it’s neccessary… but my days just often go really wrong when I don’t have any plans… any tips on coping with that tension? Also just bought my first mooncup plucking up the courage to use it 😂 and agree on the therapy of cloth nappying I love it! X

  • Reply Trish Kelly November 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    The issue I have with this is that it is all from a very white, middle class point of view. Food banks in northern England are on the increase. We have period poverty with girls not attending school as they have no sanitary products. A lot of the suggestions are expensive. Veg boxes, a milkman and a cup come from a place of privilege not poverty.

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