Ditching the Disposables: An Honest Guide to Cloth Nappies

ACS_0452I couldn’t let Real Nappy Week pass without a blog post dedicated to cloth bums. It was about this time last year (probably Real Nappy Week 2018!) that I began to look into using reusable nappies for H. I’d first considered them when I was pregnant but (wrongly) assumed that I’d struggle as I didn’t have a tumble drier.

For the first 7 months or so of H’s life, she was in disposables. I started off with a well-known brand of nappies, and then made the switch to eco-disposables when she was around three months old. I know there are a lot of mixed views on eco-disposables, but for me the fact that they were plastic-free and didn’t contain any nasty chemicals was a big selling point. I’m not sure what prompted me to look into cloth nappies again a few months later, but I was instantly intrigued (and admittedly taken with all the pretty prints available!). Continue reading

The Juggle is Real: 12 Months as a Working Mum

ACS_0449This month marks a full year since I returned to work after my Maternity Leave. I don’t know what’s scarier, how quickly that year has gone, or the realization that I’ve been back for twice as long as I was actually off work?

I returned to my day job when H was six months old. Looking back, I don’t know if I was ready to leave her, but right from the moment I discovered I was pregnant, the plan was always to do Shared Parental Leave with Mr Makes. However hard it would be, I consoled myself with the fact that by returning to work, I was giving H the opportunity to have some bonding time with her Daddy.

I get so many messages on social media about how well I’m balancing everything. It means the world to be so supported and know that there are people cheering you on. However, I fear that sometimes I make it all look too straightforward, and that’s not the reality. There are admittedly some perks to going back to work; hot cups of tea, the ability to go to the loo whenever you want, and being referred to by your actual name (and not just ‘H’s Mummy’). But in general, being a working mum requires a lot of juggling! Continue reading

Does it Spark Joy? Decluttering the Marie Kondo Way

50250771_1422544564547040_7685761306661486592_nHave you spent the first few weeks of the year asking if your possessions spark joy? Have you been refolding all your clothes, and organising all of your drawers? Since watching Marie Kondo, Tidying on Netflix, I’ve been spending my January doing just that. I first discovered Marie a few years ago, when I read her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and was first introduced to the KonMari method. I had mixed views about it; I loved the principle of only keeping items which you truly loved, but struggled with some of her other views on things like not relegating old t-shirts to wear as nightwear! Reading her book did give me an urge to tidy, and that I did, however I never really committed to it. Continue reading

Looking Back at 2018

49319516_2039053276178084_273294060444188672_n2018 feels like it’s gone by in a flash, but as I think back to everything that has happened this year, there has been a lot going on.

The year started with some big decisions about returning to my day job; although I knew that I’d always return, and the rough timescales, submitting my formal confirmation on 1 January felt like a huge deal at the time. There were a lot of tears over the following days as I wondered if it was all going to be ok. My first blog post of the year was sharing Harper’s birth story, and the reaction was so positive. I wasn’t sure that it’s something you would all be interested in, but I was genuinely touched by all of the people who took the time not only to read it, but also to send such lovely messages. Continue reading

The Big Indie Christmas Gift Guide 2018

47682106_326597871527224_1802051591730102272_nI can’t quite believe it’s December 1st, where did the year go? With the year flashing by so quickly, I’m definitely lagging behind on the Christmas shopping. Amazingly, even with a new born last year I seemed to be more on top of my gift buying than I am now, ( I did most of it online during the night feeds!).

Having tackled a large, busy shopping centre only today, I get why people choose to shop online. Before you go filling your cart on Amazon though, why not spend some time looking at all the things indie sellers have to offer? If you’re finding yourself stretched for time, below I’m sharing a snippet of some of my favourite items (including a few from my own Etsy store). I’ve also pulled together a Pinterest board of over 50 gift ideas for your nearest and dearest featuring these gifts and more. Continue reading

The All-important 100th Post: The Story Behind Em Makes and Bakes

IMG_1443I can’t quite believe I’m typing this, but this will be my HUNDREDTH post. It may have taken over three years to get here, but it feels like a huge achievement.

It’s taken a while to find my flow, and really find my blogging voice. But three years on, I’m here, I actually have readers, and it’s something that I’m really enjoying. I had a number of ideas for this special post; a round-up of my favourites, a lessons learned, and a few others. However, there was one idea that I couldn’t quite shake. My story, and how I came to start Em Makes and Bakes. Continue reading

5 Ways to Spark Creativity

ACS_0144Ever buy a really nice notebook, and it’s so beautiful that you don’t want to waste the first page on something rubbish? You want to create something wonderful but your mind goes blank and suddenly all that’s there is a thought that you forgot to buy milk, and a big question mark over what you will actually watch in the evenings now that Love Island has finished (FYI, the new season of Orange is the New Black).

Sometimes it’s not just a new notebook when you get that dry spell. It can hit you unexpectedly, and suddenly you’re wondering why you just can’t think of any ideas. For me, it always seems to come when I’m particularly busy; my brain seems to disengage the creative part to focus on whatever else I need to do. So, just how do you spark creativity? I’ve come up with some ideas below, based on what I like to do when I find myself starting at a blank page. Continue reading

Nine Months of Motherhood: The Story Behind the Mama Patch

ACS_0125This week marks a whole nine months since I became a mother. 39 weeks of having a beautiful daughter in our lives, filling each day with sunshine. When I look back over those 273 days, it’s easy to just remember the good bits. The sofa snuggles, the smiles first thing in the morning, that little giggle that never fails to lift even the worst of moods. Motherhood is wonderful, but admittedly it can be tough.

As well as the nine-month milestone, this week also marked a significant milestone for my business; the patches from my first Kickstarter were delivered. This post is a little insight into the story behind the patch, and why I’m so proud of them. Continue reading

5 Things I Learnt at Blogtacular 2018

ACS_0113It’s been a whole two weeks since Blogtacular, a weekend of colour and creative inspiration. I’ve really enjoyed the previous two events, and this year was no different. It was wonderful catching up with old friends and finally meeting all of those lovely people that I chat to online. Blogtacular is the event where you often find yourself walking up to people and feeling like you already know them because you follow them on Instagram.

Truth be told, in the past two weeks I haven’t really done much apart from think about stuff a lot, which I’ve come to learn is my standard approach to digesting everything post-conference. This post is my attempt at pulling all of those thoughts together and sharing the top 5 things that I’ve learnt.  Continue reading