The Ethical Ambush

**Originally written 23/12/2018**

Christmas carols playing, a festive candle by Self Care Co. is lit and my house is a bombsite…aaahhh Christmas is truly upon us. No point in bothering to fight the mess tonight, instead I’ve filled my dram glass with a Baileys Iced Latte (the exception to my no caffeine after 6 rule) and I’m going to empty my head of all that’s been buzzing around so I can focus on other things over the next few days!

The last two weeks have been exhausting in every way. Nothing out of the ordinary for parents of young kids, and I won’t bore you with the details, but I just need to acknowledge it so my mind can tick the box next to ‘unnecessary moaning’ and move on. 

Quick check in:

Practising gratitude A few things I have been grateful for over the last fortnight are clean bed sheets (always nice to have a baby puke free bed – even if only for a couple of hours), the curly girl method and stunning sunrises – definitely the perk of having to cross the moor so early.

One conditioner used twice and one strong hold mousse later and my stripped back version of curly girl method is reaping results! (lets ignore the wee bits of mousse at the top – point is my hair looks amazing)

Some great things I’ve experienced are Hamish’s Christmas nursery crafts #futurechristmasrelics, gingerbread flavoured matchmakers and my mother in-law coming over to help out after a particularly rough few nights.

How I’ll improve – I need to take a few big breaths before reacting to the kids when they’re acting up. Shouty mum (or in Ruby’s case whiney ‘can you please just sleep’ mum) has taken up residence and basically she’s a big boot who needs to clear off. 

TOMM Tomm who?

Exercise Holding Ruby almost 24/7 counts right? The worry is that I’ll end up looking like Trogdor as I can only hold her on my left side. Don’t know who Trogdor is? Shame on you. Go Google. My cold has almost cleared, now for pulled muscles to heal up and I’ll be back at it.

New recipes I actually have some stuff to report here! (phew). The chilli beef taco bowls were very delicious but I didn’t get any good pics so just look at the pic on the website and you’ll get the idea. I even tried topping it with the radish slices like they did – looked pretty but other wise added nothing to the overall taste.

This week we had a belated birthday dinner for my mum so I made the cheesey celeriac, leek and rosemary gratin from the 2018 Christmas issue of BBC Good Food (deffo getting my moneys worth out of this one) and as a bonus side I made a brussel sprout dish that was shared by Madeleine Shaw on Instagram.

The celeriac gratin really wasn’t that photogenic by the time it had been cooked and traveled 20 odd miles to town then reheated so lets pretend it looked like the one in the magazine.

One big success story from our cooking experiments is the date, blue cheese and polenta pancetta stacks. We made them for my dad’s birthday lunch and they were flicking amazeballs! So much so that we’ll be having them again on Christmas day (yes, we used their birthday lunches as trial runs for our Christmas menu). For my mum’s birthday my sister changed it around a bit by topping with figs roasted in butter and honey and goats cheese instead of the blue cheese, still pretty good but the original one packed more of a flavour punch.

Photo credit to my sister. My phone camera is pants.

Oh and guess what I was craving this week….white velvet soup. I even made it again and took it to work for lunch two days in a row. However I did pimp it out with the almonds, extra paprika, crispy sage and spicy chorizo croutons so every spoonful was a lovely wee surprise and much better than the original. 

A Christmas Carol…I’m partway through The Haunted Man, haven’t been near it this week but I will be finished before the month is out.

Music playlists My December Part 1 has been in heavy rotation this last couple of weeks as I have tried to stay calm and on top of things but as we approach the big day itself and get fliers throug the door for various carol services in local churches, I’m reminded that this is another year where I’ll have to miss out on them and the Watchnight services that I loved going to. I think it was 2013 that I was last at one as I was pregnant with Hamish in 2014 and too ill to do much of anything that Christmas. Instead of having a pity party I’ve made my own wee Watchnight carol playlist and will belt out ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithful’ with Chris Tomlin, ‘Joy to the World’ with Casting Crowns and ‘Hark the Herakd Angels Sing’ with Frank Sinatra instead.

Ok now to the mind dump. It all started with a post by a pal called Debbie Horrocks on instagram. She and her husband have a blog called Hope Breathes and have put together a gift guide from various companies who are actively working against human trafficking or have clear supply chains. She says that ‘it’s incredible that our spending can improve situations in the supply chain and help promote freedom’. She had also posted about doing an eco-challenge that had been set by @leswastelaura so I popped across to her instagram to find out more. Turns out she’s a Christian and a big reason behind her passion for the protection and conservation of the environment is because ‘our earth is a Holy resource, gifted to us, which we have been entrusted to care for and thrive in.’

None of this should be news to me, I’m a Christian so (like every other human being) of course I should be against human trafficking, of course I should actively try to look after this incredible planet that has been placed in our care and the third prong that also came charging into focus, of course i’m against animal cruelty. So why have I turned a blind eye for so long? It may be because I don’t think what I do matters, I’m only 1 in 7 billion people, nothing I do is going to suddenly halt the abuse of workers by giant fashion companies, any company that wants to sell in China will continue to allow their products to be tested on animals and the sea will still be filled with tonnes of plastic.

And yet, I’m raising two kids who are watching every move I make. This whole blog started as a means of keeping me accountable to a challenge I’ve set to become a better version of myself so my family gets the benefit of that. I want my kids to grow up knowing that exercise is a part of daily life not just something that you do in January for a week or two, that eating healthy food isn’t some kind of punishment but a way of nourishing your body and more importantly way tastier than any amount of fast food junk. On a global scale, no I won’t make a difference but if my kids adopt these values as their own then I’ll be quite happy with my own wee pond ripple. 

Do not despise the day of small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin… ZECHARIAH 4:10

Where to begin then? In Superdrug – it’s my new favourite shop. All their own brand toiletries and household products carry the leaping bunny symbol so to keep things easy for the time being I’ll swap out any products I have that don’t carry that symbol for theirs. So I’ve got a tick on the animal cruelty side. For the record I will never be a vegan. Sorry but I like meat. Jesus ate meat. His was most likely locally sourced and highest welfare and that’s something I will certainly aim for.

During pregnancy and whilst I continue to breast feed I am quite limited in what I can wear due to the fit in the former and the combination of being discreet yet still have easy access in the latter. Even though circumstances have dictated it, I have essentially been living out of a capsule wardrobe for over a year. What this has shown me is that I really do not need at least half the clothing I currently have. And I’m only including the stuff that fits. The rest I really need to let go of if I haven’t worn it in the 2 months prior to getting pregnant. What I’m going to aim to do going forward is to keep going with a capsule type wardrobe but as I need to replace something it will be from a carefully selected retailer, will undoubtedly cost more but will be of far superior quality to that which I normally buy and will also last longer. Now, this is just for me. Even if I won every single This Morning competition that I enter I probably couldn’t afford to kit the kids out in ethical/sustainable/organic clothing at the rate they go through them! I will keep checking which retailers are making more of an effort (e.g. H&M) and just take it from there. I’ll let Ross continue to make his own clothing decisions, I really do not need that stress in my life.

Finally, saving the planet. I currently recycle as much as I can and I absolutely hate food waste (which is a tough one with kids) so I’ve got the basics covered. I’ve recently found out about Enjo products and have ordered a skincare set that only uses cold water to wash off make up and dirt etc and hot water to release said make up and dirt. When necessary it can go through the washing machine and should last 2-3 years. If this is as good as it promises to be then goodbye to having bottles and tubes of cleansers  kicking around the bathroom and as the set cost the same as one tube of my current favourite cleanser it should save me a small fortune over it’s lifespan! I may end up going for the household products as well but one thing at a time. For other wee tips and tricks I will be keeping an eye on what @lesswastelaura suggests but sorry, like veganism there will be no moon cups here.

Trust me when I say there is no one more surprised at what I’ve just written than me. This was never in the blog plan (if you can call ‘start a blog’ a plan) or even in my near future life plan (I can never say never as who knows what future me will decide to do…this being an example) but it’s probably the safest kind of ambushing some one can experience so for that I am grateful. Might even stick that in my diary tomorrow. 

If anyone has any pearls of wisdom regarding any of the above please feel free to share! And do any of these slow fashion places produce jeggings??? Asking for a friend

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