Why We’re Taking It Slow

Organic linen romper - neutral baby clothes by Freya Lillie

We all have those key pieces in our wardrobe which we wear every Summer or every Winter.  They don’t stand out as being Spring Summer 2004 or Autumn Winter 2010.  They are just those pieces of clothing that we love and are comfortable in, so we tend to wear them quite a lot.

So let’s go through the rest of your wardrobe, those strangely coloured pants, that dotty shirt or bizarre (what was i thinking) printed dress.  Clothes you bought because at the time they looked great and were right on trend, but realistically you’ve worn a hand full of times and most probably won’t wear again.

This is wear the slow fashion movement that we’re proud to follow comes in.

Slow Fashion

So what it is? Slow fashion is exactly what we mentioned above.  It’s clothing that can be worn all year round.  It’s clothing made from quality materials, designed to last. Clothing made from sustainable materials and not mass produced.  Fast fashion sees so much clothing sent to landfill each year. Consumers must be more demanding in the quality of their clothing to ensure it lasts and can be passed on.  Loved clothes last!

Choosing where your clothing will end up is as important as where it came from.  Although the working conditions of where your clothing is made is very important. Do you know where the outfit you wore today was made and the conditions the workers were under?

Did you know it takes a piece of lycra sportswear anywhere from 20 to 200 years to decompose in a landfill. Roughly £140 million (350,000 tonnes) of clothing goes to landfill in the UK alone every year.  There the decomposing clothing release methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.  Our poor little planet!

Freya Lillie

Natural linen romper - neutral baby clothes by Freya Lillie

Worn in Winter…worn in Summer

We understand that at some point people have to care about these issues and that’s why we pride ourselves on being a sustainable luxury brand.  We are passionate about our baby and children’s clothing but we really love our planet too.  Our clothing is made from sustainable materials.  Linen doesn’t need fertilisers to grow and it’s biodegradable.  So no 200 years decomposing. In fact linen is one of the most toughest and durable materials there is, luxurious in the way it is formed.  It becomes softer with each and every wash and is antibacterial which is great for us Mum’s who worry far too much.

We don’t use loud colours or noisy patterns that may date, we create key pieces which can be layered up or down and worn all year round.  Many of our items are gender neutral so can be passed on to boys or girls.

We don’t follow fast fashion, many of our items stay all year round.  We add new additions each season to keep things fresh and new and we certainly don’t mass produce.

We’ve tried to size our clothing so it grows with your child, which is why we use adjustable fastening too. Oh and if we haven’t mentioned it before, our clothing is made here in the UK by two lovely teams of seamstresses.

Conclusion

So what we’re trying to say is that loved clothes last, just take a look at your own key pieces. How much money and waste could you have saved not purchasing those impulse buys?

Don’t ever compromise on stye but be aware of where and how your clothing is made and who made it.  Whether it’s baby girls dresses or baby boy clothing, give your purchases a little thought and feel good in the choices you make.

 

Michelle xx

 

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Holidaying with a Baby – How Too?

Happy holidays

Happy holidays

Blazing hot sunshine, the sound of the crisp ocean waves, ice cold drink in my hand and the dull beats of a little music playlist i created myself, we won’t go into what’s included on that playlist, let’s just say I’m an easy listener. When i close my eyes and think of these delightful thoughts i’m right back to my Summer holiday, total relaxation. One year on, add in a small baby to the mix and things are a little different. Don’t get me wrong, our Summer holiday may have been different but was i still relaxed, did i have a good time, would i go and do it all over again? Yes, yes and without a doubt is my answer.

Freya's first holiday

Freya’s first holiday

Freya was 6 months when we took her to the South of Spain in September along with her teenager brother. The difference being, he only needed an electronic device and wifi and he was happy. We opted for a place not too far to travel and where the temperatures would be milder than the likes of Egypt, little did we know they were going to reach the high 30’s. We had no idea what Freya was going to be like in warmer climates, luckily she’s like her mummy and loves the sunshine. Although she had set times for her bottle, extras were added in to make sure she was getting enough fluids, funnily, she didn’t seem to mind having those extra bottles.

The view from the balcony

The view from the balcony

Passport
First on the holiday to do list was Freya’s passport, let’s do it ourselves we said,how hard could it be? That was our first mistake, why did we think we would be able to lie Freya on a white sheet and it wouldn’t crinkle? Crinkling was a no no according to the government website which tried to guide us. Now i have no idea what we were thinking, but myself and Mark, Freya’s daddy, decided to try a photo booth next. How was that ever going to work you may ask, you are right to ask, it didn’t work. There was always a head or hands in the way and they weren’t Freya’s. So we did what we should have in the beginning and went to our local photographers studio, ten minutes it took, he took the photos, photoshopped my hands out and printed them straight off all for £5.

Lightweight colourful clothing

Lightweight colourful clothing

What to pack
Suncreams, make sure you take two different brands incase one doesn’t agree with baby skin, check out other mum’s reviews on the products you buy as we all know, mum’s know best. Take a well equipped first aid kit with ointments for burns (more likely to be used on our teenager) rehydration powders suitable for babies, paracetamol incase your little one develops a temperature, sterile wipes, teething gel, antiseptic cream. Be prepared!

Freya’s clothing consisted of lots of light cotton garments, water suits for the pool and sun hats, the majority of the time she was in her nappy, but at night times when temperatures were still late 20’s, light weight clothes were a must.

Don’t forget to pack your baby monitors too if your in a villa, just for peace of mind and sterilising tablets, much easier than taking an actual steriliser.

Hats, hats, hats

Hats, hats, hats

Before you go
Research, research, research! Whether you are staying in a villa or a hotel, whoever you are booking it with will be able to help. Questions you need to ask; Where is your closest GP/Pharmacy? If your baby falls ill you need to know how to get help and where to go. Is there a nearby supermarket? If you need to purchase nappies and formula milk instead of packing them in your case, you need a supermarket. Don’t just assume that one of the corner shops where you’ll be purchasing your rubber dinghy will have a stock of products such as Pampers and SMA.

Don’t forget to add to your insurance too and apply for your European Health Insurance card too, this will allow you to access state provided healthcare in European countries for free or a reduced cost, it’s not an alternative to travel insurance!

Have you booked a transfer, now this played on my mind, travelling for 40 minutes in a taxi with no carseat, i couldn’t relax. I’m not saying that Spanish drivers are bad drivers, but have you ever noticed how many cars are in need of a little bit of paint work? If they weren’t covered in dust it was fairly large dints in the side. So, after a little bit of googling i found a whole host of taxi transfers who offered safety seats and it only cost an extra £10…and relax.

Love my pushchair

Love my pushchair

The Journey
At 6 months Freya was drinking formula milk, taking a couple of sealed preprepared bottles and one ready made plus a few sterile bottles, we were good to go. Make sure you work out how many are needed for the journey and what to take in your carry on bag. Airport security may make you test your baby’s milk, although we didn’t have too. Airport security also make you put down your pushchair to go through the scanners, now this is a pain, especially when they are settled and sleeping and you have to take off clothing. My advice, wear slip on shoes, no belts or jewellery, it makes the process so much easier.

Airlines do allow pushchairs to be checked in free of charge providing they are under a certain weight. It’s great as they can stay in the pushchair right up until boarding. We decided to purchase a lightweight pushchair to take with us for ease and because our main pushchair was a little expensive and i’ve seen on TV how they handle baggage. If something does happen to your pushchair you may be entitled to compensation, contact the airline direct.

Now, if you’re anything like my other half, you will panic that you’re going to be that family with the screaming child, no one wants to be that family. Luckily we weren’t, in fact Freya actually fell asleep at take off, the plane had the same effect as the car journey, what a relief. She didn’t stay asleep for 3 hours but we were prepared with snacks and toys (including iPad with cartoons), she liked walking up and down the aisle with me too and people watching, i think she gets that from her mummy too. But seriously, the 3 hour flight was fine going out and returning provided she was entertained, different snacks to sample, able to sleep and able to move about. We did however play pass the parcel between us both and big brother, which helped enormously.

Aeroplane selfie

Aeroplane selfie

The Venue
We opted for a villa, a home away from home, our own pool to have fun or relax, peace and quiet (we’re talking other people’s kid’s) and the ability to pop in and out when we want and walk around in our pants should we choose too. No taking bags of products and essentials to the pool each day, we just nipped inside. A lovely balcony to sit and relax at night usually with a deck of cards and nibbles…oh and the baby monitor of course. We had a fully fitted kitchen to sterilise bottles and do any needed laundry, they may be tiny but they generate some washing. For us it was perfect and it was no more expensive than staying in a nice hotel. We use www.holidaylettings.co.uk and www.owndersdirect.co.uk, but make sure you read reviews before booking!

Both of my babies

Both of my babies

 

Day/Night

Now what? First things first, trip to the supermarket for the men, the traditional stock up of water, a few beers, sweet treats, ice cream treats, fresh fruit, supplies for the BBQ (always make sure your villa has a BBQ, there’s nothing better than a family BBQ in the warm dark nights) supplies for breakfast, lunch and coffee for the caffetiere, perfect for sitting on the balcony early morning watching the sun rise. This supermarket visit also included nappies and formula milk, which were so much cheaper than at home too but just as good (maybe even better). Mummy and Freya unpacked and explored what would be home for the next week.

Roll on Summer holiday 2015

Roll on Summer holiday 2015

IMG_0591

Family selfie…perfect

 

Days would consist of breakfast on the balcony, a wander to explore the area, mummy and daddy would take turns having an hour each on the morning or in the afternoon to lie in the sunshine and relax whilst little madam stayed indoors where it was cool. This part of the day for me was a very warm welcome, i enjoyed every minute of that relaxation in the sun and i would urge everyone to do the same. We still had lots of play time, Freya loved the pool and it was nice and cool for her too, another must for a villa.
Early evenings when the temperature started to dip, we would take a short taxi ride to the marina for a stroll and a bite to eat and end the night with Freya in bed and us three on the balcony competing for the crown of Jacks, Two’s and Eights, a very competitive card game. A one that i seem to be very bad at!
For me, that’s a pretty perfect holiday, the people love most together in the sunshine with no real stresses other than where to eat that evening. Roll on the next Summer holiday.

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The Good Intentions of a New Mummy…hello reality!

How many of you pregnant ladies have walked past the shops with cute little dresses in the window and said ‘i cant wait to have this baby’ or tucked into chips and curry at lunch time and thought ‘i’ll worry about it after the baby’.  Who assumed that they would be totally motivated to get that lovely slim and toned body back within months of giving birth, joining the gym and cutting down on those pregnancy treats?  I think it’s safe to say the majority of us new mummies have all good intentions, until reality hits!

Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are achievable but drive, determination and discipline are a necessity (as well as a well behaved child and babysitters).  I have to admit, Freya used to just sleep for most of the day but because i had been up most of the night expressing milk and feeding, I needed sleep during the day too. I’m sure days used to be 24 hours long, when did they get cut short and why wasn’t i informed?

It seems like i had a few good intentions whilst being pregnant, they’re still a working progress, but here’s a few of the many…

 Exercise, exercise, exercise 

Morning exercise

Morning exercise

Big plans i had, boot camp, personal trainers, I was going to have a body better than before getting pregnant, i’m still waiting for these plans to take effect.  I don’t know about other mum’s but the day goes over so quickly and yet I feel like I haven’t done anything, so by the time night time hits and it’s time for Freya’s bed can I really be bothered for the gym, usually no! I do try and go to Metafit twice a week as they are high intensity classes which only last half an hour and my god do i sweat. I have the odd session in the gym too but i’ll be honest, i’m not the most disciplined person which is why i need a high intensity class and someone telling me what to do. If I don’t think about going to the gym or my class I am more likely to go, if I give it too much thought, I talk myself out of it.  I know, i’m terrible, bye bye toned tummy. I’m aiming for the New Year 🙂

Lose weight – healthy eating

Healthy food

Healthy food

I loved having my big bump, even though i only got to 29 weeks I still gained well over a stone in weight and when you take into account Freya was only 3lbs, that’s still some excess weight to lose. I’d love to know how these celebs add photos to Instagram almost minutes later with a tight toned tummy, did they get some work done straight after giving birth or have they had their head photoshopped onto a Victoria Secret model or maybe they are super human?! These are the only logical answers I can think of!

To be fair I do eat quite healthy Monday to Thursday with a typical day consisting of eggs for breakfast, some fruit mid morning, a couple of lattes (skinny of course) salad wrap for lunch and for tea maybe fish or meat with veg unless its cold outside and then it’s something like shepherds pie or mince and dumplings, I love traditional food and so do my boys (and now my girl too).

The problem hits on a Friday, in my head weekends are for eating junk and drinking wine.  Takeaways, chocolate, cookies, a couple of beers a few glasses of wine and this doesn’t just last Friday, this is Friday, Saturday and Sunday and guess what, i bloody well enjoy it, so do I really want to sacrifice that so my tummy can be a little flatter? I don’t think I do! How many people are really happy with their body and the way they look, everyone i talk to always want to change something, bigger bum, smaller waist, tighter tummy, bigger or smaller bust, more curvy, more skinny, it’s a vicious circle, so i’m learning to be happy with the way I am and enjoy my life. I’ll continue with eating healthy and going to the gym when I can, but more so because I want a healthier lifestyle and…I want to pig out at the weekend,life’s too short!!

Baby groups 

Swimming baby

Swimming baby

Oh i’ve seen some baby massage classes, some sing along classes, Waterbabies classes, we’ll have plenty of time to do them, it will be so much fun.  Bad parent alert! We attend one class, Waterbabies, if someone hadn’t cut the days down from 24 hours I would probably be able to fit more in, not my fault, blame the time changer!

In all honesty I love Waterbabies more than I thought, not only do I see Freya learn new skills that could potentially help her and save her life but it’s such a good bonding experience too, I love our time in the pool.  Maybe I should make the effort to go to other classes but when you throw having a teenager and the other half in the mix, cleaning, cooking and general dogsbody, there ain’t that much time to dedicate to much else and sometimes it’s just nice to sit and do nothing but play and have story time.

Date night 

Couple

Couple

Something i do feel quite strongly about, I know it’s hard leaving your little cherubs with that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach, worried something might happen, guilty for leaving them in the first place but you can forget what it was like when it was just the 2 of you.  You can very easily become ships that pass in the night, stop laughing together, those conversations about future goals and dreams or places you want to visit fade away. Now i’m not saying this will happen to you if you don’t have date night, i’m no relationship expert, but, when Mark and I have our monthly date night (intentions were to have it weekly), the grandparents come over to babysit, we go and eat nice food, have several drinks and just talk for hours and yes Freya and Liam are mentioned quite a lot as well as numerous texts to check they are OK.  But on that night we are Mark and Michelle, there is no TV or computer screen to distract us and it’s just us, laughing and talking and making plans together.  We go home feeling that little bit closer with a smile that little bit bigger and Freya and Liam wake up with a mummy and daddy that are that little bit happier!

Baby homemade food  

Food face

Food face

Does it make me a bad Mam buying jars of food as well as making homemade baby food? I wont lie, it makes me feel a little guilty but then I give my head a shake.  I very rarely give Freya sugary treats, other than milk she drinks cooled boiled water, she eats fruit and veg until it’s coming out of her ears, so a jar of Grandpas Sunday Lunch when mummy is having salad for tea, is probably the better option.  Why do us mummy’s give ourselves such a hard time.  As long as our babies are fed, well nourished, happy and healthy then I reckon we must be doing something right?!

Spontaneity  

Shopping bags

Shopping bags

Can’t wait for my maternity leave, I can go shopping when I want, lunch with my friends and family, take my little angel to the park, it’s going to be great, i’ll have so much time.  Reality…let’s stay home today, it’s easier and costs less.  It’s like a military operation; clean and appropriately dressed baby – check, bottle of milk and baby food – check, nappies, wipes and nappy sacks – check, clean change of clothing (for any mishaps) – check, bibs and muslin cloths – check, toy for entertainment – check, mummy’s purse, mobile and keys – check, clean and appropriately dressed mummy, whoops I knew there was something I forgot!

You do get used to it and learn to be more organised and have certain things already packed to take with you but simple tasks such as having a shower (not even including washing your hair) is now a challenge in itself.  I have stations around the house for this task, our bathroom has a chair and toys suitable for Freya to sit for 10 minutes max while I have a shower, then we move on to the dressing room, play mat with her dolly where she will lie for another 10 minutes max while mummy puts on her clothes, then move on to the dressing table to hopefully grab 5 minutes to hide those dark circles, Freya will now be in the ‘i’m bored now’ mode and have a certain pitch to her twist that pierces the centre of my brain.  Ok you win, lets go.

I do still like my lunches with my friends and trips out, but I really enjoy staying home too, playing with Freya and pottering around the house.

So, the purpose of todays blog…to let other mummy’s know that they aren’t alone and you are infact normal(well according to me anyway). Yes your tummy may still have a slight wobble, you may not have all that free time you hoped for, your poor baby may have to live with only one baby class per week and even eat baby food that’s not homemade, but, you have a tiny little person who you love so much you could just self combust, you feel it and they feel it, that’s what’s important.

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It’s a girl!

It's a girl

It’s a girl

Its a girl! Thats when my obsession into baby clothing started, the moment the sonographer said those 3 little words. I couldn’t wait to log online and see what gorgeous clothing i could find and hit all the shops, she was going to be dressed like a princess. I already had my son Liam, he was 13 when i found out i was pregnant, shopping for teenagers just isnt the same, especially when they have their own mind and hate everything you like, so i was super excited to start shopping for little baby clothing. My partner Mark knew he didnt really have much of a choice, but i know he secretly liked looking at the cute clothing and getting excited for her arrival.

Announcing on social media i was having a little girl i started to take notice of the numerous baby photos.  It seemed everyone had a baby or was about too.  Far too often i would be browsing my social media news feed and see at least 5 adorable babies knowing exactly where mummy had been shopping for that outfit. I wanted to give my own daughter when she arrived a little more individuality and variety, research further afield and to see what was out there. Thats when i had my light bulb moment! Lets bring all these great brands which are less known together under one roof and offer mums another choice.

Although some of our products can be found in stores such as Selfridges and Harrods, the aim was and still is, to try and stay away from mass produced high street clothing.  We know that most mums have purchased clothing from the high street stores (and theres certainly nothing wrong with that) but we wanted to offer a little variation,give mums a choice should they wish to take it

So my research started, i had lots of fun spending hours and days searching for clothing and i really enjoyed it, i knew there was going to be lots of work late into the evening and during baby naps but i was super excited and so very motivated. Id spent years lecturing Business, now was the time to practice what i preached.

Born prematurely at 29 weeks Freya was so small and delicate, we certainly werent expecting her arrival so soon, I’ve never seen so many wires and tubes hooked up to something so small. Freya spent 6 weeks in hospital and her days in intensive care were some of the worst of my life.  My googling global brands had turned into googling survival rates, complications with premature babies, there were a hundred questions i needed answering, it was non stop. However, as im writing this, shes now 7 months old and is most definitely a diva in the making, i have no one to blame but myself for that, but she is happy and healthy and makes me smile everyday. 

As Freya was so small and that little bit more precious, i found myself looking at labels and what chemicals were in her skincare and even clothing, i was quite shocked and never even thought to look before, thats when my business idea took a bit of a turn and i started researching organic products.  I wanted to use natural products on her delicate skin without the use of any pesticides or harsh chemicals. I found some lovely products, skincare in particularly was very important, all of which i have tried and tested and offer on the Freya Lillie website and i can testify that Freya has super soft skin.  Organics may not be for everyone but i wanted to give mums that choice should they wish to take it. I know some mums might not fully know what benefits there are to organics so we have dedicated a page on the website, just to try and explain a little further. It feels good to be helping the environment too, we also decided to use recycled packaging for our customers to go that one step further.

The day we were able to take Freya home, well i cant even describe what it felt like, but i know both myself and Mark felt it. We were very thankful to everyone who had helped us so Mark and I decided like so many other people in our situation, that we wanted to give something back to those all that helped us and were there for us, not just for the 6 weeks Freya was in hospital but who still support us now and check how our little dot is doing and developing.  Thats when we decided 5% of all profits would go to Tiny Lives charity who help sick and premature babies and carry out vital research. As well as this we are hoping to take part in events to raise money for local neonatal units and to put together little packs for parents who end up in the same situation as usunprepared with certainly no premature clothing and the last thing on your mind is shopping.  If we can help even just one person then we have made a difference and we will be happy. Our page Freyas Story is a detailed account of what it was like giving birth to a premature baby and we hope that some other parents out there who want to know what comes next, can read our story and feel some kind of comfort.

We really hope you like our products, i will continue researching and adding fresh new labels and products as much as possible. Feel free to ask any questions!