Packing your hospital bag for the first time can be so exciting, and tainted with a bit of anxiety. I postponed packing mine for ages because I was unsure of what to bring and overwhelmed by all the lists I saw online.
Here are a few tips on the packing process
1. Don't wait too long to pack your bag!
Last thing you want is to be throwing a bunch of odds and ends into a bag after your waters have broken. Aim to have your bag packed and set aside at least a few weeks before your due date.
2. Don't stress or overthink about the bag you bring.
If you want to special order something from Etsy with your initials monogramed on it, be my guest. My husband and I used our carry on luggage which was easy and practical.
3. Pack light.
I didn't use half of the things I packed to my first birth! I felt like it was such a waste of space and time coming home and unpacking the bag.
4. Only take things you need or would really like to have.
5. Wash all your new and gifted baby clothes before you pack them.
1. Nipple cream.
This is a must! So many people carry on and on about the birth and recovery, but rarely talk about the struggles (and pains) of breastfeeding. My milk came in on day 2/3 (crazy fast!) and nipple cream was a savior for me. Remember to only use a little bit, as you don't want to unnecessarily clog the pores and cause mastitis.
2. TOM Organic Maternity pads.
These are made of ACO organic cotton, extra long, hypoallergenic and cruelty free.
3. Black underwear, sized up!
I bought a three pack of black BONDS undies, 2 sizes bigger than I normally wear. Black because it's forgiving with stains, and sizing up for obvious comfort and to have room for your maternity pads or ice packs to help the labia recover. I plan on putting my TOM organic maternity pads in the freezer to make my own recovery inserts.
4. My Eco Store chapsick.
Labour can really dry out your lips because of all the mouth breathing/panting.
Shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, hair brush, hair ties, natural deodorant, dry shampoo, bamboo face cloth, oil cleanser and moisturising facial serum. The basics... duh!
5. No fuss make up routine.
For me this means my organic BB cream, and my natural mascara and my highlighter to help make me look a little less tired.
6. Cosy, breastfeeding friendly loungewear.
Highly recommend packing some cosy, baggy, nursing friendly loungewear. And don't forget your thick socks and/or slippers for hygiene reasons!
7. Nursing tanks.
I'm no fashionista, and no surprise here, that didn't change after giving birth. I lived in these cute and easy nursing tanks, paired with my recovery shorts, maternity jeans and a simple something over the top like a cardigan or duster kimono.
8. Reusable water bottle.
I've heard so many nurses say the plastic hospital water jugs are a big no-no and not to use them. All the more reason to bring your own.
9. Your phone charger.
10. TENS machine for natural pain relief.
11. Bamboobies: these are reusable, washable nursing pads made of bamboo rayon velour with an absorbent inner cotton layer. After my first childbirth, I purchased the single use Advent nursing pads, but there weren't very breathable and not great for the environment either. I got two packs of the heavy, overnight Bamboobies and I'm so excited to give them a go!
1. Newborn nappies and baby wipes.
2. Baby Swaddle x 2.
I really like the Love to Dream ones! They are so easy to use (all the praise hands for having a zipper), and they are comforting for bub too.
3. Burp clothes
Just use cloth nappies! Cheap and easy.
4. First outfit! This is such a fun thing to decide on and pack. Be sure to give this to your midwife before you are in active labour so that it can be placed in the clothes "oven" making it nice and warm for bubba once they are earth-side.
5. Soothies x two
These dummies are the BEST! They are made of flexible medical grade silicone, are BPA free and easy to clean. We didn't use them in the hospital the first time around because we wanted to establish heathy attachment or "latching" for breastfeeding, but they are nice to have on hand.
6. Mittens for their hands, socks and a cosy beanie for their little head.
7. Anything you might want for that first photo, whether it's a Hello My Name Is sign, or a small letterboard, pink/blue blanket etc.
8. Car seat, or capsule, safely installed along with certificate (some hospitals will ask to see the certificate)!
9. Enough clothes for your time/stay in hospital because you won't be doing laundry.
1. Food/snacks/reusable water bottle to keep them going (and hopefully at your side) so that they don't need to run to the local cafe.
2. Their own phone charger and video camera or computer.
3. Swimsuit for when/if they get in the shower or birth tub with you.
4. Flip flops (at the bare minimum), preferably thick socks like Explorerers.
5. Pajamas for your first sleep over if your lucky enough to stay in hospital.
We are going private again because we had such a good experience, and that means that we are allowed 5 days in hospital. If it's your second baby, hospitals will often times send you to a hotel to recover instead because it's actually cheaper (believe it or not) to care for you that way with a midwife onsite. It goes without saying, but if you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, pack enough clothes for those days).
1. Essential oil diffuser and oils (if you're into that).
2. Journal/ diary.
My husband and I both wrote handwritten love letters to our daughter on the night she was born a few hours after she came into the world. I also wrote in my journal about my birth experience and jotted down things I really wanted to remember while it was fresh in the forefront of my mind.
3. Baby journal and a pen or pencil.
This is great idea because sleep deprivation is a thing! It's important to document the baby's pee and poo movements as well as feeding, and from which breast. The last thing you need to be doing in your postnatal fog is trying to remember all that information! Having a journal on your nightstand is a great way to document everything in a stress free way, and anyone can do it for you. Your partner, a visitor or even the midwife can jot it down if your hands are full or you are having a much needed nap.
4. Snacks for post-recovery.
You might give birth when the hospital kitchen is closed! Good things to bring are nuts, trail mix, apples, bananas, homemade banana bread (if you're organised), kombucha, sparkling water, etc.
5. Vitamins and supplements.
NOT in my bag, but honorary mentions
Massage Oil: (not actually in my bag like I said, but recommend having one if you like to be touched while in labour or want a back rub).
Annndddd, that's a wrap!
What did I forget?
Tell me what you MUST have in your hospital bag below in the comments!
What's in my bathroom cabinet while I'm growing a tiny human?
- Have a read below -
1. Biologi Bf Hydraton body serum: for my face and body. It's so versatile and nourishing.
2. Cedar and Stone's oil cleanser: for evening face wash, and I steam off the impurities with a bamboo or muslin face cloth.
3. Simple as That Sunscreen: it's 30 SPF and I use this daily. Most days I only wear this and mascara.
4. La Mav Organics BB Cream: in the medium shade.
1. Biologi Bf Hydraton body serum: for my face and body
2. Black Chicken's Axilla Barrier Booster natural deodorant: which is for sensitive skin. I can shave my armpits and use this right after, it's amazing!
3. Dr Bronner's bar soap: my favourite bars are the lavender, hemp rose and peppermint.
4. The Source Bulk Food's ylang ylang shampoo: I don't use conditioner because I don't have any need for it. If you would like to use an all natural, DIY conditioner that is free from nasties, try this.
5. Black Chicken Remedies dry shampoo: it's natural, organic, works well and smells amazing.
6. Dr Bronner's Organic Magic Balm as well as Black Chicken's Balm of Ages: for when I needed that little something extra on rough and very dry skin.
What I don't do:
What I do make an effort to do:
Well, that's it!
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Aldi, you either love em or hate em.
I'm an Aldi convert, and lover! From their quirky adds to their no nonsense approach, I'm a huge fan.
And let's get real for a minute: I don't need a grocery store to look like Whole Foods when it's prices are this good. And you know what - I'll happily bag my own groceries without a breath of complaint. I've been bagging my own food for years since living in Europe anyway, so bring on the savings!
If you're looking to save some cash, and also like affordable organic finds, check out my personal Aldi Australia favs:
1. Organic Olive Oil
Delicious, fruity, organic, and oh so affordable.
2. Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter
I usually buy natural peanut butter for $5 a pop at the grocery store. Their Oh So Natural smooth/crunchy peanut butter is a very close second and will save you some cash. This is my go-to peanut butter I'll use for baking, energy balls and smoothies.
3. California Walnuts
I love California walnuts! Call me crazy, but I think they really are the best in the world. They are packaged in plastic, so I just empty the nuts into my glass jars and then recycle the bag with my other soft plastics at Red Cycle.
4. Dry Gnocchi, by Remano
5. Organic Cacoa
6. Organic Eggs x 6
"You eat what you eat eats." This is one of my favourite quotes from the incredible mind of Michael Polen. So if you're eating eggs from a chicken that's been fed GMO corn, then you're eating GMO corn. Ew. Organic all the way.
7. Tamar Valley Dairy Kid's Yogurt (110 grams)
I try not to give my daughter yogurt on the go, but if we have a long road trip coming up, I like to grab one or two of these pouches for emergencies. They have a variety of flavours to choose from, and I pick whichever flavour has the lowest amount of sugar.
8. Almond milk
Inner Goodness almond milk can be found on the shelf or in the fridge at Aldi. The reason I like it is because of the ingredient list and it's also carrageenan free (a must if are consuming plant based milk. Carrageenan is a known carcinogenic!). Make sure you read your labels guys!
9. Goji Berries
These berries are a real superfood and are great value at Aldi, a lot cheaper than buying them in bulk. I add them to oatmeal in the morning, but more often then not, my daughter will eat them dry for a quick snack at the park or on the go.
10. Organic Kombucha (Lo Bros Peach and Ginger and the Raspberry Lemonade)
Everywhere else you'll pay at least $4, or more, for a single bottle of 330ml of 'buch. For $2.79 these are hard to beat, and the two flavours I mentioned above are stand outs! They also have 750ml bottles for purchase as well.
Well done Aldi, thanks for listening to your consumers. You really are a force to be reckoned with!
If you have been following along for a while, you'd would know that I'm new to this low-tox wellness journey. Unfortunately, it all started after my daughter was born. I still cringe thinking about all the chemical laiden rubbish I rubbed on my stomach in an attempt to avoid stretch marks. The things you learn, hey?
"Low- Tox" is a term that is very on trend at the moment and was coined by none other than Alexx Stuart, author of Low Tox Life. If you have not purchased this book yet, please do yourself a favour and START here. This book will lay it all out for you and it's the perfect stepping stone to start furthering your education about chemicals in the home, plastics, the war on waste and how you can lower your toxic exposure in surprisingly easy steps.
My husband came across an article shared by Dr. Rhonda Patrick on Twitter about air pollution and mortality in the New England Journal of Medicine. Studies have shown that long term expose to air pollution increases mortality. As a young family that just moved to Australia's busiest and most congested city, we were on board to keep our home as clean as possible in anyway we tangibly could.
After many hours of research, probably 5 or more reading and investing, my husband came to me with his I think we should invest in an air purifier pitch. He had already sent me all the medical journals and research papers and I was on board 100%. The next predicament was, which brand do we choose?
Here are a few things that helped us decide to go with Inovaair, "where clean air comes first."
1. Inovaair is an Aussie made and Aussie run company!
2. Recycles the air five times per hour in a 100 square foot room.
3. It doesn’t use an ioniser, so it’s just straight air filtration, no ozone emitted at all.
4. It’s in an all metal casing, so there is no plastic.
5. It has a 6 kilo (13 lb) activated charcoal filter, which was the biggest we could find on the market. We wanted to eliminate VOCs and our main focus was to eliminate gasses/pollution from our home since we live near a very busy highway. Air purifiers cannot eliminate harmful gasses from the air unless they have a carbon filter.
6. The reviews for their products were simply outstanding. There are over 240 to read and review, and I recommend having a look.
7. No bells and whistles, digital touch screens and fancy-schmancy nonsense.
8. Living in Sydney, it was only a 1-2 day delivery (Adelaide 2-3 days, Perth 4-5days).
9. The filters last 2-3 years (discount on replacement filters are offered when making your purifier purchase).
We started with the Airclean E20 Plus and then we loved it so much that we decided to get two more small filters for the bedrooms. Why? While the E20 can filter the entire town home, we wanted to have a small filter in the bedroom because it's where we spent approximately 8 hours of our day! And, we usually sleep with the doors closed, so it made sense to purchase another. We put one in our bedroom and one in our daughter's bedroom to keep our health as optimal as possible. They work so well: they eliminate odours in minutes, we no longer have dust bunnies, we haven't been sick and we don't need to open the doors for "fresh air." I am so thrilled we decided to take this low-tox plunge and invest in the very air we breathe in our sanctuary of a home.
Hope you found that interesting! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to comment below or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you make New Year resolutions?
Were they associated with health and wellness in is some shape or form?
I'm going to assume the majority of you would say a BIG FAT yes!
I've teamed up with Black Chicken Remedies to giveaway their newest Gym Time Essentials Kit! Link to enter AT THE BOTTOM of this post!
100% Cotton Canvas Tote Bag
This bag looks so cute online, but what you can't see is how good the quality is! So many totes are open, but this one is nice and secure with a zipper, so it's great for the markets or as a carry on for a flight. I love versatility when it comes to reusable bags!
The Balm of Ages
I love how light this balm is. In the past, I've used balms that are nourishing, but far too greasy! This can be applied right onto your skin and you don't need to worry about it ruining your clothes or linen. And let's not forgot how good it smells thanks to the beautiful infusion of Sandalwood, lavender, patchouli and mandarin essential oils. I love that every member of our household can use this, even my daughter who suffers from eczema.
Their best selling all natural deodorant, The O.G., Axilla Deodorant Paste
BCR have sold over 750,000 deodorant pots.... and counting! There is a reason why too, and if you use this product, you already know why! There are also over 960 reviews if you want to have a read about what other people are saying.
HOT TIP: I also answered your top FAQ's on natural deodorant here - check it out!
2 Muslin Face Cloths
These are outstanding for cleaning your face. They're 100% pure cotton and gently exfoliate and clean the skin. Have you ever gone to the gym and then not showered right away, only to find that your skin kinda broke out? Take this baby to the gym with you to keep your skin clean and fresh.
How to use:
During my morning shower, I simply use these cloths with water only. In the evening when I wash my face, I apply my oil cleaner to dry skin and massage well. Then place your cloth under the hottest water you can, wring it out, and place on your face, steaming off the impurities. Gently wipe away the cleanser until it's all gone. I'm obsessed with these cloths, and I love that they are machine washable!
SO there you have it! Everything you need to hit the gym in style and keep smelling good and looking fresh!
ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE
HOT TIP: Giveaway ends tonight 18/1/19 at 9pm AEST!
Want to buy or gift someone the Gym Time Essentials kit? If you use the code GYMREADY you will get a dry shampoo mini added to your cart! I have blogged all about this incredible product and it's an essential staple in my bathroom cabinet! This offer expires Feb 1st at 9am AEST
I have received a ton of questions on Instagram about natural deodorant, so I thought I'd do a blog post addressing some of the most FAQ's.
I'll be answering in regard to what I use currently, which is Black Chicken Remedies Axilla barrier boost deodorant paste. If you want to read other people's reviews as well, there are a whopping 922 reviews on their axilla deodorant alone.
1. Does it actually work?
Just because it's made of natural ingredients doesn't mean you won't get results!
2. How long does it take to work?
I went through a little bit of a detox period. I'd call this a transition phase as I made the switch from chemically dense, aluminum products to an all natural alternative. It took me about 2-3 weeks to purge all the toxins from my body, so I just weathered through the detox, or reapplied the paste around midday if it seemed fitting. My husband had a similar transition, but from memory his lasted a week or so. He plays sport professionally, and uses the deodorant paste daily with great results.
3. Can I shave before using it?
I find that my skin is a bit sensitive, so if I applied the Axilla Deodorant immediately after shaving, I would feel a bit of a burn (do to the sodium bi carb). I switched to the Barrier Boost sensitive skin formula, and have had no issues since. I can apply it to my underarms as soon as I'm out of the shower after shaving.
4. If it doesn't have aluminum in it, how does it work?
It's not an antiperspirant, so keep that in mind! It's job is to neutralise odours, not to avoid sweating. Sweating is natural body reaction - you shouldn't apply anything to stop that from happening!
A few key ingredients in the Axilla Paste:
Organic coconut oil: acts as an antibacterial agent and neutralises odours
Sodium Bicarbonate: neutralises odours
Arrowroot: absorbs moisture
Kaolin Clay: absorbs moisture and increases blood circulation
Organic Camellia tea oil and Vitamin E: soothes skin irritations
A few key ingredients in the Axilla Barrier Boost Paste (sensitive skin formula):
Magnesium hydroxide: acts as an antibacterial and helps to detoxify the skin
Organic shea butter: soothes skin and is also an anti-inflammatory
Diatomaceous Earth: ph neutral, rich in silica and an antimicrobial agent
Tapioca: absorbs moisture
*Sodium Bicarb free
HOT TIP: The signature blends in both of these products have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties.
5. Does it have a smell? If so, what makes it smell good?
Yes, it smells nice. It isn't odorless. Black Chicken uses essential oils to make their products smell next level nice. A few of the essentials oils they use are: pink grapefruit, mandarin, geranium bourbon, ylang ylang, cedarwood, lime, and lavender.
6. How long does it last?
I wasn’t sure if this question was meant about daily product results or monthly consumption of Axilla, so:
A. It lasts all day, no need to reapply it.
B. A tub of the paste lasts us between 2-4 months (depends if my husband and I are sharing!)
7. How do you apply it if it's a paste?
Place a small amount between your fingers and rub them together, gently warming up the paste. Rub on both armpits, and voilà! Or, you can just watch this watch this 28 second clip on YouTube.
Still have questions?
Email me or comment below!
The bad news: Two in three Australians will develop skin cancer before the age of 70.
The good news: 95% of skin cancers can be successfully treated IF detected early.
Sunscreen. It's an absolute necessity.
Coming from a girl who has A LOT of freckles, listen to me when I say.... you need to wear it. I was relatively sun smart as a kid playing soccer for many, many hours a week in the California heat. A smear on the shoulders and the cheeks always seemed to suffice. However, it wasn't until I was in college that I started to wear sunscreen regularly on my face as a preventative measure. On my body? Sure, but only when I was lying out by the pool.
If you live in Australia you'd know the expression "Slip, Slop, Slap" by heart. I'd obviously never heard of it before moving here, but it's a really easy way to remember sun safety. It is also a requirement for children to follow when attending school if they want to play outside!
Slip on a shirt
Slop on some sunscreen and
Slap on a hat.
Australia has the world's highest rate of skin cancer... Eek! Beach culture is quintessential to living that Aussie lifestyle, but we must look after our skin to prevent harmful melanomas, keep our skin healthy and the added bonus of a youthful complexion doesn't hurt!
I've made a list of my favourite sunscreens, (and I tell you why I love them), as well as what part of the body to use them on. Couldn't spell it out any clearer.... Let's dive in shall we?
And there you have it! If you have any questions, comment below or send me an email so I can help you out.
Gimme all the collagen! I'm officially closer to middle age (as of September) and I find myself lusting after my daughter's collagen rich skin more frequently.
All jokes aside, I'm just starting to really look toward, what I call, skin repairing now. I've been on the prevention path for a while, but the time has come for lots of TLC and repair. I think that's part and parcel of becoming a mum and running on less sleep and longer days.
So what two things have I been doing to warrant my latest barrage of complexion compliments?
1. Using Mukti's microneedle derma roller twice a week. The needles create micro channels in the skin which help your skin to absorb the products you already use more efficiently.
2. Using Black Chicken Remedies newest Nocturnalist Night Serum nightly. This new, uniquely formulated serum rejuvenates skin cells during our sleep cycle, so it does all the heavy lifting while you catch up on your much needed Zzz's.
During the day our skin tries to stay hydrated and protected from the elements. However, during the nighttime, our skin goes into recovery mode, much like humans actually. This serum is designed to assist in your skin's recovery, hydrate and reduce oxidation and inflammation.
Directions: Before going to bed, I apply 3-5 drops to clean skin and massage it well into my cheeks, forehead and neckline.
HOT TIP: If I'm doing a little extra for Self Care Sunday, then I Gua Sha immediately after applying the serum.
What are the active ingredients you ask?
Prickly Pear: is rich in amino acids and encourages collagen production and elasticity to brighten + tighten pores
Lemon: is loaded with Vitamin C. It's also one of the best-known anti-aging agents
Frankincense: helps promote healthy circulation and reduces the appearance of sun spots
Geranium Bourbon: helps with cellular regeneration
Neroli: boosts luminosity and helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles
Myrrh: rejuvenates aging skin
Cypress: has antimicrobial properties that help remove toxins from the skin
I love how thick and nourishing the serum is and it smells so bloody good. You can tell they spared no expense sourcing the best of the best ingredients. My favourite part is that this serum is 100% natural, completely free of chemicals, toxins, preservatives and Australian-made. It's totes a necessity in every "30- something year old's" medicine cabinet!
What does your night time routine look like? Tell me in the comments below.
Cedar + Stone is a 100% plant based vegan skincare company based in the Currumbin Valley, Australia.
The company was founded by Kate and Anna, two sisters that were tired of shopping at organic health shops only to find that many skincare products still had unnecessary chemicals. The sister duo decided to whip up some homemade alternatives, and Cedar + Stone was born.
Their line of skincare products are proudly cruelty free, gluten free, paraben free, sulphate and SLS free.
My Latest Haul from Cedar + Stone:
If you sign up for Cedar + Stone's newsletter, they will email you a voucher for $20 off your next purchase.
Also, you'll get free shipping on orders over $100
So, long story short, I haven't purchased make up for many, many years.
When I started my low-tox lifestyle transition after my daughter's birth, I threw out make up I'd held on to for years (as in 5+ years old). Shock horror, am I right! GROSS.
I've been wearing sunscreen and mascara, or a simple BB cream for years now with the occasional eyeliner when I needed to really spruce up.
My daughter is now 18 months old and I'm quickly approaching my mid 30's. The last few months, I've felt as if BB cream isn't cutting it. Don't get me wrong, I'm obsessed with my La Mav BB cream and tell everyone about it. I just felt like it was finally time to simply add something to the mix and help this tired mama perk up her appearance just a bit.
But where to start?
What are those puffy egg looking things used for anyway?
I had no clue, but I decided to see what had happened within the beauty world the last decade.
I'd recently seen Mon from The Beauty Journal feature some clean beauty items on her instagram that peaked my interest. I wanted them to be cruelty free, non-toxic and "clean" because it would be pretty pointless to lead a low-tox life in every aspect except what went directly on my skin.
I decided to check some products out online from Conscious Kin. If you live in Brisbane, I highly recommend visiting their stunning shop which is tucked away on the gorgeous James Street. They also just opened a new shop in the Gold Coast as well if that is closer to you. If you're looking to make some clean beauty swaps, Conscious Kin is a great place/website to start your journey.
What are your favourite clean beauty brands? Tell me in the comments below!
This little corner of the internet is for non-yoga topics like motherhood, low-tox living and green beauty products I love.