Since I started to care more about the eco-products I use, I have been collecting different brands and trying them out. Every month on this new blog series, I will show you my favorite products. It’s time to promote the best eco-friendly products which are encouraging us to think a little greener about our consumption and to protect the environment. Here are the products I tried in February:
Natural deodorant from Ben & Anna Ben & Anna’s natural deodorant sticks have a solid consistency. Their main ingredient is shea butter and baking soda. They only use organic and biologic ingredients. They are free of aluminum, PEG’s, parabens or phthalates, vegan and cruelty-free. On the picture above, you see the pink grapefruit version. It has a nice citric smell and it feels smooth on the skin without feeling greasy or sticky. To apply, you need to push up the bottom of the tube with the thumb and then rub a thin layer of the deodorant on your skin. The tube is made of 100% carton. Read more about Ben & Anna here: https://www.ben-anna.com
You can get this deodorant at Blur in Amersfoort or online.
Milk Bamboo Sleep & Nursing Bra Due to my pregnancy, I stopped using wire bra’s and started looking for soft wireless bra’s. That’s when I found the nursing bra from Cake Maternity. It is made from a soft, sustainable bamboo yarn and it has hidden pockets for breastfeeding mamas. The materials of this bra are qualified with the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, which ensures this garment is free from harmful substances. Read more about Cake Maternity here: https://www.cakematernity.com
Weleda pomegranate regenerating body oil
Weleda is a Swiss company that makes organic skin care products. Their products are free of synthetic compounds or toxic chemicals. Instead, they use flowers, fruits, roots extracts, minerals and essential oils. This time I tried the pomegranate regenerating oil and use it on my body. Especially on my belly and on my thighs, where I have a lot of striae. The oil has a light smell and I think it’s perfect for an after shower treat. Pomegranate oil has antioxidant properties that improve the regeneration of the skin. Read more about Weleda here: http://www.weleda.nl
You can get this body oil at the ‘Natuur Winkel’, Holland & Barret, Ekoplaza or online.
Shea butter from Zoya Goes Pretty
Zoya Goes Pretty is a brand based in Bulgaria that makes organic skin care products. They use 100% raw, unrefined and organic butter. All of their blends are as simple as possible with cold-pressed shea butter and melted below 40° to keep all essential nutrients. In the process, there are no toxic chemicals used. All the products are cruelty-free and vegan as well. I used the shea butter with argan oil on my face and body. Sometimes I use it to remove my make up. I like that it doesn’t have perfume. It feels very natural and soft on my skin. Read more about Zoya Goes Pretty here: https://zoyagoespretty.com/all-products/
You can get the products of Zoya Goes Pretty at Blur in Amersfoort or online.
Matt lipstick from Alverde You got me. Lipsticks are my guilty pleasure. I love to combine them as part of my outfits. From pink to red, to purple. I like to wear them in all the shades. For me, it’s important to only use lipsticks with natural and organic ingredients. That’s why I use the ones from Alverde, a natural cosmetics brand from Germany. You can find it at any DM pharmacy store. These creamy matt lipsticks I use, are made of sunflower, jojoba and mimosa floral wax. They are easy to apply and give the lips a chic matt appearance that lasts long. Read more about Alverde here: https://www.dm.de/dm-marken/alverde/ Unfortunately, I haven’t found where to buy these products in The Netherlands. I often go to Germany and never miss to visit DM shop. If you are interested in some products, I could bring some extra next time :).
I hope you enjoy my list and that you would like to try some of the products I mentioned. Check here to see my list from January. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Scrolling through the book of Marieke Eyskoot named ‘Dit Is Een Goede Gids’, I discovered the Amsterdam based brand ‘O My Bag’.
O My Bag makes bags and accessories from eco-leather. The brand works with a small tannery in Kolkata, India, which has been run by a married couple since the 1990s. For the leather, they use cow skins from the surrounding West Bengal area to minimize the transport. Since cows are sacred in India and are not eaten, the skins come from cows that can no longer work due to their age or illness.
Eco-leather is produced with a minimal environmental impact. The tanning process adheres to strict health and environmental guidelines to prevent negative consequences for the employees, the environment and the wearer of the bags. The eco tanneries have their own wastewater treatment facility that refrains from using harmful chemicals. The tannery with which O My Bag works has extreme measures in the field of waste reduction, energy, and water saving. They use recycled rainwater for the tanning process and daylight to save resources. O My Bag supervises and ensured that all environmental conditions and eco-integrity are preserved along the production process. From energy management to water control and employee safety conditions.
Besides being eco-friendly, O My Bag is also committed to paying fair wages to the Indian workers. They also grant health benefits, pension insurance, as well as receiving education and training. They make sure thought visiting twice per year, that everything is fair and honest. On the website you can see who are the workers, how are the working conditions and how does a day of work looks like.
The bags are sewn in a nearby factory at fair trade conditions. The seamstresses receive an above-average salary and they get extra health programs and further education.
The style of the bags is timeless. Due to the good quality, the bags can last for a very long time. From O My Bag’s collection, I got the ‘Navy Diaper Bag’. I like that the color and style can be worn for both mom and dad. The exterior of the bag is made of sturdy canvas. The handles are made from dark brown eco-leather. It also comes with an adjustable strap so the bag can be worn crossbody, carried over the shoulder, or attached to the stroller. The bag looks very practical with a lot of compartments for all that the baby needs on the go.
On these series of pictures, I took the bag out for a test and shot some pictures.
Those were made by photographer Marisa Elisa Photography.
More pictures using the bag for real will follow soon ;).
What I´m wearing:
Shirt, shoes, and jacket // Second-lifestyle Amersfoort (second-hand shop)
Leggings // Erlich textil
Bag // O My Bag
Stroller // Greentom
It took me some time to accept my pregnancy. I wasn’t prepared for the changes to come, and deep inside I didn’t want anything to change. I had no other choice but to give in. Fast. Nature gives me only nine months to prepare for everything that’s about to come. From the beginning, I knew that it was going to be hard. But now at the 38th week of my pregnancy, I am surprised about how much positive things I have learned about myself and my body. What I didn’t expect was how much this change would open up my eyes to other aspects of life.
All the time I was neglecting my pregnancy I was assuming that only the worst things were going to happen. It took me some mind training and a lot of conversations to realize that it can go well as well. Getting pregnant unexpected can be fulfilling, enlightening and empowering too. It may be the hormones, but I am almost sure it was my mindset. The mind has the ability to make us go crazy but it also has the ability to make us feel better. It’s not easy, but I have learned that it’s better to let the negative thoughts go and to adopt a positive attitude. And more important: to live in the present. This has made me a better person, hopefully 🙂
I still have a lot to learn, but I thought it may be nice to share the things that pregnancy has taught me about life.
1. Inhale, exhale. Everything is OK. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.
The hardest part of my unplanned pregnancy was the strong grip of fear, doubt, and resistance for what was happening. Slowly, I have been learning to be more aware what is really going on, and that self-doubt clouds my judgment, suffocating me. Even the worst situations can turn into a better one by changing the perspective. Our minds are used to think the worst of everything instead of the best. We are pessimistic by default. Now I am finally aware of this, I find it easier to change the perspective of situations. I start to embrace my pregnancy.
2. Learn to listen to my body.
During my pregnancy, it was the first time I paid attention to my body’s needs. I used to work over-hours and skip lunches or any other meals. I never slept long and if I did, I felt guilty about it. Now I learned to listen to my body. I take the time to rest and eat and I stop when I am tired. The physical changes play a very important role here. The bigger I was growing, the less I could do. But the less I cared about that. I learned to care less when I didn’t make it to answer emails or to clean the kitchen.
3. Say no without feeling guilty.
I used to be one of those girls who says yes while my head is telling me no. I found it very hard to say no to a boss, to neglect an event I didn’t want to attend or to refuse a phone call… Now I don’t have the energy to spill it, so I have learned to choose well what I really want to do and kindly refuse what I don’t want to do. These choices led me to a happier life. I know I am not the only one here. We are not used to protecting ourselves and set boundaries.
4. Do nothing and enjoy it.
We live in a world where we always need to be doing something productive. When we meet family and friends we only discuss how well we are doing our work and how it goes financially. For me, it was very hard to go back to be a ‘kid’ and lay down on the sofa for half a day and listen to music. Or even take a nap. I was a victim of this generations motto and blamed myself for wasting my time while not being productive. Now I feel good and take more time to rest during the day. Paradoxically this gives me more energy to continue doing my things with a more positive attitude.
5. Let go of control.
This has been the biggest lesson I have learned during the pregnancy. It also has a lot to do with physical changes. I used to plan my to-do list every morning and be very strict with it. Even if it was late in the day, I had to finish the list. Since the pregnancy, I can never predict how I’m going to feel. I might wake up feeling good and energetic, but suddenly get heavy heart palpitations which tell me that I have to stop everything and lay down. That makes all my plans go away for the rest of the day. Well, tomorrow is another day. This mantra helped me to get through the first times that I had to stop what I was doing and just rest. These situations have taught me that I don’t have to control every little thing. This is a lesson I’m continuing to learn and re-learn.
I know I’m going to learn even more lessons once the baby comes. For now, I’m grateful for what I’ve learned already, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Giving birth in The Netherlands is totally different than in Colombia, where I am from. Starting with the fact that the pregnancy gets followed by a midwife, instead of a doctor. Another new thing for me is ‘kraamzorg’. A kraamzorg carer is a person that helps the midwife during the labor. After the baby is born, she will keep on visiting your house for a week to look after you and your baby and to teach you and your partner how to care for your newborn. With kraamzorg also comes a ‘kraampakket’. I needed to make sure that I would receive a kraampakket before the day of birth. A kraampakket is a maternity package that contains all the necessary products that the midwife and assistant will use when they take care of the mother and baby during delivery, birth and the first week after that. It is very common here in The Netherlands to give birth at home, and therefore the insurance gives you all the products of the kraampakket. You will need this in case you give birth at home.
Depending on which insurance you have, you will get the maternity package for free. Lucky for me, I didn’t get it for free. I say lucky because when I checked what the package contains, most of the products from the insurance are not eco-friendly or organic. After doing some research, I decided to gather all the products myself so they would be a little bit more natural and organic. Next to the kraampakket I added some extra products for the baby that I will need. Those things are not necessarily for the giving birth process, but to use afterward. Here are the products I gathered:
This package contains:
Sanitary pads from the brand Yoni made of 100% organic cotton. It has no plastics or perfumes.
Cotton pads made of 100% organic cotton.
Large mats made of 100% ecological filling and they are biodegradable. These mats are to protect the matress before and after giving birth.
Belly button lace made of 100% cotton from the brand Nobamed. This lace is an alternative to the plastic navel clip.
Sterile wound compresses from the brand Nobamed.
Washable post-partum slips from the brand Carriwell. These are to ensure that all the bandage down there does not shift and can be hygienically worn.
Diaper cream, nurturing cream and milky bad oil from the brand Naif. Naïf skincare products are vegan, cruelty-free and made from natural oils.
Organic cold-pressed shea butter from the brand Zoya Goes Pretty. This product is to prevent cracked nipples.
Washing nuts and liquid from Seepje. This detergent is made from nuts that contain a natural form of soap called saponin. The natural soap gets released with the contact of water. Seepje is hypoallergenic and chemical free. The liquid version of Seepje is made from powdered nuts. The packaging is made from old milk bottles from England.
Organic healing wool from the brand Popolini. This wool is to repair damaged skin for the baby and the mother.
Organic and chemical-free diapers and wipes from LILLYDOO. These products are chemical-free. The wipes are compostable. (Note: I am planning to use disposable diapers during the first days or weeks. After that I will use washable cloth diapers.)
Organic and fairtrade baby castille soap and liquid soap from the brand Dr. Bronner via biggreensmile.com. These soaps are made from extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, hemp oil and pure essential oils. There are no perfumes or other additives so that’s good for sensitive skin.
Looking for the right stroller can be very tiring while pregnant. There are so many different types, models, and colors. On top of that, every brand claims to make the best stroller ever. During my search, the only thing I was clear about, is that I wanted a stroller as sustainable as possible. In my research, I found a Dutch company that makes green strollers in a circular way: Greentom. The designer Bart Bost is the man behind Greentom. He makes strollers from almost one hundred percent recycled materials. Their mission is to design, develop and produce smart and sustainable products that make the world a little bit greener. For their strollers, they use recycled plastic bottles. This helps because the waste does not end up in our rivers, oceans, on our beaches or in landfills. At the end of its lifecycle, all of the Greentom products can be reused or recycled.
I wanted to give it a try and got the Carrycot model in color beige, with the frame in white. As soon as I got it, my husband and I were curious about it and started putting it together. The stroller was to ensemble very quick and easy. It feels lightweight and rides very smooth. I like it that the stroller grows up with the baby. When the Carrycot gets too small (or de the baby too big), I can use the reversible version. The frame stays the same, you only need to get the extra reversible or the classic chassis. These you can use the rest of the stroller time.
Greentom is the proof that circular products can be beautiful and timeless. You can use smart, cool and functional green products and make a difference.
I took my Carrycot stroller for a test ride. I can’t wait to start using it for real when the baby is born!
Being pregnant and having a minimalistic wardrobe don’t go hand in hand. With a growing belly, it is likely to need new clothes. I tried to avoid getting new clothes as long as possible, but slowly the time came and the first thing I needed was a bigger jacket. The only thing I was sure about is that I didn’t want a jacket that I would only wear during the last months of the pregnancy. While searching I found the German brand ‘Paula Janz Maternity’. Paula is a fashion designer from Berlin. She makes maternity clothes for the modern mom. Combining urban, timeless and elegant looks, she makes pieces that are possible to wear during and after pregnancy. The pieces are made in Europe under fair conditions.
From her winter collection, I got the ‘Baby Love Parka’. The parka has a hoodie, two front pockets and it has an extra insert that you can adapt in the zipper. This extra insert is very practical for a growing belly. And later on, when the baby is born it’s also handy to have it because you can comfortably carry your baby in the coat.
On these series of pictures, I show you how I style the ‘Baby Love Parka’ from Paula Janz Maternity. The pictures were made by photographer Marisa Elisa Photography.
Fake leather has been on the market for a very long time. The commonly used materials for synthetic leather are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU), which are plastic-based materials. As conscious consumerism is rising and entering the mainstream the challenge is to find fake leather accessories made from ecologically friendly materials instead of plastic. I did a little research and found a new brand that it’s making their best to make luxury bags as sustainable as possible. Let me introduce you to JW PEI. This luxury brand makes bags from recycled bottles. The recycling technology has evolved so much that nearly all polyester-based materials can be recycled. The bags and their lining are made from 100% recycled bottles. JW PEI only works with factories that are certified by GRS (Global Recycling Standards) and the Oeko-Tex Standard.
On these series of pictures, I show you how I style the JW PEI ‘Drawstring Backpack’ in black. For that, I made two different outfits. The pictures were made in Amersfoort by the photographer Marisa Elisa Photography.
What I´m wearing:
Shirt // Lievevrouw second-hand market in Amersfoort
Leggings // Erlich textil
Shoes // Second-lifestyle Amersfoort (second-hand shop)
Backpack // JW PEI
Jacket // Paula Janz maternity
Who doesn’t love presents? And even better; who doesn’t love a goodie bag!
Last weekend I had my best friends flying from Germany to The Netherlands, to celebrate my baby shower. A baby shower is a celebration for expecting mothers. The idea of the party is to help the mother-to-be to get the things she still needs for the baby. And of course to celebrate the coming birth of the baby. Before living in The Netherlands, I lived in Germany. That is where my best friends live as well. When I told them I was pregnant, they started organizing the shower for me. I felt really honored and special, and as a way to thank them for all they did for me, I decided to give them a goodie bag. These are the products I gathered for them:
This canvas bag is from the shop Kado Design. The bag is fairly made and from 100% cotton. It has the perfect size to fit a 15” laptop plus all the stuff you need for work and it is also great to use it for groceries.
See more of Kado Design.
Bee’s Wrap is a natural alternative to wrap food in plastic. The ones in the picture are from the shop ‘Eco Warehouse’. They make it with organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin. How to use it: you have to fold a piece of Bee’s wrap around a piece of food or over a bowl and use the warmth of your hands to shape and seal it. Bee’s wrap is washable, reusable and compostable.
See more of Eco warehouse.
Marbles By MG (Marit Groen) makes jewelry that cherishes moments. From communion, wedding, to grief processing, you can give your own meaning to it. This helps you to capture, cherish and remember the most special moments of your life. Marit makes all the jewelry herself. To celebrate the baby shower I got a pink bracelet that is called ‘The milestone thread’. It has a rutilated quartz on a very soft pink thread in silver.
See more of Marit’s unique collection.
Zoya Goes Pretty is a brand based in Bulgaria that makes organic skin care products. They use 100% raw, unrefined and organic butters. All of their blends are as simple as possible with cold-pressed Shea butter and are melted below 40° to keep all essential nutrients. In the process, there are no toxic chemicals used. All the products are cruelty-free and vegan as well.
See more of Zoya Goes Pretty.
On The Rocks notebook. The specialty of this book is that the sheets are made from stone paper instead of normal paper. The stones they used for the paper come from mines. The color of the stones is the color that the paper will take on. In the production of this paper, there is no water needed!
See more of On The Rocks.
These cool socks are from the webshop ‘ToffeSokken.nl’. They sell a different kind of motives and a couple of different brands. Leonieke and Stijn started selling socks as a hobby, and now the webshop has grown to a place where you can look for the coolest and craziest socks you can’t imagine.
See more of ToffeSokken.nl.
Weleda is a Swiss company that makes organic skin care products. They are free from synthetic compounds or toxic chemicals. Instead, they use flowers, fruits, roots extracts, minerals and essential oils. All the products are cruelty-free. Weleda has the NATRUE certification, which means they make 100% natural and organic products.
See more of Weleda.
Here is the whole goodie bag:
Did you like the products I chose for my girlfriends? What would you add?
Black is my all-time favorite color. In psycology, the color black is linked to power. It’s an intimidating color and indicates strength and discipline. Black doesn’t usually express emotions, rather, it conceals them, giving the person in black an air of superiority. The color black is also considered to be elegant and chic. A black outfit can be seen as more fancy than a colorful one. To me, it is my go-to color whether I have a special event or don’t know what to wear on a regular day. It never disappoints me in making me feel stylish and confident. Just like it does with me, I believe that black makes everyone look great. It might sound easy but it can be hard sometimes to combine all-black outfits. I have gathered a few tips to help you wear black:
Combine different fabrics and textures. For example cotton, leather-look, linen, tweed. And think of shiny, matt, sparkly and so on.
Mix a fitted piece and a wider piece in the same outfit. When you wear skinny pants, you can wear a wide sweater or blouse. When you wear a tight top, you can wear a wide skirt or pants.
Add a little bit of color. Go with a colorful bag -shoes, a bold hat or a vintage bandana. Jewelry is also a good option to make the outfit interesting.
Wear a bold lipstick color. This is my personal favorite tip to make an all-black outfit look stylish. The good news is that you can combine ANY color from red to purple.
I have gathered my favorites all-black outfits to inspire you: