Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Baby loves...non-toxic cleaning

I don't know what I would do without our cleaner, Raya. A few months before baby was born I insisted she start using natural cleaning products - just lemon and baking soda.

I also made some home-made cleaning products after seeing the online videos on the Healthy Child Healthy World website.

Raya says the simple baking sode (bicarbonate of soda) and tea tree oil is perfect.

I put it in an old baby food jar and pounded some holes in the top to make a shaker. I'm going to get a big bulk supply of baking soda at Raj store on Brick Lane (thanks Christabel!).

I did another using (Dr. Bonner's) castile soap and baking soda and put it in an old plastic squeezer bottle.

I scented it with grapefruit and lime essential oil - it smells divine & all the sudden, cleaning doesn't seem like such a chore!

I am going to buy some eco-toilet cleaner though....

the site has some good, wise words/calming thoughts:

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something

Start out by choosing a few simple steps to take in your own home, and when they become habit, move on to a few more. Try not to get overwhelmed or neurotic, just take it day by day.

Don’t add stress to your already hectic life – we all know that stress is bad for our health, too. Also, remember that a healthy diet and regular exercise will help ensure a strong body that’s better able to fight off the effects of environmental exposures. It’s never too early, or too late, to start living healthier.

*Baby at 8 months

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Baby loves...Me Time

Spa London at York Hall

For me, there is a place close to heaven in Bethnal Green.

That place is the thermal baths at Spa London in York Hall...

the cost: Just £16 with in borough membership. the benefits: invaluable & immeasurable.

Its just like the tagline says... rebalance & regenerate....

Baby loves...Affordable Vintage Fashion Fair

Is this Sunday, May 9 in York Hall. Attendees receive a 2 for 1 to Spa London...

*Baby at 7 months

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Baby loves...Littlehampton

view of the beach from the dunes in west Littlehampton

Baben's first trip to the beach was to peaceful Littlehampton.

It was an easy day trip from Victoria station (though that Sunday trains were diverted, stopping bizarrely at Littlehampton before Brighton - not sure how it works normally).

When you exit the station, nstead of heading towards the city center left, make a right and then pop over the little bridge to the left. from here a path along the river towards the coast will lead to the excellent West Beach Cafe (run by the same people as the better known Heatherwick designed East Beach Cafe) and the beautiful sand dunes & beach beyond.

The food is great - I had a backwards meal starting with a rum and raisin ice cream & finishing with Devon whitebait & a bottle of Rick Stein ale.

The beach is pebbly, but if you set down baben then carry the buggy up to the hard sandy shoreline, I see no reason you couldn't have a long stroll along the sea.

After a few hours I picked up shells and beach flotsam to make baby a collage. I bought a deep box frame from Atlantis art store (Hanbury Street, off Brick Lane) for £26.

Next up for a day trip from Liverpool St station: Lavenham in Suffolk.

Baby loves...wild hot springs

wild & free: the hot springs at San Filippo, Tuscany

If I had a spare bit of dosh, I know where baben and I would be. Relaxing in the wild hot springs in Tuscany!

The Italians keep these jewels hidden away from tourists, but an article in Saturday's guardian travel reveals where they can be found:

Petriolo (20 mins south of Siena) - pools are in the ruins of an ancient roman bath. Petriolo is signposted from the main Siena to Grosseto Road...then follow your nose down to the picturesque river Farma to find it.

Saturnia (hour south of Siena) - main falls are easy to find. not far from the town's main spa, a dirt track brings you to a field where you can park and change before heading down to the series of rock pools.

San Filippo (40 mins south east of Siena) - On approaching the town,a small wooden bridge on the right leads into the woods to a bucolic scene. follow the path to pool after pool of opaque water.

the article recommends staying at

*Baby at 7 months

Baby loves...London walks

the great smog of London, 1952

I bought a sheepskin hide from one of the stores on Brick Lane and made baby's pram (a McClaren Techno XL) into a sumptuous chariot, fit for a baby pharaoh.

Now that baby is comfortably ensconced, and spring is here, I'm looking at some of the London walks and Green City Walks....

Of the former, these look good:

-The Old Jewish Quarter 'a shtetl called Whitechapel', Weds & Fri 11.30am Tower Hill tube

-Secrets & Splendours of St Paul's (you pay a group rate admission fee) on Tues 10.30am, meet St Paul's tube, exit 2

-Old Hampstead Village 'London's Montmartre', Weds, 2pm Hampstead tube

-Whack it boys, Whack it: Beating the Bounds, Mace, Axe & Full State Dress. Thurs May 13, 2pm, Tower Hill Tube

-The famous Square Mile, 2,000 years of history. Thurs, 11am & Sun 10.30am, Monument tube, fish street hill exit

-Mysterious London & the Da Vinci Code - Thurs, 2pm, Temple

-A Soho Saunter, Fri, 10.15am Leicester Square, exit 1

-Legal & Illegal London: The Inns of the Court, Mon & Fri 2pm, Holborn tube

-Subterranean London, Sun 10.30am Embankment

-A Slice of India - Like walking through a Punjabi Village. Sat May 15, 2.30pm Southall station

The Thames beachcombing (next one is not till August 21 -boo) and Sunday explorer days out of the London look good too...

Of the Green City Walks

-Hidden gardens of the city. Weds 1.30pm, meeting point: on the steps of the Royal Exchange by exit 3 of the Bank underground station.

-Secret Tunnels & Hidden Passageways. (babies in carriers prob best) Tues 11.30am under giant sundial at Tower Hill station

-Rotherhithe Rover. Thurs 1.30pm, Canada Water station

-Docklands explorer. Fri 1.30pm, under Tower Hill station's sundial

Finally Walk London website lists more - the Lea Valley walk looks good.

Baby loves...Bolivian baby carrying

simple, stylish & effective

I just can't seem to find a baby carrier I'm happy with design-wise.

I borrowed a Baby Bjorn (based on the traditional Chinese mai thai probably) off a mate & was quite happy with it but as baby has gotten heavier, carrying in the front has become more strenuous than pleasurable.

A couple of days ago I bought a suitably neutral coloured vintage army backpack with a view to cutting out some leg holes.

Yesterday I stopped a market stall selling Bolivian crafts and fabrics & was delighted to discover square woven cloth baby wraps (the size & shape is key. The measurements of woven fabric = 107x116...) .

The gorgeous colours and design are just beautiful & it couldn't be simpler to cinch baby:

...put baby in across the square, knot the fabric ends twice, sling back over back, knot ends twice in front of sternum. - easy: right????

here's some you tube videos to baby carrying:

the African way

the Honduran way (he looks a little wonky, but seems quite happy)

The quest for the perfect baby carrier continues....

*Baby at 7 months

Baby loves...King Tut's nappies

King Tut's nappies, discovered in the tomb

I was a little stricken about capitulating to disposable nappies. We bought the eco ones from Sainsburys, but I was dismayed to find out that although they're made of recycled materials, they've got lots of chemicals and rot in the landfills like all the others. Time to change...

Very romantically (and because I have a little more time on my hands), I've decided to make baby some nappies based on King Tutankhamun's loincloth. I have no idea if it will work, but I've fallen in love with the idea & want to make it happen.

So...I've booked myself onto the next 'nappucino' - Thurs May 27 at Poplar Ideas Store - to learn more for the experts on real nappies.

Got to remember not to forget photocopies for birth certificate, proof of address & copy of passport for the £50 nappy voucher. Apparently they'll have all the materials there, so I can reedem the voucher & take it all home!

*Baby at 7 months