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      JOURNAL

      | A Woman's Work - A Q&A with Helen of Snugg Yoga |

      | A Woman's Work - A Q&A with Helen of Snugg Yoga |

      Helen and I met at baby yoga a couple of years back when our children were just teeny, and despite having an awkward first lunch date - where one went to The ‘Bakehouse’, the other went to The Little ‘Brickhouse’, both thinking we’d been stood up and ending up lunching solo - we’ve continued to be great friends. Above shows a snap of Helen with her daughter during a LOMIE Scarf Bib photoshoot. We are dying to get the kids together again after what seems like an eternity in lockdown.⠀

      The admiration I have for Helen is immense. Not only is she is a great mum, but whilst also working full time she has trained to become a yoga teacher, of which she now teaches as her side hustle Snugg Yoga (give her a follow of Insta at @snuggyoga). She has a very calm, yet witty, character and is such great company to be around. But it’s her incredible strength, resilience and desire to give back which I admire the most. 

      Helen story is emotional, but also extremely heartwarming. She’s truly an inspirational woman and has been helping people through lockdown relieve anxiety and build community though free, or PWYC (Pay What You Can) classes through lockdown. I was so happy when she kindly agreed to take part in the LOMIE ‘A Woman’s Work Q&A’ to share her journey. 

       

       

      Hi Helen! Please tell me a little about yourself and the motivation behind training to become a yoga instructor.
      My bio says I am a mummy, yoga and meditation teacher and I love being with my family, disco music, baking and the great outdoors, but there is much more to it than that. In the first couple of months of me giving birth, my mum, hero and best friend was diagnosed with cancer. Even though she suffered for a further six months, it was the day she told me that she had cancer that I lost her, her mind sort of went and it was only by teaching her meditation and gentle yoga, mindfulness and Qi Gong techniques that I was able to calm her and get her back for a few minutes. The meditation would include beautiful memories that we had from my childhood, such as a beach in Cornwall and gardens.

      The yoga helped her to move at a time when she was confined to her bed, and sometimes she would call me in the middle of the night asking for me to meditate with her, and, although I had been practicing yoga for twenty years it was this that gave me the drive to become a teacher. I wanted to use this skill to work with others and their families going through what my mum and our family went through. As always my mum was my inspiration and now my daughter is my inspiration. 


      As a mother, how are you finding balancing motherhood, work and yoga teaching?
      Haha, I love it but I am exhausted. I give myself little treats - an afternoon nap when my little one is asleep, and an evening glass of red wine with my husband when she has gone to bed! We also love going on adventures in the countryside and mummy-daughter baking to disco dj sets - we are both a big fan of Nile Rodgers and Chic and the kitchen is slowly starting to turn into our disco space - neon lights, diner chairs and a disco ball are planned! A lot of what we bake is foraged from our garden - raspberries, grapes, elderflowers, rosemary, mint, lavender, blueberries, strawberries - you name it we have grown it, picked it and baked and discoed with it.

      Whilst everyone is still asleep, I get up at 5am, go for a run, take part in a pre-recorded online yoga class - usually with a Yoga space in Bali, and plan my own yoga or meditation class - I always bring something new into each class and take inspiration from everything from Power Yoga, Yin Yoga and meditation to Capoeira, Qi Gong and mindfulness. 

      I schedule my own classes at a time when my husband isn’t working so he can take the fort or when my daughter is asleep (so lots of evening or pre-recorded classes). Work entails liaising with charities, fundraising, designing and putting out marketing and my website and creating more classes - all of that fits into the gaps!


      Does ethics and sustainability come into play at all with what you do? 
      Absolutely. Yoga has unfortunately gained a reputation of being expensive, exclusive and physically unattainable (“I can’t put my legs behind my head!”). When I set out to become a yoga and meditation teacher my primary goal was to provide free classes for people in palliative care. I am excited to be talking to a Refugee charity and a hospice about putting together free one to one classes for their service users. Teaching classes outside of that has just been a sweet bonus.

      The message behind Snugg Yoga is that it is: 

      • Affordable - free or PWYC (Pay What You Can) with donations going to a diverse range of charities.
      • Inclusive - everyone is welcome, working with charities has not only allowed me to raise much needed funds for charities in need, particularly during lockdown (Stonebridge City Farm, When You Wish Upon A Star, PASIC, Forever Stars, ) but it has also enabled me to invite the service users and staff of those charities to attend the classes free of charge (Refugee Roots, The Black LGBTQIA+ Therapy Fund, Nottingham Women’s Centre, Nottinghamshire Hospice, Macmillan Cancer, Notts Hospitals Charity and PANDAS) this has really helped Snugg Yoga to achieve a more diverse audience - this is something that will persist and I won’t rest until I have a class that has true representation.
      • Attainable, fun and soothing - I have always said that in a Snugg Yoga class it is highly likely that I’ll be one of the first to topple and that I am learning right alongside my students and will never stop learning, I offer modifications for those who want to go more or less challenging, the classes are great fun and not too serious and they offer a sense of calming and community to help to relieve anxiety.

      Sustainability is an interesting one, and a message that I want to focus on once I go back to teaching again in real life - in parks or a sustainable space with ethically sourced equipment and refreshments. I’m on it! 


      Tell me about a particular highlight you’ve had with Snugg Yoga? What are you most proud of?
      I have been really fortunate and had some incredible opportunities since being in isolation including working with Asylum seekers and refugees and providing lessons for charity festivals, a particular highlight was receiving a letter from someone who said that their Snugg Yoga class was a lifeline, offering them something to look forward to at a time when they felt highly anxious, upset and stressed. I also felt privileged to be able to offer free yoga and meditation for NHS staff and other key workers - they have given so much and just being able to help them in any way has been rewarding.

       

      Has COVID-19 impacted on your business / your way of working at all?
      Completely, I have gone from teaching in studios and to businesses in their workspaces to teaching wholly online. The people attending my classes have changed too. At the start the goal was fitness and general wellbeing, but once COVID-19 hit a lot of people wanted to join to not only ease their anxiety but also to be a part of a community at a time when many felt isolated. That is why it was important for me to offer classes for free for the first three months of lockdown and then on a PWYCan basis (with 10% going to a nominated charity each week) after those first three months.

      All the charities I have worked with have been affected during lockdown and the charity classes, which in the first three months, delivered free yoga with a donation encouraged to a different charity each week, have been really popular - my biggest class had 33 people sign up! It is through these charities that I have taken part in online festivals (Forever Stars) Refugee Week (Refugee Roots), delivered chair yoga and mindfulness for carehomes and private one to one online classes.

      As lockdown extends I'm continuing to offer classes on a PWYC basis as I cannot justify charging regular prices when so many people have been furloughed or let go and I wouldn’t want to. It is so much more important that people attend the classes than be missed because they couldn’t afford the class. Everyone is welcome regardless.

      Credit: Angela Shepherd (@angela_luci_shepherd)


      What advice would you give for other mothers who are considering starting their own business?
      I haven’t met a mother yet who doesn’t realise how special she really is. So I would say value yourself. This is advice that is, of course, easier said than done, but there are ways in which you may be able do this:

      • Find free courses to enhance your education, to give you the confidence to speak up (Open University has lots of great online courses such as starting your own business). 
      • Don’t apologise for wanting to speak up, try and avoid starting an email with ‘no worries if not but…’, and don’t undersell yourself for fear of asking seeming too cheeky.
      • Make diversity a value for your company, don’t be afraid to change your opinion when faced with new information and finally value and support community. When I first started to grow, my outreach goal was growing my social media channels, but my most loyal customers are those on my own doorstep, people from local businesses and charities that I have worked with who now join my classes every week. 





      | A Woman's Work - A Q&A with Textile Artist Debbie Smyth |

      | A Woman's Work - A Q&A with Textile Artist Debbie Smyth |

      'A Woman's Work' is a LOMIE Q&A series with inspirational women, often mothers, whom I've met throughout the years and have made an impression on me. It's such an honour to be able to share their stories with you. Today we speak with Debbie Smyth, a textile artist who's travelled the world for her work, creating large scale thread art pieces (often live) for the likes of New York Times, Hermes and Instagram, to name but a few.  

      Debbie and I became acquainted a number of years back when I was director of design for an interior textiles manufacturer, and have since followed each others careers with interest. Debbie's work is incredibly intricate and when I first saw it, it blew my mind. Not only does the final piece make an incredible impact, but it's also the high levels of planning, followed by the execution which is involved that makes her work truly mesmerising. An incredibly talented lady. In this Q&A we learn more about Debbie's craft and career, how her partner joined to support her business and, now as a recent mother, how the two of them share both work and parenting duties for their gorgeous son Rigby.

       

      Hi Debbie! Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to specialise in textile art and, in particular, thread art.

      Textiles have always been a passion; I suppose, a second nature. I don't ever remember not being able to sew; it was something I learnt at a very young age. My mother always mended our clothes so I learnt the basics early and I was constantly altering my clothes as a teenager. When deciding what career path to take when leaving school, the two choices I whittled it down to were going to Art College or studying biomedical engineering. I decided to go do an art foundation course to help make my mind up.

      It wasn't until I did my foundation course that I really discovered what was achievable through textiles, sewing didn't just have to be functional, and I fell in love with this way of creating art. I then moved to West Wales to study; graduating in 2008 with a BA (Hons) degree in Contemporary Textiles.

      Having specialised in textiles, I liked the concept of using the integral materials of the discipline, yet in an unorthodox way. I am textile artist most identifiable by my statement thread drawings. My process is very material led. I look at thread as a drawing medium; how the thread falls or knots, often dictates my next step. Achieving complex shading and tactile surface patterns by pushing the expected scope and application of my chosen materials; I established my studio practice in 2009, and have worked on an extremely diverse range of projects spanning large scale hotel installations, event art, corporate interiors, illustration, gallery installations and smaller bespoke pieces.

      My partner Zac has come onboard in more recent years due to the scale and magnitude of some of the projects we have taken on across the globe. Our unusual style and distinctive approach has garnered deserved attention; commissioned by major companies including Ellesse, The New York Times, Sony, Adidas, Instagram, Continental, Four Seasons Hotel group, Mercedes Benz and Hermes to name a few. 

       

       

      You’ve recently become a mother, and are just getting back into creating again. How are you finding balancing your craft with motherhood?

      Myself and Zac worked on very physically demanding projects right up until I was 8 months pregnant. By doing so, we saved up, allowing us both to take 4 months maternity/paternity leave together. We eased ourselves back in slowly, sharing the workload & took on our first project as a trio when Rigby was 4 months old; an event in Dublin, producing an interactive live art event piece over the course of a few days. Part of the reason we were willing to take on this project was due to my family being in Ireland. Rigby got to go sightseeing in Dublin with his Granny & Auntie, whilst we cracked on with the job in hand. I took regular breastfeeding breaks and we made it work.

      We’ve been selective with the projects we have taken on since being pregnant & having Rigby. In recent years, we’ve been incredibly fortunate that our craft has taken us around the world. However we have had to limit the projects, which involve travel & long hours as it’s not so easy these days. Not only because travelling and working with a baby is tricky but also COVID-19 has stopped us in our tracks recently.

      So instead, our focus has been on more studio based work where we can set the schedule and hours in the comfort of our own space; allowing much more flexibility to juggle parenting & business. We have had to adapt how we work; I take care of managing, admin and design & my partner undertakes the majority of the fabrication. It’s a massive balancing act; we juggle caring for Rigby between us so we share the workload. It has taken a bit of fine-tuning to figure out a system, but we are finding a rhythm. We are also currently renovating our house so lots of juggling going on.

      We count ourselves very lucky that we both spend precious time with Rigby; both getting to witness those everyday moments and the big milestones. The toothy grin at bedtime or the first steps. This is the real magic that makes the rest of it happen!

      Debbie & Rigby in LOMIE Scarf Bib

       

      Does ethics and sustainability come into play at all with what you do?

      Sustainability is something we would like to address further within our practice as one can always do more however when working to clients brief it is sometimes hard to implement our own values. We use recycled/sustainable thread ranges by Gutermann & Coats when possible. If we create work that is fabricated for an event, and could potentially only have a short life span, we make suggestions to give the piece more longevity. Usually by designing it in such a way that following the event it can be transported to a new home to be displayed permanently.

      We love working on sustainability-centered projects. For example, last year we created a series of artworks for Coats using and celebrating their Ecoverde thread, which is made from recycled plastic bottles.

       

      Tell me about a particular highlight you’ve had with your work? What are you most proud of?

      This is a really difficult question. I suppose an aspect I find very satisfying is the final unveil of a piece that has been years in the making. So much work goes on behind the scenes that people don’t realise; months of back and forth between ourselves and the clients, countless presentations, numerous rejected designs, amending and tweaking compositions, laborious hours of planning and prep work, multiple site visits and inspections and long hours installing on site. Months and months and months of work that finally leads to what we had all this time been working towards, a monumental artwork and a happy client. This elated feeling was had when we completed a ‘Fleeting’, a 10m x 2.5m piece now permanently installed at 10 Fleet Place, London. Inwardly and outwardly the reflections and distortions of the curved glass façade mirror and echo the motion of the life of 10 Fleet Place; distorting the perception of the city and blurring lines of brilliant light streaks; echoing nuances of it’s environment whilst capturing ‘a fleeting moment’ of a city constantly in flux.

      Feeting by Debbie Smyth

      A very contrasting highlight was a very special art residency we undertook at Folio Daan, Taipei from Oct – Dec 2017. Over the course of 3 months, we worked at a much slower pace allowing ourselves to be completely immersed in the Taiwanese culture, we documented our journey through the people we met. Each character in the FOLIO X FUBON series represents a significant aspect of our Taipei impression. From the language barrier and what we learnt to the everyday customs and weather. Expressing how we adapted to a new culture, and absorbed the environment. These 3 works are now permanently installed at Folio Daan Hotel, Taipei.

      Debbie Smyth

       

      Has COVID-19 impacted on your business or your way of working at all?

      We didn’t have any projects which involved intensive travel lined up, so luckily, that aspect of our practice was not affected. Our focus has been on more studio based projects since having Rigby which fortunately has swung in our favour as it has meant we have been able to continue to work in isolation at our studio during lockdown.

      We quoted on quite a few projects at the beginning of the year which have been postponed or cancelled. Although we have not been massively immediately impacted, I think this is only the beginning.... The sector we work in will have a tough few years ahead, I’m sure.

       

      As a mother, what do you look for in baby and children’s clothing? What other brands would you recommend for new mothers.

      Longevity is a big thing for me; I often buy clothes that are too big, and roll up the sleeves or cuffs... they grow so fast & I love a baggy-chic baba!

      I go for pre-loved if I can; I buy a lot from charity shops & a local second hand kids shop, in particular – KIDS STUFF @stroudkidsstuff.

      If I do buy new, I try to but from small independent makers & shops...
      Aside from LOMIE, here’s a few brands and shops I have made some recent baby purchases from...

      @marmalade_sky @hapsnordic @aciubaba @thelittlewoodenpeg @we.are.pop @magnusmakesthree @wornbylittles @cissywears @lilyandfred @wemightbetiny

      Rigby in LOMIE

       

      What’s one piece of advice that you’d give for other mothers who are considering starting their own business?

      Take care of yourself...if you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of your family or run a business. It’s very easy to burn yourself out by putting too much pressure on yourself.

      After settling into mama hood, I found a rhythm to our days & was able to schedule in set times to focus on business. I try to make sure that I am fully present during the time I am with my baby; this allows me to be in a more focused state when working, rather than trying to juggle several tasks at once, which really stresses me out. Focus is something I have really struggled with getting back since becoming a mama so I try to be really strict with my time, which helps.

      It helps that my partner and I share parenting and business, meaning that neither of us gets too fed up.... that often!?!

      | 5 Instagram Accounts to Follow for Inspiring Play Activities for Babies and Toddlers |

      Short on play ideas for your baby or toddler? Check out these 5 great Instagram accounts with simple yet inspiring activities, you'll both love.


      Play is so integral to babies and children’s development and intellectual growth. It stimulates all of their senses - movement, touch, sight, sound and taste(!), captures and builds their imagination and enhances their social and emotional intelligence. If you’re seeking new ways to both entertain and engage with your growing baby or toddler through play, then you need look no further, here are 5 great Instagram accounts to follow to inspire both you and your child. I’ve had the chance to connect with each person responsible for the different pages and below I, not only 
      share some of our favourite activities from their accounts but, also give insight into these wonderful individuals.

      *Please remember that all activities should always be done under adult supervision.

       

      1. @thebebestylist 

      When she’s not dressing the likes of Daniel Radcliffe, Natalie Dormer or Lara Stone, to name but a few, London-based celebrity stylist Aimee Croysdil is creating crafts with her young daughter.  The aim of her children focused Instagram, @thebebestylist, is to help others find ways of playing sustainably with style. Often using household and foraged materials, or reusing materials from a previous activity for another, Aimee shares an abundance of sensory play, suitable for babies and toddlers (6 months + depending on the activity), and children’s craft ideas (18 months +). You’ll also find a mix of kids fashion and homeware inspiration on her page, which also has a focus on sustainable brands.

      I can’t remember how I first came across @thebebestylist, but I’m very happy I did, as the account continues to inspire. A favourite activity of ours is the ‘Ice Paint’ (image below). To prepare this activity, put blobs of paint (why not use the edible paint recipe in 5. below) in each section of an ice cube tray and add water whilst stirring the paint in. Add sticks (we like using foraged ones) as little handles and place in the freezer overnight. This is a real hit, for those 12 months +, particularly in the warmer weather.

       

       

      2. @adventuresof_adajoyce

      Ada, now 14 months old, was involved in the last photoshoot we held for LOMIE earlier this year, and since then I now often refer to her Instagram account @adventuresof_adajoyce - run by her wonderful mum Hannah - for inspiration for open-ended play ideas. Hannah has a background in early childhood and special needs education. Her passion for play has been built through her experience working in children’s hospices and orphanages, seeing how play played such a significant role in both children's development and wellbeing. ‘Play can be really powerful and I have seen how it can also help children to heal and work through emotional trauma,’ she says. 

      Hannah is an advocate, in particular, for open-ended play. With open-ended play, there are no instructions, rules, or expectations for the children. Children have the ability to make their own decisions and fully engage their creativity and imagination with the materials around them. Hannah loves watching Ada learn and practice new skills during play with activities she sets up for her. ‘Seeing her make new connections and figure out the world around her fascinates me,’ Hannah says. ‘Instagram is full of creative people sharing their ideas and as I have so many inspiring activity ideas myself, I thought I would give it a go and share some of Ada's adventures in play myself.’

      From loose parts, to water play there are many simple but wonderful activities to do with @adventuresof_adajoyce. We tried ‘Foam Play’ today (image of Ada below) with great success. I had some kitchen utensils for Max to explore with, and also hid some of his toy animals in the foam. Max was entertained for a good 40 minutes. It's super easy to prepare, takes less than 5 minutes, and makes for a simple clean up if you do it in the bath, as we did. To make the foam, add 2-3 tbsp of tear-free / taste-safe baby body wash, and a couple of drops of food colouring, to 1 cup of water, and whizz up in a food processor or with an egg beater. Suitable from 6 months +. 

       

      3. @little_wild_wonders

      ‘Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed’ - Maria Montessori. 

      Hayley, an early years primary school teacher and mum of two, runs the account @little_wild_wonders which promotes Montessori-inspired learning through play. The Montessori approach inspires confidence, nurtures children's desire for learning, discovery, and social interaction.  It’s skill based with the ultimate goal being the child becoming independent in their own right, at their own pace, following their own interests.

      Hayley creates play environments at home for her children to engage with. ‘I’m making sure I put into practice what I did with Wilfred (2y) for Florrie (4m) as well, especially with what toys she interacts with. I highly recommend you observe your child and follow their interests, you’ll get so much more interaction and engagement in their play,’ she says. 'It also needn’t be expensive. Many parents make DIY Montessori materials which work just as well as those bought. The magic is in following their lead…’. 

      Amongst many others, we were inspired by a post by @little_wild_wonders to make ‘Flower Soup’ (image below), where you explore petals and leaves from flowers from the garden, as well as filling and pouring water from pots and pans. Another great activity for the warmer months. Recommended for 12 months +, and if your child has a tendency to pop things in their mouth, please be sure to use edible flowers.

       

      4. @madeitwithmama

      London mum of two young boys (2y & 4m), and head of a secondary school Biology department, Kimberley, is the creative behind the account @madeitwithmama. The account was set up a couple of months ago, whilst on maternity leave and under lockdown, to inspire other mums to get creative with their little ones.  We love how Kimberly uses a lot of household, recycled or foraged materials for her crafts and DIY toys. ‘The process of crafting is as important, if not more so, than the finished product so it’s important that children are able to get involved and have some freedom with the creative process. Why buy toys when you can enjoy making them and then enjoy playing with them? Double the fun!’, she says. 

      But @madeitwithmama is not only limited to children’s craft and play, you’ll also find recipes and creative food ideas, and for those art and design inclined amongst us, you’ll love the artistic pieces posted for inspiration. Kimberley also dabbles in a bit of art and illustration herself, with some of her artwork found online at Evermade.

      We love this great sensory activity using ‘DIY Water Beads’ (image below). It's made from tapioca, and so is 100% edible! To prepare, simply bring some water to the boil, add a cup of dried tapioca and let it simmer until it has formed jelly-like balls. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add a few drops of food colouring, mix, leave a few minutes and they are ready to use. You can add some toys and / or utensils and your baby or toddler will have a ball. 

       

      5. @louisa.penfold

      Dr Louisa Penfold has a PhD in children’s art education and works in early childhood at Harvard University. Her account @louisa.penfold has long been a fav of ours! Lou runs the blog Art Play Children Learning which is all about making art fun and meaningful for kids. The blog not only shares different art activities for kids but also gives evidence-based tips on how parents can cultivate children’s creativity at home. We found this post on using questions to support young children’s creative thinking particularly helpful. 

      Regarding play, we love the ‘Edible Paint Recipe for Babies & Toddlers’ below, that we’ve previously shared on our grid and is suitable for 6 months +. I would also recommend checking out the hashtag Lou created, #quarantineplayideas, which has a trove of amazing play activities for kids. To make the edible paint, put ½ c flour and 1 Tbs salt in a saucepan. Pour ¾ c cold water in the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Add ¾ c hot water and whisk. Heat on the stove, stirring continuously, until it starts to boil. As soon as it does, take it off the heat. Add in food colouring (5-6 drops), stir, and wait to cool before using.

       

      We hope you love these accounts as much as we do. What are your favourite baby or toddler play activities? And where do you tend to get your inspiration from? Do you have some favourite accounts that you can recommend? 

      Please add to the comments below! Xx

      | 5 Home Remedies for Teething Babies |

      There is no way to know exactly when to expect your baby’s first tooth / teeth. For some it can be as early as three months, for others as late as seven months or older. Nevertheless, symptoms tend to appear weeks, sometimes months, before the first tooth emerges. The red cheeks, the drool - so much drool – and your little one putting everything into their mouth are sure signs that teeth are on the way. 

      Having a teething baby can be challenging for both baby and parents – the interrupted sleep patterns, changes to feeding, the consistency and frequency of number two nappy changes (!) and, well, the poor wee things can generally just be out of sorts. One thing that we do know is that the most painful part of teething is when the tooth is cutting the baby’s gum. Once you start to see the tooth / teeth, you can be rest assured that the worst is over……. well that’s until the next set of teeth start to come through…..

      With regard to catching dribble, LOMIE muslin Scarf Bibs are the ticket. They are soft on your baby’s skin and super absorbent, keeping your baby free of dribble rash. But if you’re looking for ways to soothe your baby’s sore mouth, please read on for some handy hints. They use items from within the home and are ones which we personally found helpful to get our son’s smile back. All should be undertaken with adult supervision.

       LOMIE bandana bib

      1. Cool their mouths down

      Giving babies something cold to suck, or chew on, can provide a numbing sensation and help relieve pain. Here are a few easy tips to soothe your little ones mouths down by cooling it down:

      • A cold spoon
      Chill a metal spoon in the fridge for a few hours, then, under supervision, allow your little one to chew on it against their swollen gums.

       

      • A frozen muslin, flannel or washcloth

          Soak three quarters of a clean, small muslin square in cooled boiled water, keeping one corner dry for your baby to hold on to. Wring it out and fold it carefully to not get the dry end wet. Pop it into a freezer-safe bag and pop it in your freezer for up to an hour – until it becomes cold and stiff. Help your baby hold onto the dry part and then let them chew. I’ve not tried it personally, but I’ve also read that the above can be repeated using chamomile tea (make sure it’s decaffeinated). Chamomile has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years in a number of cultures. It is naturally calming and can help settle your baby.

          • Frozen breastmilk

            Pour breastmilk into an ice cube tray, and freeze. Wrap the frozen cube in muslin cloth before giving to your baby to hold on to. There won’t be any unfamiliar flavours, and the texture of the muslin with the cool cube will be soothing. 

            2. A gum massage

            Applying pressure to your little one’s gums can also help in relieving teething pain. Firstly, make sure your hands are clean, then using the pad of your finger rub in a circular motion all along the gum line on the inside of your baby's mouth. You can do this both inside and outside along the jawline.

            3. Rusks

            Something to chew on is sometimes the only teething remedy a baby really needs to get through the pain of teething. Natural teething rusks are great for those babies old enough for solids. They are very firm and dense and so babies can naw away on them over a long period of time. I found it very difficult to find rusks, off the shelf,  that weren’t loaded with sugar (even organic brands, I mean wtaf, why?).

            So, here’s a great easy recipe to make them at home:

            Ingredients:

            • 1 cup flour
            • 1 cup finely ground oatmeal
            • 2 Tbs coconut oil
            • 1 mashed banana
            • 2 tsp cinnamon
            • 5-8 Tbs water

            Instructions:

            1. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celcius.
            2. Combine all ingredients well in a bowl. Roll on a floured surface & cut into fingers (adult sized fingers rather than baby sized ones! i.e. large enough to not be a choke hazard). If the dough is a little too sticky to handle, pat a little flour onto the exterior to make it easier to handle. If the dough is a little too dry, add a little more coconut oil.
            3. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn & bake for a further 5-10 minutes. The edges should be starting to become golden & the centres set.
            4. Allow to cool completely.
            5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature - or in the fridge to also have a cooling sensation.

            Homemade Teething Rusks 

            4. A frozen mango pip

            Again, this is only recommended for babies old enough for solid foods and once fruits have been introduced. Freeze a mango pip, with a small amount of flesh remaining, and present it to you baby a couple of minutes out of the freezer, so it’s not too cold. This can be a little messy, but it’s a fun, soothing and sensory-rich activity for the wee one. Mango is also rich in Vitamins A & C, with the pulp providing fibre.

            5. A big cuddle

            Teething is a tough time for babies. They are feeling uncomfortable and out of sorts. It’s not uncommon that they could refuse all options listed above. Sometimes all they need is a cuddle. When you think about it, if you feel a bit under the weather all you really want is a nice cuddle and a snuggle on the sofa right? A cuddle can make a big difference. Distraction is a great technique too and so playing games and trying to take their mind off things could also help.

             

            | 10 Great Eco Friendly and Super Useful Baby Gift Ideas |

            Eco friendly and functional baby gifts made from safe, natural & sustainable materials, that come from independent business owners.

             

            We may be in lockdown in the UK right now, but that doesn’t stop new babies from arriving into this world, and their loved ones wanting to buy them a little something special. For this reason, I’ve put together a list of great affordable gift ideas, from independent businesses, for the eco-conscious consumer that can be purchased online - and delivered directly to the new parents! 

            Being a recent parent myself, the gift selection below has also been curated for function, as the last thing you want is to give something that they’ll not get great use from. That being said, this list may be equally helpful for expecting or new parents.

             

            1. Kimono bodysuits 

            Being informed about kimono, wrap-style bodies was probably the hottest tip we got from friends who were also parents with the arrival of our son. Tiny babies are so small and fragile and you’ll soon find out that they do not love things being put over their heads. Trying to do so is very challenging both physically and emotionally! And the beauty of the kimono bodies is that you can avoid having to do it completely. You can’t have enough of these as a parent, so being gifted them would be a godsend. A couple of great sustainable brands that make these in organic cotton are Rose & Guy (£14, pictured below), Nature Baby (from £16) and Mori (from £21).

              

            2. Booties + bonnets

            Baby shoes and socks are difficult to get on and stay on (consecutively). The only thing that worked for us with our son was a set of booties knitted by a lovely elderly lady which my mum had picked up and gifted to us. I found it incredibly difficult to find such a style elsewhere, so was over the moon when I came across Gooseberry Fool. This great brand has a fantastic selection of super stylish crocheted booties (from £14) and other gorgeous accessories - such as these bonnets (£16).  All items are handmade with love from a lovely soft 100% pima cotton yarn and the booties have vegan friendly ties. Both bonnets and booties are sent in lovely cotton gift bags.

               

              3. Bibs 

              Bibs are an essential baby item, that until 1-2 years of age, need to be worn most days. The problem is that it’s very difficult to find ones that 1) you actually want your baby to wear, and 2) are effective in catching the drool. At LOMIE we’ve addressed these issues and developed beautiful, functional and sustainable muslin Scarf Bibs for your babies (from £11 + Woggle). The bibs have a removable and reusable, leather Woggle fastening system that adapts to your growing baby - meaning they’ll last from 2 months old through to over 2 years of age. Having the Woggle also means the Scarf Bibs themselves remain 100% plastic free and 100% compostable. The fine cotton muslin is soft against the skin and super absorbent, meaning no dribble rash for the wee babes. They make great gifts and all orders are sent out gift wrapped. A personal note from the sender can be included on request.

               

              4. Sleep gowns

              Sleep gowns are a fantastic alternative to pyjama onesies for night times and are suitable for tiny girls and boys alike. They are long like a sleeping bag and make night time changes that much easier as you don’t have to fiddle with undoing, then doing up a whole lot of poppers on a onesie. We love the 100% superfine merino sleep gowns by Merino Kids (from £39, shown below and preferred due to crossover neckline design) and Superlove Merino (£39). Merino is a smart textile in itself and naturally regulates both body temperature and humidity. The sleep gowns are therefore great at keeping the baby safe, snug and comfortable without posing the risk of overheating. 


              5. Mobiles

              Often an item that is forgotten by new parents, is a mobile. It’s a wonderful gift to receive if you don’t have one, or if you do, it’s great to have a couple in different places for the baby. Mobiles are fantastic for entertaining your little one while they’re in their cot or on the change table. These gorgeous gender neutral mobiles, sold by Otis and the Wolf, are perfect for fitting in with any nursery colour scheme. The frame is made of wood and the lovely animal figures of 100% New Zealand wool (100% AZO-free).

              6. Board or fabric books

              It’s never too early to read books with a baby. Although they might not understand much (if anything) to begin with, it contributes greatly to the development of their growing brain and gives them a wonderful start towards a lifelong love of reading. For the first 12 months or so the best books for babies are those made from fabric or board, as their little grabby hands can easily rip paper pages. We love this organic cotton, sensory rich fabric booksuitable for newborns, that is sold on the wonderful Mama + Max webstore (with a dedicated Eco-Friendly shop). The bold, graphic patterns stimulate visual development and the crinkly ears heighten the babies’ senses. We are also a big fan of the Little People, Big Dreams series (£5.99 in board book) that make the lives of well known role models accessible for the youngest children. They make a great gift, inspiring the next generation to make their mark on the world. 

               

               

              7. Wooden toys 

              Although they won’t get used for a few months past birth, wooden toys make a great timeless gift. They are safer, more environmentally friendly and durable in comparison to their plastic counterparts and will get years of use from the time they are picked up. Wooden toys can also become keepsakes to be passed from one generation to the next. When you’re buying toys, it’s a no brainer to buy wooden ones. The Earth Arch Stacker (£20) and the Toy Cars (£18) by Raduga Grez - sold via the wonderful Petits Paladins online store - are fantastic pieces to encourage imaginative play. They have been made by a small family run business that controls its entire production process - cutting, drying and manufacturing - themselves, therefore having the ability to control and reduce wastage.

               


              8. A journal

              There are many books out there that allow you to capture, through written word, the precious moments experienced in the first year of the child’s life. I had one for my son, which I would regularly update, and now my son is 18 months old, he already loves to read the stories and look at the photos together. Since we reached his 1st birthday however, I stopped documenting as I didn’t have anywhere to write….. That’s why the journals from Month of Sundays (£38) are so great - they cover from pregnancy right up unil to the child's eighteenth birthday! They are handmade from the highest quality materials, and every order is sent out gift wrapped. They make the perfect gift for parents to be able to document their child's journey for them - all the way from infancy to adulthood. It’s a gift that keeps on giving! 

               

               

              9. Something Personalised for the baby

              A unique personalised gift for the new arrival can be a very precious gift. The item, depending what it is, can be kept for many years to come. We love Leo and Wilf’s handmade embroidery hoops. You can choose from name OR initial, or name AND initial, date of birthday or something completely personalised (from £20, pictured below). They also have rainbows and alphabets etc as standard - so many options! We also love Lisa Stickley’s Phonic Alphabet Poster (from £24) that can be personalised with your child’s name. The alphabet is drawn in Lisa’s unique hand drawn style with each letter of the alphabet illustrated 'as it sounds'. 

                 

                10. Food! (for the parents)

                A gift that new parents will always receive with open arms, is pre-prepared meals. With so many changes to the previous life rhythm to adjust to, and a new baby to admire, having to cook is the last thing you want to have to do. With lockdown in place, grandparents or the helping hands friends also can’t come and stay to help out around the house. The Food Doula to the rescue(!) delivering bundles of nourishing and comforting, home-cooked dishes to your door. All their food is personally sourced, and sold in bundles (from £65), with free range, grass-fed meats and high-quality seasonal vegetables. Every dish is prepared and immediately frozen, locking in nutrients, so that they can be enjoyed whenever the parents need them most.