Darlo – A Little Giving

 

IMG_8132In India, 1 in every 3 children is malnourished according to Unicef. When you grow up in India, it is very easy to become indifferent and unaffected with all the poverty around you. But not to a new pair of eyes from a different country.

In 2012, when Chloe went on her holiday to India, she was shocked by the lack of basic sustenance available to children. On her return back to the UK, she spoke to her partner (now husband) Jim and decided to give birth to her brainchild. Every purchase from Darlo contribute’s to a week’s worth of school meal for a child in India. Darlo works in partnership with The Akshaya Patra Foundation who organise and run mid-day meal scheme in schools. For some families, meals might be a good & only excuse to send their kids to school than leave them to beg on the streets. Children, invariably also get education which will only benefit them in their future.

Bubble 438Set up in 2014, Darlo has already contributed over 1000 weeks of meals in India. When I went to the Baby Show in early 2016 with my 7 months old pregnant belly, my husband met Jim and was completely inspired by their little enterprise. My husband knew that here’s a company I would totally like to associate myself with. We brought a few clothes for our baby and Chloe also sent us some goodies to try on. Ever since I learnt about Darlo, I knew I was going to spread the word about their good work and so here I am!

Darlo makes clothing for babies. All their clothing is organic and ethically made. Even the cotton used has no pesticides, insecticides or chemicals. Did you know that cotton farming uses 16% of world’s insecticides, pesticides and herbicides? By choosing organic, we contribute to cleaner air and water to the farmers and their surrounding areas.

Darlo made it to the beach in Margate

Darlo made it to the beach in Margate

We received a set of coral and mint coloured joggers and a matching t-shirt. The material is so soft to touch and the bright colours only brightens up my baby’s features.  We often struggle with high street brands when it comes to trousers as they don’t fit very well around cloth nappies. But Darlo joggers are very wide, perfect for a cloth nappy bum. The drawstrings (not the fake ones as many high street joggers have) make it easier to achieve the perfect fit. The t-shirts have two poppers on the shoulders making the neck wide enough to put on the baby without gagging him.

We received so many compliments when Baby Roshan was wearing this set. This set is our go to apparel for Roshan. Everytime someone came to see him, I think I have dressed him in this set just because he looks extra scrumptious in it. Roshan seems so comfortable in it. Because it is made out of organic cotton, it is not only good as a summer wear; but also good for those cooler nights due to the long sleeves. I am about to order more of these for the winter coming up.

I love supporting small companies like Darlo. For me, it is an easy way to making a difference. In today’s time when money is tight, like many, I often find reasons to spend my money on MY needs than to put some cash aside for charity. With a new baby, every disposable cash I would have I’d want to spend it on cute baby stuff. I know it is selfish, but I am sure everyone would know the feeling. Hence, Darlo is my saviour. I can buy organic and ethical stuff for my baby knowing that it is not only keeping my baby comfortable but also keeping hundreds of children well-fed and nourished!

To find out more about Darlo’s ethical babywear and one feed one philosophy checkout their website: http://www.alittlegiving.com/

p.S: All my readers will get a whopping 50% off their purchases with the code “alittlegiving”.

 

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LANA Care For Mummy And Baby

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The very first garment that touched my baby after he was born was made of organic merino wool by Lana Care.

When I was pregnant, Lana Care asked me if they could send me some woollen breast pads to try on. Now anyone who knows me will very well know that I am very careful about which brands I associate myself with and that I try my best to survive on products manufactured with a very high ethical value and are sustainable. I am in short a nature loving person and I like things to be as eco-friendly as possible. So when Lana Care offered me goodies, I simply couldn’t resist.

Lana Care is a small Danish company manufacturing a range of products for mothers and babies. Their product is made of world class organic merino wool

Lana Care, sent me a pair of breast pads, little booties and a bonnet for my little bub. I thought that was extremely generous of them. I was not expecting goodies for the baby at all. So that was a very pleasant surprise. On arrival, I was so impressed with the products. They were so soft and smelt so clean and pure. It basically smelt of nothing, not even of new fabric out of the factory (if you know what I mean). I could not wait to try them on my baby and myself. Infact, I was so desperate to use the breastpads, I was secretly hoping to leak a little as a lot of pregnant women apparently do.

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about wool before. And, that is because I had no idea about this exquisite breed of sheep called Merino. I was also a little apprehensive about wool in general because I was having a spring baby. Somehow, when you think of spring you think cotton and linen NOT wool. But on doing further research, I learnt that wool especially a high quality wool like Merino has a unique quality of controlling body temperature in such a way that it keeps you warm in cold weather (as we all know) but it also keeps you cool in warm weather. So it is like having an in-built air-conditioning in your clothing.

Why Lana Care?

Pure:

Because they love and care for their sheep. They do not use any pesticides on the pastures on which the sheep graze, they don’t spray any harsh chemicals on the wool nor do they treat the wool. The merino wool is as pure and natural as can be.

Mulesing Free:

For those who aren’t aware (I wasn’t),  mulesing is a very crude way of vaccinating the sheep to prevent them from a fly strike. Lana Care is strictly against this procedure, which I love!

Soft and Comfortable:

Merino Wool itself is very soft and fine. But Lana Care stitches the seams of it’s products on the outside, preventing them to rub directly on to the skin making it very soft on baby skin or sore boobs. Unlike other wool, merino wool is very soft and does not cause any itchiness to the skin, perfect for sensitive or eczema prone skin!

Let’s have a look at the products:

Bonnet:

IMG_6922These little caps/bonnets are the cutest things I have in my baby’s wardrobe. I am a very big fan of bonnets on babies. Lana Care’s bonnet was the first thing my baby wore to keep him warm. My baby was born very small. He needed to be kept extra warm, and although I was skeptical about using wool on him before, I was actually thankful that I had them handy. They kept my baby nice and warm.

Over the next few weeks, I noticed how well my baby slept when wearing them. I think that was because it helped regulate his body temperature better. It kept him cool when too hot and vice-versa.

I was also very happy with the choice of colour – pale yellow. It was a soothing reminder of spring in it’s glory awaiting the summer.

Booties:

lanaThese booties make me go ‘awww’ everytime. The soft green colour reminds me of the clean pastures on which the sheep graze on. These booties were my baby’s sock alternative. Newborn babies tend to have very cold feet and hands. As a new mother, no matter how many times the midwives reassure you that it is normal you want to make sure that they remain warm like yours. The risk is over-heating them by covering them up too much especially if you have a spring/summer baby. This is when these booties came handy. I used to pop them on everytime he wasn’t being swaddled to keep those little toes warm. I did it confidently even on a relatively warm day because I knew there was no risk of over-heating as they would keep him cool if his body temperature sore up.

Sizing of these boots are very practical. My baby was born small and hence had very tiny feet. None of the clothes we brought for him fit him. But these booties were a great fit. Although the boots had a lot of space in them to be filled, the woollen strings helped keep the booties on his feet nice and snug without coming off. Another miraculous thing about Merino wool I found was that they have a natural elasticity to them. So even now at week 16, when my baby should have grown out of these booties, these boots have enough give in them to last him for another few weeks (bear in mind my baby has stayed in these longer partly due to his small stature).

BreastPads:

Copyrights: woolykids.com

Copyrights: woolykids.com

Breast pads were my breast-friends for a while, I have to say. They are super soft, completely breatheable, extremely absorbent and totally reusable.

The sizing of the breast pads are on the larger side I would say. I was sent a size small, and they fit charmingly on my C sized cups.

Although extremely absorbent (of sweat in my case), these breast pads do a lot more than simply absorbing moisture. I had/have no problems with leaking yet but I suffered badly with soreness on my nips nonetheless. I had cracked nipples for a while, then a recurring bleb and sore lumps from engorgement in the first few weeks.

The soft wool helped sooth my sore boobs a lot. A lot of nursing mothers would relate to hard nipples. Double it up with a crack or a bleb, have it rubbing against your t-shirt or a bra? Even worse your disposable paper/plastic breast pads = OUCH! Not with Lana Care’s BreastPads!

These reusable breast pads have natural lanolin in them. it means that you don’t necessarily have to apply additional lanolin on your nips to heal and sooth your soreness.

All the products are very easy to wash and requires minimum maintenance. I can’t wait to try them out in autumn/winter now. I am an absolute wool convert and a merino snob !

Zoe Bee Beauty Cream – Review

Courtesy: Zoe Bee

Courtesy: Zoe Bee

I am a big fan of natural products that are easy on the skin. When I was growing up there was a distinct difference between grown up creams and child friendly creams because grown up products often had harsh chemicals that were unsuitable for baby skin. But now as a grown up, I have come to realise that our skin is no less important than any baby skin, given it is one of the largest organ in our body. So if a cream claims to be healthy for our skin but not for children, then it is best to kept away from.

Now since, this pregnancy, I have been after products that are not only good for me but also for the baby when it arrives. A friend of mine suggested someone she knew who makes amazing natural creams from her home. And that is how I got in touch with Zoe. She was very kind to make a blend for me and my baby.

The blend she made for us is rich with raw shea butter and raw cocoa butter, unrefined coconut oil, almond oil, vitamin e oil and aloe vera. Now, don’t you like the fact that you can name and understand each and every ingredient that went into this little jar of magic? There are different scents to pick from but the one she sent me was lavender and pachouli , although you can choose to have no scent at all. But I find no scent a bit meh.

The cream is so rich that it almost feels like wax in your hand. You need to rub a pea sized portion in between your palms until you see nothing but scrumptious oils before you rub it all over your skin. I have to be honest that it took a fair bit of getting used to personally. But I think I struggled with the scent more than the actual cream itself. The time when I received it was when I was suffering from acute hypermesis and any enhanced scent would put me off. And it is only now that I have realised that strangely, during this pregnancy, I cannot stand my favourite smell of lavender anymore. So I won’t blame the cream or it’s scent but my pregnancy.

One thing to note is that it is so rich that it is not friendly for all weather. During winter though, it is a delight. It is absorbed by the skin very well leaving it slightly greasy but not off putting(ly) so. I reckon in summer, it might be a different story. Perhaps, use it over night or change the blend for spring/summer. The best thing about it is that Zoe is so accomodating that she will make a blend to your own requirement.

Although not meant for eczema, it worked a charm on my children’s eczema prone skin. They totally love the smell and it makes them feel that much more special to be using ‘mummy’s cream’ which is a rare delight.

This blend has surely made me curious to try out some of her other products, definitely!

Zoe Bee’s shop can be found on Etsy or here.

 

P.S: This post was sponsored by Zoe Bee Beauty

 

Beetroot and Avacado Salad

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Unlike many, I am not a big fan of beetroot. So when my veggie box came with locally produced yummy beetroot, I had to get creative. This is a very simple yet healthy recipe. My curry eating aunty even enjoyed it for her dinner – which was an achievement in itself.

Ingredients:

3 beetroots, sliced

2 avacados, sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 sprig of chopped spring onions

handful of coriander (chopped)

few mint sprigs, chopped

1 can of broad beans (or soy beans or chick peas even)

Dressing:

3-4 tsp of olive oil

2 tsp cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

2-3 tsp of honey

Salt to taste

few drops of tobasco

Method:

For the beetroot, cook them whole (easier if using pressure cooker) and then peel and slice them.

If using raw broad beans, make sure you blanch it in salt water.

Mix all the ingredients and set aside.

For the dressing, combine the ingredients and stir it very well. Then add the dressing in the salad. Toss and serve.

We served it with fish cakes and garlic bread. But it will be good for a meal in itself for lunch boxes as well.

 

 

Halloumi with Apples and Mixed Salad Leaves

This is a very simple yet tasty and light salad, perfect for days when you aren’t very hungry but wouldn’t mind eating something before going to bed. A wholesome healthy meal!

IMG_4565

Ingredients:

A bag of Mixed Salad Leaves

Handful of Cherry Tomatoes (cut into half)

1 Packet of Halloumi (we cut them into 4 parts for two of us)

1 Apple

Sprinkling of flour

Butter for frying

Dressing:

Olive oil

A sprinkling of Oregano

Balsamic Vinegar

Salt

Sugar

Mustard ( any you prefer)

Lime/lemon juice (optional)

Method:

For the salad, just chop the apples into long thin stripes or julienne as they call it. Toss in the a bowl with mixed salad leaves & tomatoes. Set aside.

Now, prepare the ingredients for the dressing. For convenience, remember the measurement of 2:1 for olive oil and balsamic vinegar respectively. Everything else, add a little bit at a time. Taste and add more until it is perfect. Set it aside.

Now for the halloumi, sprinkle and tap some flour on each side of halloumi and fry it in butter on a hot pan. Let it brown for a minute or two and turn over. Alternatively, you can grill the cheese if you have a grill. I would suggest putting a tinned foil at the bottom of the grill, just incase the cheese sticks at the bottom.

Toss the dressing in with the salad and plate it out with the crispy savoury halloumi on top. Enjoy with fresh glass of orange juice!!

P.S: Please try and use organic and fair trade products as much as possible. We can’t eradicate but can reduce negative environmental impacts on our plant in this lifetime.

Homemade Fishcakes with Pineapple and Rocket Salad

Knowing what goes into your meal is an important aspect of healthy eating. Homemade fishcakes are easy to make and taste way better than frozen ones or ready made ones from the shops. Making them at home also means you know exactly what is going into your fishcakes and you can quality control the ingredients whilst maintaining a budget.

I love making fishcakes at home, because it helps me pick sustainable fishes freshly caught by our local fishmonger, add my preferred flavours, control the seasoning and avoid all the junk that goes into the ready made fishcakes from the supermarket.

My fishcake recipe can be made with any kind of fish you can get hold of or add a bit of tofu/paneer/soy to make a vegetarian version. Add extra breadcrumbs instead of eggs to make it all vegan friendly. Play around with the recipe and enjoy!

Fishcakes:

IMG_4530

Ingredients:

2 Coley/Cod/Mackerel/Tuna fillet (cooked, simply boil them in water)

1 part Potato and 1 part Swede (cooked and mashed)

1 Cup Spring Onions (Chopped)

Handful of Coriander (Chopped)

1 Egg

1/2 Cup of Breadcrumbs (or oat crumbs)

1 tbsp Rice Flour

Salt and Pepper

Oil

Method:

Mix all the ingredients together (except oil) and carefully shape them into cakes. Let them sit in the fridge for about an hour or so. Now, heat oil in a pan and then shallow fry the fish cakes until nice and brown. Turn the heat down and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Alternatively, you could pop the fishcakes into a pre-heated oven on gas mark 5, for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure that it is cooked through and warm right through the centre. Leave them on a kitchen paper to drain all the excess oil. Serve hot with a side of my Pineapple and Rocket salad (below) and some garlic bread!

Pineapple and Rocket Salad

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Ingredients:

Handful of Rockets

A few Spinach leaves

Handful of Basil and Coriander

Handful of Sprouts

1 cup chopped Pineapple

3 tbsp desiccated coconut (fresh coconut is better)

For the dressing:

5 to 6 cloves of Garlic

1 inch of Ginger

2 Chillies (or less)

Hoison Sauce

Honey

Lime juice

Method:

Chop all the greens, add pineapple, coconut and set aside. Finely chop the garlic, ginger and chillies and set aside. Now make a dressing with poison sauce, honey and lime juice and add chopped ginger, garlic, chillies into it. Mix well and use this dressing on the salad. Yum!!

 

I hope you’ll try this at home and let me know ow it was! 🙂