Simple Tips To Live More Sustainable

50 Easy tips to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

1. Use a bicycle as your main form of transportation. Buy it second-hand from a trusted shop.

2. If your work is not reachable by bicycle, use public transport. Make it a habit to use it at least a couple of days per week. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up on reading and podcasts.

3. Use stairs over the elevator. This also doubles up as a booty workout.

4. Bring your coffee-to-go reusable cup.

5. Opt to receive digital letters and notices.

6. Put up a no junk mail sign on your letterbox to limit the amount of paper waste.

7. Send cards made from growing paper.

8. Turn off your computer and other electronic devices before going to sleep.

9. Spend more time outside. Try to go for a walk at least 20 minutes per day. Regardless of the weather.

10. Eat more plant-based whole foods. Eat completely vegan once or twice per week.

11. Read your favorite newspaper publications online instead of reading the paper versions.

12. Cook more at home. Regularly prepare home-cooked meals and save on takeaway storage containers.

13. Refuse disposable cutlery and napkins. Get your own set of reusable bamboo cutlery.

14. Carry around your handkerchief instead of using disposable tissues.

15. Use cloth diapers and wipes for your baby.

16. Use stainless steel drink bottles or glass bottles.

17. Buy second-hand clothes for your baby made from cotton. Refuse polyester as much as possible.

18. Use only wooden toys and toys made from natural materials.

19. Get the furniture for the nursery room second-hand.

20. Make your own baby food in batches, portion it and freeze it.

21. Use washable straws instead of disposable plastic straws.

22. Use cloths instead of paper towels.

23. Make your own coffee instead of buying takeaway.

24. Use make-up brands that don’t test on animals.

25. Use only natural and organic skin-care brands.

26. Start replacing your bathroom products for zero-waste products.

27. Use a bamboo toothbrush.

28. Make your scrub.

29. Use LED lighting instead of incandescent lighting as it’s proven to last longer, which reduces the need to keep purchasing light bulbs.

30. Instead of turning on the heating, put on an extra layer of clothing.

31. Open up your curtains and use as much natural light as possible before switching on the lights.

32. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

33. Hang your wet clothes on a drying line or rack instead of using a powered dryer.

34. Wash your clothes on the laundry machine only when you have a full batch.

35. Get a water-saving showerhead and time your showers to 5 min.

36. Grow your own herbs, fruit, and vegetables and use organic fertilizers.

37. Refuse plastic bags. Take your own bags for groceries.

38. Buy fruits and vegetables without plastic packaging.

39. Avoid buying plastic-wrapped dry products, opt for products packed in carton boxes.

40. Refuse plastic bottle water.

41. Look for outfit inspirations on Pinterest with items of clothes that you already have.

42. When you need new clothes, go to second-hand shops first.

43. Refuse fast-fashion brands. Unsubscribe from their newsletter, erase the apps.

44. Invest in better quality items that last longer.

45. Support fashion brands that are ethical and environmentally conscious.

46. Save gift bags and boxes for future use.

46. Give people experiences instead of things.

47. Use rechargeable batteries where possible.

48. Recycle your devices when ready to dispose of.

49. Buy refurbished electronic devices

50. Fly by airplane only when it’s necessary. Plan your vacations by train, bike or by car.

The best way to changing your life towards a more sustainable life is dong it little by little. Changing one habit at the time.

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Picture via Unsplash

Do you have a tip to add? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,
Alisson

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Cleaning Tips For Busy People

A clean house is the best way to start the day. It creates a good atmosphere which affects your mood in a positive way. But with our busy life and a full schedule, we might not feel like cleaning as soon as we have a spot free. Luckily, it can be an easy task to do. I have gathered for you some easy and effective tips:

  1. Set the timer for 20 minutes every night. Clean as much as you can during that time. You will be surprised.
  2. Clean the kitchen after every meal. Wash the dishes, or organized them in the dishwasher. Wipe the table and the surfaces with a wet towel.
  3. Use baking soda, vinegar, and lemon to clean everything.
  4. Make it teamwork. Divide the work with your roommate so it doesn’t feel that you are doing everything alone.
  5. Use that time to listen to a podcast. From sustainability to parenting and personal growth there are some great podcasts to listen to.
  6. Declutter your house on a regular basis. The fewer things you have, the less time you have to spend cleaning.
  7. Have a home for all the things in your house. When you use something, bring it back to its place right away.
  8. Fill a spray bottle with half water, half all-purpose cleanser. Put it in the bathroom. Spray every night after brushing your teeth and wipe it clean with a towel. You can do the same in the kitchen and spray the surfaces every night.

As a summary: do it regularly, make it more enjoyable, involve your roommates/kids and declutter on a regular basis.

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Tips For Having A Sustainable Wardrobe

Congratulations for wanting to start a sustainable wardrobe. The first thing you need to know is that it will take some time before you have a wardrobe that is 100% sustainable. But don’t be discouraged. You have taken already a good step. The following tips will help you to achieve a sustainable wardrobe:

  1. Start by unsubscribing from all the newsletters from fast fashion brands. They make it really good to make you feel that you need to buy the newest trends.
  2. Do a closet detox. Organize your closet by taking every single item out and place them on your bed or the floor. Take one by one the items back in the closet. Before you do it, ask yourself the following questions about each item:
    • Does it still fit?
    • Have I worn it in the last 12 months?
    • Would I wear it again?
    • Do I love the way it looks on me?

    If the answer to these questions is yes, then put the items back to your closet, if the answer is no, put them aside and start making two piles:
    To donate: If the clothes are too worn out or need to be fixed.
    To sell: If the clothes are still in a good state to give it a second round.

    A Closet detox will help you to clearly see what are the clothes that you have and like to wear. Make sure you keep only clothes that you actually wear.

  3. The next time that you need to buy something new, try first to go to a second-hand shop. Or to a vintage shop. When buying something new ask yourself questions before buying it like, ‘How often will I wear this?’
  4. If you can’t find what you are looking for in a second-hand shop, check if you can find it from a sustainable brand. (See my sustainable brand directory)
  5. Buy clothes that will last, and avoid any piece that looks like it’s going to pill or brake after a few washes. Check the stitching and material for quality issues.
  6. Take better care of your clothes. The way you treat your clothes has a bigger effect on the environment than their production. Wash your clothes if it’s really necessary. Taking better care of your clothes increases their lifespan.
  7. Let your clothes dry naturally. The drying machine wastes a lot of energy and money.
  8. Make your clothes live longer. When your favorite piece break, get it to the tailor and ask if the piece can be fixed. Many textiles can be recycled or reused, and clothing in good condition should be donated or go to someone else.
Sustainable wardrobe tips
Picture: Unsplash

With Love,

Alisson

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25 Things I Didn’t Know Happened After Giving Birth

Nine months I spend preparing myself for the day of giving birth. I was mentally and physically ready (Although, I thought I was. But that topic deserves another post) I went to centering pregnancy, took breathing technique lessons and read about hypnobirthing. The big day of giving birth came and after a sixteen-hour rollercoaster of emotions and pain, my baby was out. I survived the most anticipated day. I knew it was going to be hard, painful and intense and I thought that was it. I finally made it to my last chapter of the childbirth lessons book. But, it turned out that a lot of things happen before you even leave the hospital that I didn’t learn in class, and no one ever mentioned. I’m going to share those things with you. Not to scare you, but to prepare you. Here they are: 

  1. As soon as my baby was out and on my chest, I felt overwhelmed. Tired of pushing and not understanding what was happening.
  2. The umbilical cord was still attached to the baby and placenta. The cord feels very warm and weird.
  3. I immediately lose my heavy pregnant belly, but I still looked like when I was 20 weeks pregnant.
  4. The black line which divides the belly decided to stay with me. I have read that it might stay for some indefinite time. I still have it after 15 weeks PP.
  5. After the nurses and doctors have seen me naked and vulnerable, I lost all the modesty. I wasn’t ashamed of anything anymore.
  6. As soon as the baby is out (actually since the pushing part begins) I started to lose blood. A lot! The bleeding doesn’t stop up until six weeks PP. Some women are lucky and bleed less, some other bleed longer. But you will bleed for sure.
  7. The first time walking from the hospital bed to the shower feels painful and shaky. It might be only five steps but it can feel like hundred meters.
  8. Showering feels actually very good. It might be painful to shower standing. You can ask your partner or a nurse to bring you a chair and put some towels to sit on.
  9. The first-time peeing. Not only pee but also blood and a lot of other weird looking stinky fluid comes out of your precious body. It doesn’t hurt, and the water just comes out without needing to put any pressure. But it can be surprising to see where all those fluids come from. At home, it might be more convenient to pee in the shower and clean yourself with water afterward.
  10. The first-time pooping is scary. The muscles are very sore and because of the pushing work, you will lose sensibility on your back door. This causes that you won’t really feel that you are pooping but you are actually doing it. This sensation (or lack of) can last a couple of days or even weeks. My tip: eat a lot of fiber in order to have a good digestion. And not have any constipation problem.
  11. You won’t be able to control your farts. So yes, the farts will come out without you even noticing. Only the smell will betray you. The smell is worse than when you have a heavy stomach disease. I guess the smell is a combination of blood, poop and your body recovering. This situation can last for weeks. At some point, you will get used to it and let the gas out without apologies.
  12. Sitting down on the bed or on a chair is very painful. If you had an episiotomy it’s going to be even more painful. The pain might take days or even weeks to go away completely.
  13. A couple of hours after giving birth, a nurse will help you to hand express milk for your baby. Because you don’t have any modesty you just let her hand press your tender breasts.
  14. Breastfeeding might be painful in the beginning. You can have blisters and it can get bloody. Everyone will tell you to just hang in there and you will like to punch everyone in the face. But the pain will go away indeed. My tip: shower with warm water and massage your breasts. Before wearing your bra put some Lanolin on your nipples. If you still have a lot of pain, try a nipple shield.
  15. The first days PP you will still feel little contractions every time you are breastfeeding. This is because the uterus is slowly shrinking back down to its pre-birth size.
  16. Breastfeeding is exhausting. The first days, you will need to feed your baby every three to four hours. This is in order to get your production going on. You wake up often because newborns normally sleep just a little. If you are lucky, your baby will sleep longer at night for a couple of days on. I wasn’t so lucky and my baby woke up every three hours (day and night!) to eat until she was around twelve weeks old.
  17. The lack of sleep and the hormones will make you think that you are crazy. You might wake up in the middle of the night and not remember if you already fed your baby or just dreamed it.
  18. Some nights you might be so tired you’ll consider letting your baby cry a little bit longer to wake up feeling like the worst mother in the world. Just remember it’s not you. It’s the lack of sleep talking. Consider asking for help so that you can catch up some sleep during the day.
  19. You will get hot. Not the good looking hot, but the one that makes you wake up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat.
  20. Your breast might leak while you are sleeping. Since you are already in a pool of sweat why not add more liquids to it, right?
  21. You won’t be able to sleep on your stomach for a couple of days or weeks PP. If (like me) this is what you miss the most while you’re being heavily pregnant, I have bad news. The first days PP it’s very painful to sleep on the stomach due to the engorged breasts. If you continue breastfeeding it stays uncomfortable to sleep on the stomach.
  22. If you got an episiotomy, around the fourth day PP, the stitches will hurt a lot. More than the days before. So much that you will wake up crying thinking that you can’t deal with this anymore. As soon as the stitches start healing they pull the skin together and this feels like a burning sensation. This pain will eventually go away. Make sure you put cold compresses and leave your wound aired.
  23. You might miss your pregnant belly and won’t be able to make the link to the baby and the missing the belly.
  24. You might not miss your pregnant belly and be the happiest person again. And that is totally fine. (My case 😉 )
  25. You might feel depressed and find this is too much for you to handle. This is totally normal. Try to recognize these feelings and ask for professional help.

 

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Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

This list is made out of my postpartum experience. Remember that this is different for every woman. Don’t be freaked out by my list, but be prepared for some heavy days full of discomfort and pain. After the pain is gone and you can fully enjoy your new family it will feel like it was all worth it.

With Love,

Alisson

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The Benefits​ of Sensory Play

As soon as babies are born, their curiosity starts developing. Every little thing a baby is exposed to is an amazing thing to be explored. With their eyes, ears, mouths, noses, and fingers. There are activities that help develop the senses of a baby. Stimulating a baby is therefore very important. Early stimulation can help improve attention span, memory, curiosity, and nervous system development. The first year of a child is the time when the brain grows the fastest that it ever will.

There are a lot of games and ways you can stimulate your child. You can do it at home or you can join baby lessons where you will learn how to play with your baby. A famous class it’s called Baby Sensory. This programme was founded by UK’s leading parenting expert Dr. Lin Day. The course offers a complete approach to learning and sensory development from birth to 13 months. It is designed to stimulate and educate a child during the first year of life.

During the classes, parents are provided with ideas for creative play, massage, tummy time, and movement in simple ways that can be easily repeated at home. All of the activities are accompanied by music and sensory signing to help develop early speech and language skills. A sensory environment rich in sights, sounds, smells, and textures promote brain growth, increases the capacity for intellectual development and forms the foundation for all future learning. Every week the activities are different. There’s always something new and exciting to look forward to.

This summer I joined the Baby Sensory lessons in Amersfoort. The class is held by Linda Veldman in the south of the city. The lessons start always with a beautiful song called ‘Say hello to the sun’ and follow with different activities. Linda is very sweet and good with parents and babies. The lessons take one hour. During this time, we play, we sing and we discover new sensations. My fifteen-week baby doesn’t make it, to be awake and alert the whole class. At some point during the class, she will feed or nap. And that is ok. Every lesson she is more awake and eager to learn. These classes have helped me to learn how to play with my baby. It also helps me to feel more confident and happy as a parent.

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Father and daughter during a car washing time.

You can join Baby Sensory lessons too! Check here to see where is the closest location to you. If you live in Amersfoort, there are two locations. In de Leusderkwartier and in Vathorst. You can contact Linda for more information at amersfoort@babysensory.nl

With Love,
Alisson

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How To Wear All-black Outfits

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:

1
All-black outfit combined with golden shoes. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography
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All-black outfit combined with red Converse shoes. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography
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Wearing black and a red lipstick. Picture by: Anouk Fotografeert
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All-black outfit combined with fishnet tights. Picture by: Mitchel Lensink
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All-black outfit combined with a lace top and white sneakers. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography
4
All-black outfit combined with a colorful bandana. Picture by: Gert Zomer
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All-black outfit combined with dark red shoes and blue nails. Picture by: Mitchel Lensink
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All-black outfit combined with golden shoes and purple lipstick. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography
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All-black outfit combined with sparkly and matt fabrics. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography
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All-black outfit combined with a red beanie. Picture by: Mitchel lensink

With Love,
Alisson

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Sexy And Sustainable Made Undies

Cheap underwear is made from synthetic fabrics. Mostly polyester and nylon. These fabrics are loaded with chemicals that  are not bad for your health, ‘apparently’.  The garment workers who made such underwears are suffering and not getting paid enough to make our €2,- panties. We need to stop buying cheap undies. And whether it’s healthy or not we need to stop rubbing toxic chemicals on our most sensitive parts.

I admit it. My underwear drawer contains a lot of cheap H&M and Victoria’s Secrets panties. Those purchases were from before my conscious time. Now that I have been slowly replacing my wardrobe with ethical brands, the time has come to start having underwears from sustainable materials. I started my research and have been adding quality underwear to my drawer. While ethical and slow fashion is growing by the minute there are also new brands making ethical lingerie that do more than keep you comfy. I have gathered five of my favorite underwear companies for you:

1. Erlich Textil

Erlich is based in Cologne, Germany. They make timeless and sexy lingerie with responsible materials. They work with a family-owned textile manufacturer in Romania. The producers they work with use the GOTS standard (Global Organic Textile Standard), ÖkoTex100 certification and carries the BSCI seal of quality (Business Social Compliance Initiative). The BSCI is an organization that works to protect workers’ rights. The garments are made of organic cotton or modal.

2. Anekdot

Anekdot makes ethical underwear and beachwear. The boutique is based in Berlin. The complete process from sketch to finished garment is hand-craft in the studio in Berlin. In the process, they upcycle and use leftovers of fabric as much as possible. They only make the garments they can with the fabrics they have. That’s why the stock is very limited. Their designs are sexy and bold.

3. Troo

Slow and responsible fashion is at the core of the founders of Troo: Nic and Steff Fitzgerald.  For them it is very important to partner up with young designers that also share the same beliefs. Producing beautiful and sexy undies that are responsible as possible with the environment and with the garment workers. The brand of their bralettes is called: Nette Rose. Designed and produced by Megan Miller. All the pieces are handmade in Cape Town (from the same country where the founders of Troo are from). The boutique is based in Switzerland.

4. WORON

WORON is a Scandinavian Brand based in Copenhagen, founded by sisters Arina and Anya Woron. They make comfortable and timeless garments. The fabrics they use are all plant-based. A combination of European produced modal and organic cotton are in all of their pieces. The garments are made in a family owned factory in Hungary. The factory has the ÖkoTex and GOTS certifications. Hungary has a strict working regulations both in terms of minimum wages and working standards. The factory is mostly run by women, employing mainly women and they offer additional benefits for working mothers. (Yeah!)

5. Comazo

Comazo is a German family business. They only use organic cotton for their garments. All the labels as well, sewing threads, and the buttons meet the GOTS standard. Comazo understand bra’s. They know which cup size you can make with organic cotton and when more cup seams are needed for extra support. The straps are slightly wider so it won’t cut into the skin. Due to the soft materials and the careful production process, without chemicals, the Comazo underwear is suitable for people with allergies or sensitive skin.

Which one is your favorite?
Look at the whole list of sustainable underwear brands in my shopping guide.

With Love,
Alisson

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Stop Buying Cheap Bad Quality Clothes, Do This Instead

One year ago, I decided to stop buying clothes from fast fashion brands. At the time, I was already aware of all the problems fast fashion brings to the environment and to the garment workers. Still, I occasionally felt into temptation and bought some clothes from fast fashion brands. The last time I went to one of those stores and saw everything on sale made me feel so bad, that I promise myself to not buy new cheap clothes again.

Before my conscious time, like most consumers, I was unaware of the real impact of cheap clothing. They’re designed to be thrown away after a few washes. The fabrics are mostly synthetic, which isn’t sustainable in the long run when you consider the amount of water and chemicals used for the production. On top of that, when a garment is so cheap, it’s a sign that the person who made it was not paid a living wage for their work.

This last issue is the one that bothers me the most. The majority of the garment workers are women under the age of 25. They come from poor regions and have no other choice than work for a low price in horrendous conditions. The more I read about this issue, the more I feel that I can not support unethical brands anymore.

As a fashion lover, it was hard for me to make the decision to stop buying clothes from cheap brands and instead to look for ethical brands. But I decided it was the right thing to do for our planet and for all those women out there who didn’t have the “luck” to be born in a middle-class family like me.

As an Instagrammer, I have a constant change in my wardrobe. But now I change it in a conscious way. Instead of buying cheap clothes, I do other things:

1. Second-hand shopping.
When I “need” a new piece of clothing, I first search all the second-hand and charity shops around my city. My tip: Be patience. With that, I always find what I need. By doing this, I save money and I reduce the production of new garments.

2. Care more for the clothes you own.
Now that I buy fewer clothes, I take better care of the ones I have. I learned to wash less and air them more often. At the end of the day, I hang the clothes that I used on an open space instead of leaving them on the floor. This helps me to keep my clothes in good condition. As for my jeans, I wear them more than 5 times before throwing them in the laundry. I wash my laundry in the washing machine in the 30° degrees setting. I use a little bit of detergent or washing nuts from Seepje. And I add some vinegar in the softener space.

3. Search for outfit inspiration on Pinterest.
There’s a big chance that your closet is full of clothes that are not being used to their best potential. If so, try to pick one item and look for outfits inspiration on Pinterest. Write down, for example: ‘red sweater outfit ideas’, ‘green pants outfit ideas’… This trick helped me to wear the clothes I already have in different styles and made me feel as if I got new clothes.

4. Shop less, choose well.
To do this, it’s important to be more organized with the clothes you own. Sell or give away all the clothes that you don’t like anymore. Keep only the clothes that you love. This helped me to have an overview of my clothes. It makes it easier to check if I really need a new piece in my closet.
But when I do buy a new piece of clothing or accessory, I make sure it’s an ethical brand. To find out, I search information about where the garment is made and from which materials it’s produced. If it’s not on the brand’s website I email my questions to them. If their answers feel good, I proceed with getting new clothes. Buying like this, helps me to choose well when I want to buy something new. I have learned to take my time when I search for a new piece. If you don’t have the time to do the search, you can check this list: “sustainable shops guide”. I have collected those names since I started my journey. Sustainable fashion brands are a little bit more expensive than fast fashion brands, which helps to buy only the garments that you really need.

5. Lend clothes from friends and family.
Do you have a wedding/party/gala coming up? Before looking for something new, ask your girlfriends or sister/cousins to lend you clothes for special events. It’s very common to own fancy dresses but only wear them once. Probably your friends have this kind of dresses as well. By lending a piece you will be saving money and no more clothes will need to be produced.

To leave you some inspiration, here are some of my outfits from last year. All from second-hand or ethically made clothes.

Dungarees and sweater from a second-hand shop in Amersfoort, shoes from Nae and beanie from a vintage shop in Paris. Picture by: Mitchel Lensink
Dress from Jan n’ June and bag Matt & Nat. Picture by: Mitchel Lensink
Dress from Studio Yunit, bag from Matt & Nat, second-hand and boots from The Next Closet. Picture by: Jacco Oskam
Pre-own shirt from a friend, skirt from a flea market, bag from a charity shop and shoes from a second-hand shop in Amersfoort. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography
Second-hand jacket and trousers from a charity shop and pre owned shoes from a friend. I got them via a swap party. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography

With Love,
Alisson

Read more about fast fashion:
5 Truths the fast fashion industry doesn’t want you to know
The high cost of our cheap fashion
Fast fashion, cheap fashion
Why I stopped shopping at H&M
What H&M doesn’t want you to be ‘conscious’ about

13 THINGS I DIDN’T EXPECT WHILE EXPECTING

As you might know, I was unexpectedly pregnant and not busy at all with anything that has to do with the topic. The information I had about pregnancy came from movies, series and some women who shared their experience with me. I thought I knew what to expect: tiredness, vomiting and feeling nausea. I survived the first 27 weeks and realized that there were many things I didn’t know. Every single woman has different experiences but here are a few of the things I’ve learned from my own pregnancy.

It took me some time to accept this pregnancy and to go through my first weeks. Forget everything you have seen in movies. This is how it really feels:

1. The pregnancy test is positive, let’s call the doctor!
Wrong! I live in The Netherlands, where pregnancy is followed by midwives. The chances that you will see a doctor are very little. The first thing you have to do when a pregnancy test is positive is to call your midwife. Don’t feel surprised when you get your next appointment in at least four more weeks! They will first want to see you when you are 8+ weeks pregnant. And remember: you are pregnant from the first day of your last period. Make sure you have your agenda with you when you do the phone call.

2. If everything is alright, you will only have one sonogram per trimester.
If you are as naive as me and think you will get a sonogram every month, you are wrong. If everything is ok you will only get one per trimester plus the one at 8 weeks. In total, you will have one sonogram at 8 weeks, at 20 weeks, at 30+ and one close to the due date to see if the baby is positioned well.

3. Your belly is not growing but your hips and butt are.
Say goodbye to your normal jeans and say hello to: leggings? Well yes. You will be too big for your normal clothes, but too thin for maternity clothes. Much of the first trimester is a strange experience. You know that you are pregnant, but you don’t feel pregnant.

4. From one day to the other you will turn into a dog
Oh, all those smells you didn’t mind before, you do mind now. A lot. I couldn’t stand the smell of onion, red bell pepper, my kitchen, my bathroom, dirty clothes, the sink…

5. Morning sickness or better yet all-day-sickness
From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep you might feel nausea and disgusted by food. I couldn’t eat anything until 4-5 pm. Besides dry crackers, everything else made me want to throw up. This feeling started to disappear from the 14th week on.

6. You will forget what it’s like to eat normal food again
Crazy cravings are something inevitable. But for me, rather than cravings, I got into a fight with some ingredients. I couldn’t see or smell onions, leeks, red bell pepper or spinach. As a vegan, it was hard sometimes to cook without those ingredients. Luckily my partner did all the cooking because I felt too nauseated to cook.

7. Your breasts will get bigger
Or not, like mine. My boobs haven’t got any bigger and there’s a big chance that it’s going to stay that way. For my mother, it was the same, but she was still able to breastfeed three beautiful daughters. It’s really true that not all women are the same.

8. The pregnancy glow
Before looking pretty and radiant you might look ugly and tired. During the first 20 weeks of pregnancy my skin started to change, I had more freckles than before, my scalp began to get dry and my hair began to fall off, which gave me empty spots in my scalp. Luckily now, after 27 weeks all those things disappeared. I wouldn’t consider that I glow, but I don’t have those symptoms which made me feel “ugly” anymore.

9. The tiredness is real
Your new bestie is your bed. You will spend the whole day dreaming about when you will get to lie your head on your pillow again. Some days I could sleep all day, wake up to eat and go back and rest again. You will feel bad – when your husband has been neglected. You get over it quickly and then get kind of mad that he doesn’t have to feel like a big piece of poop like you. Totally unfair. This feeling of being tired all the time disappeared when I was around week 14. Slowly it started to come back at week 16 and it keeps on during my pregnancy so far.

10. Sleep on your belly while you still can
From week 20+ it starts to get challenging to sleep. You can only sleep on your right side, and you will constantly wake up to go to the bathroom. By week 25 it gets really difficult for me to sleep comfortably without waking up in the middle of the night to find a comfortable position. On my right side I get heartburn and on my back, I can’t breath good. The only side I can sleep on is the right one. Just the one side I was not used to.

11. Say goodbye to the morning sickness, say hello to more discomfort
As soon as you start to feel better about the morning sickness, other discomforts may appear. For me, I felt good for about one week and then some pains started to come up. The body is constantly changing and adjusting to the new life you are creating. For me, it started with heavy migraines. From one day to the other I had a very bad headache that turned into a migraine. It lasted two days and went away. Then a lower back pain and pelvic pain followed. Some days it was heavier than others. It lasted a couple of weeks but it eventually went away. Suddenly I started having heartburn. That is a burning sensation in your chest after you eat. It’s caused by the hormonal and physical changes that happen in your body. This symptom disappeared after a couple of times. Since the beginning of the pregnancy I was having bladder control problems, but since week 24 it got worse. I might need to do some pelvic exercises to get back my control. Since my body is making extra blood from week 20, I started to have heart palpitations. This extra blood results in a heart rate that’s about 25 percent faster than usual. This feels like your heart is beating extremely fast. Heart palpitations can be normal and nonharmful during pregnancy. When I feel it, I have to sit down, breath and wait for it to pass. The latest discomforts I have are leg cramps, thanks to my growing belly and the pressure from my growing uterus. All these discomforts are for a good cause. But we are still allowed to joke about it right?

12. From one day to the other your belly will grow
I spend the first 5 months waiting for the belly to start showing. Sometimes it got a little bit awkward because people started wondering if I was really pregnant. When someone asked how the baby was doing, I felt insecure because the belly was still small. As if something was wrong with the baby. Suddenly between week 24 and 25, my belly started to show. But it wasn’t until week 27 that you could really see the belly very well. Some women have big bellies, some small, but the size has nothing to do with the health of the baby. This was my mantra to avoid feeling bad when someone had a negative comment on my small bump.

13. You will question everything
The voice in your head can make you crazy. Suddenly from the second semester on, I developed a little voice in my head, suggesting that I was doing everything wrong and probably was killing my baby. You start questioning everything you do, from the way you sleep to what you eat and so on. I am a little bit controlling so maybe this symptom was bound to be worse for me. My Google searches showed me that it’s clear that many women are asking the same questions: “Is it okay to do this? Is it bad to drink that?”. The best thing to do is to let go and trust that everything is alright. Because most of the times, EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT.

 

Being pregnant is a miracle. The female body is a miracle. To be able to grow a life inside is almost surreal. Even though being pregnant has been tiring for me,  I try to celebrate the good things and not to focus on these annoying symptoms. So, my dear fellow pregnant friends, let’s all relax and enjoy this moment. (I’m saying this now because I had a good night of sleep. Tomorrow I might feel annoyed by my own advice).

With love,

Alisson

 

More pregnancy topics:
Flying while pregnant tips
Perfect outfit for a growing belly
Unexpectedly expecting

 


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SUSTAINABLE GIFT GUIDE

Christmas is just around the corner. This is the most joyous season filled with family, friends, and food. And let’s not forget about: presents! Shopping for presents can be a hard job. Even harder if you want to give something ethically made, organic or vegan which doesn’t break your bank account.

On my Pinterest account, I have gathered 50+ ideas for sustainable presents. From wooden watches to DIY whisky bottles. They are not only eco-friendly but also mainly chosen to suit both men and women. This makes your holiday giving a little bit easier.

 

 

Check the whole gift guide here:
https://nl.pinterest.com/alissonsimmonds/sustainable-gift-guide/

With Love,

Alisson

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