Plastic free July – The things I’ve learned

I don’t think I’ll ever go completely plastic free due to our busy lives and also preferences for particular products which aren’t available without plastic packaging.

It’s interesting when you start to take a look at reducing personal consumption of plastic packaging in everyday life and you realise how much packaging has been actually changed to plastic over the last 10 years. With all the talk of reducing plastic packaging, this just seems a bit crazy. KitKat‘s, for example, used to be wrapped in foil and paper – both easily recyclable. The old foil wrappers in a tin of Roses or Quality Street are now plastic – this seems ridiculously backwards on an environmental level.

Most of these items that have been encased in plastic wrapping are what I would class as treats which I wouldn’t have very often and it’s a shame that they now come with a side helping of plastic induced guilt for me.

Weetabix used to wrap their product in paper, but it now comes with an internal layer of plastic laminated to the inside of it this making it non-recyclable.

On the spokesperson explains their reasons for this decision:

“Weetabix takes its responsibilities to the environment very seriously and develops its packaging primarily to protect the quality, safety and shelf-life of its products – wasted food is far more damaging to the environment than packaging.
We are signatories to the Wrap Courtauld Commitment and as such have demonstrated our commitment to using the most environmentally conscious materials which meet the needs stated earlier.
This new wrap contains a plastic layer to provide the necessary product protection, which means that it is not compostable. The paper used in this new packaging is from a sustainable source.”

So yeah, I do get it, wrapping stuff in plastic makes it last longer but how long do we really need it to last? I have never had Weetabix long enough for it to go off or not taste fresh. This is really frustrating as it’s something I have daily and get through a lot of. I haven’t found an alternative brand that doesn’t use plastic- if you find one that still uses plain old paper please let me know!

So, what am I going to do differently from now…

The first step for me is awareness, I do a lot of my shopping online, especially now that we have a baby, but the problem with that is you don’t get to see the packaging before buying the products. So I’ll be heading into Morrison’s where we usually do our online shop and checking out the packaging and making notes of anything that can be swapped out for a plastic free option.

The main thing I’m going to change is not buying multipacks of things. I bought a multipack of four cans of tomatoes and four cans of baked beans, both came coupled together with a layer of plastic which is completely unnecessary and I removed straightaway before putting them away in the cupboard, so it was complete and total waste.

This also applies with vegetables- buying a 3 pack of pre-packed peppers for instance.

Annoyingly buying these separately costs more but it’s a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.

I’d love to know what simple changes you’re making to reduce your plastic consumption.

Reusable nappies…

Simple and mess free right…? Hahaaaaaaaaaaaa 🤣

Our experience so far has not been the best. We’ve had urine leakage on several occasions, mainly in my jeans out of the side leg when I feed, and one pretty horrendous poonami when out- fortunately near to mothercare with their excellent baby change facilities!

We’ve resorted to mainly using the nappies in the house for these reasons.

We do have lots of different brands so I’m going to pay more attention to which ones leak then maybe not use those so much.

So far the Bambino Mio ones seem to be pretty good. I like that they are all in one with an attached but pull-out-able soaker core for washing. They are easy to use and, so far, leak-free!

Reusable nappies- the journey begins!

Now that we’ve had a couple of months for Edith to settled into our lives, we’re going to start trying out using reusable nappies.

In Edith’s first few months, she was getting through about 8-10 nappies a day however, now she’s sleeping for longer stretches a night and we are more savvy about when to change her we’re down to around 6 per day. Hence our decision to wait to start using reusables rather than using them from birth. Even so reducing this waste will make huge difference.

We are really lucky that we can try with little commitment as we’ve been given a huge stash of reusable nappies including liners, covers and a full briefing by a lovely generous Crafty Sew&So customer who saw some of my previous plastic-free living blog posts and wanted to support my explorations. She used them with both her 2 girls.

So instead of doling out £15+ per nappy we got the whole lot free! So we have to at least give them a try!

The “kit” consists of multi size outers which are made from PU laminated to polyester padding. They include lots of poppers to resize the nappy as she grows and a pocket to insert separate washable liner core.

This is called an all-in-one reusable nappy system – which i have been assured is as easy to use as a disposable! The onesize nappies should last from birth to potty training. The size of the nappy can be changed using the adjustable poppers and hook and loop fastenings.

The water resistant outer fabric shell is stretchy to cater for even the most active babies.

Most of the nappies we have been given are plain but there are some with really cute designs on.

The Bambino Mio range includes some lovely prints

Like disposables, a concealed absorbent core and stay-dry inner layer keep moisture away from baby’s delicate skin, leaving it cool and dry.

We were recommended to add an extra thin bamboo liner which holds solids and can be flushed down the loo.

The used nappies can then be stored in a specially designed bin with a mesh bag liner. When full, the bag can be removed and the whole thing can be put into the washing machine.

Sounds simple and mess free right?

We’ll see…!

Plastic free July – with a baby!

So as Plastic free July rolls around again, we’re welcoming a new addition to our family! Meet Edith, our 3 week old daughter!

She is adorable but also very loud and quite messy too!

A lot of her mess is cleared up with the genius that is baby wipes!

Did you know the majority of baby wipes contain or are predominantly made from plastics?

I HAD to find an alternative as we’d be using so many. So I did my research and bulk bought biodegradable wipes from Mum & You

Their wipes are biodegradable in normal landfill in 15 days!

Another alternative would be to make some reusable wipes from bamboo terry towelling cloth.

Bamboo has natural antibacterial properties so is ideal for this. It also dries quickly.

However, she is currently sleeping in our room so night-time nappies are changed up here and disposable wipes are making this process a whole lot more palatable at 3am at the mo!

However, when she’s being changed more downstairs in the nursery, next to the bathroom, we might switch to reusables.

We are also using Mum & You disposable biodegradable nappies at the mo. We will switch to reusables in a few months when we’re more settled into the changing routine!

As always, it’s one step at a time.

So that’s been our plastic free journey with our little lady so far. We really want her to have as low a carbon and plastic footprint as possible, and her main waste product is nappies and wipes so I’m glad we’ve nailed that one early!

Why reusable sanitary towels are actually much less gross than disposables…

So when I first started thinking about reusable sanitary towels I have to admit my reaction was urgh, gross! Childish and silly I know but that’s how I felt. Even at 35 I’m still a little squeamish about periods and I’m fortunate enough that I’ve always had a pretty easy ride when it comes to my “time of the month” so it’s never really been an open topic of discussion or concern.

I first started being aware that maybe there were better alternatives to disposables when I did plastic-free July and started to explore plastic swaps I could make for products I used regularly. Around this time Nada, the zero waste shop, opened in the square around the corner from Crafty Sew&So. They sold cloth pads, moon cups and other reusable sanitary products. I was intrigued.

However I found out soon after I was pregnant, so no need for sanitary products for a while!

The topic was raised again when a group of ladies asked to book a reusable towel making session at Crafty.

For the workshop, we used a pattern by Luna Wolf which you can download for free here. It’s a fab pattern with variations for everyone!

We all made pads and I have received great feedback about how effective they are 😊

After this session I really looked more deeply into the whole reusable sanitary products market. My main conclusion was that although using- mainly changing, carrying and washing – reusable pads might be a bit cumbersome, there are definitely ways to make it less so. Like making little waterproof pouches to carry used towels and using a net bag to wash them in.

I also realised that every sanitary product I’ve ever used is probably still in existence in landfill somewhere- or worse- in the ocean!

That’s the mind blowing revelation! And that is really gross!

So when it is time to go back to sanitary products I’m going to try the moon cup- or a variation of- and I’ve also made myself a batch of cloth pads too.

I’ve actually found them useful already as a precaution in case my waters break when I’ve been out this week. Just a little confidence boost which has helped me get out and about!

I feel that as I am having a daughter, it is doubly important to educate myself so I can educate and encourage her to be open minded about periods in general – by that time things will have changed but adopting an open attitude now is important.

Periods have never been a big issue in our family, with not much discussion. We were all very lucky was there was no need, we just got on with it. My mum even sent me swimming on the day I first got my period!

Pregnancy encouraged me to be more open about bodily issues with others especially my husband- whether he likes it or not! I want there to be an openness about everything as she grows up and he needs to know the facts as he is raising a girl!

NCT classes with open discussions about various less desirable effects of childbirth have helped us open up and talk about body stuff a bit more too.

I also want to raise our daughter to be very aware of small things she and we can do to reduce our impact on the world. I expect she’ll teach us much more than we know!

So in conclusion, I am now over my squeamishness and firmly committed to changing to reusable sanitary products. I’m also looking forward to using cloth nappies too- more about that adventure in another post!

2019 Life Update!


Well, it’s been a busy old year so far!

Here’s the lowdown:

After getting married in June 2018 we went on a lovely mini-moon to Palma for a few days before getting back into the swing of shop life and wife life! We were also very lucky to go on our main honeymoon in January to Sri Lanka. It was wonderful. You can find out about my honeymoon makes on the Crafty Sew&So Vlog

In September I found out I was pregnant! Yay! And it’s been baby central since then!

Had a pretty good first six months of my pregnancy. I was lucky enough to not get mourning sickness just a bit of nausea and dizziness and my 2nd trimester was pretty fantastic really.

My 3rd trimester however was plagued by heartburn and insomnia – not much fun but like I said, I was pretty lucky for the first six months! It could’ve been much worse! Moan over!

So as I write this I am 41 weeks pregnant and have mixed feelings about when the baby should come – not that I have any control over it!

I’ve really enjoyed my maternity leave so far – three weeks of unplanned freedom!

I’ve used the time to do a bit of nesting, making lots of meals for the freezer.

I’ve been making a few baby accessories including hats and a crochet blanket.

I’ve made a few nursing-friendly garments including a hack of the My Handmade Wardrobe Cosy Jersey Dress

And I’ve been working on a pattern for a wrap nursing top

Plus lots of going out whilst I still can for meals with the husband and coffee and cake dates with family and friends!

Oh and a fair bit of Netflix and cake binging at home too!!

I know the next few months are going to be a roller coaster- I’ve been reading up on what to expect but I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared! So I’ve just been trying to relax and enjoy it as much as possible.

I’m hopefully going to be posting a bit more regularly on this, my personal blog, to keep in touch with the outside world! So till then…

My Handmade Wedding Dresses!

Hi guys! I’ve been holding off on writing this post because I was waiting for our official photos to come through, and wow, they are fab! They’ve bought all of the wonderful memories of that day flooding back.

So I already went into detail about all the wonderful handcrafted elements of our wedding which everybody contributed to make the day really special in my last post.

Now I’m going to get onto the important stuff… The dresses!

The bridesmaids dresses

The beautiful print was designed by my talented bridesmaid Chloe. I sent her some inspiration and she created the perfect print to bring all the colours together. I love the digital floral which looks modern with a classic and simple silhouette.

The dresses were fit and flare style with cap sleeves and full pleated skirts. Modern and elegant but fun too.

I wanted a style that everyone would feel comfortable in and they all looked amazing!

The waistcoats

Matt chose the fabric for the waistcoats from the fancy silk store in Birmingham. I was looking at more traditional cream and gold jacquards but I love the colour he picked out! I pull everything together so well!

He helped cut out some of the waistcoats and mum and I made them up.

The trickiest but was creating the bound buttonholes and self covered buttons but I’m so glad the persevered as they were the perfect finishing touch!

The accessories

Tracy Corns, one of our tutors at Crafty and a good friend, made me this gorgeous clutch bag using the waistcoat fabric which I’ll put a pic in of later in this post.

Inspired by this, I made a little simple clutch for my mum too.

My Thursday registry office wedding dress

I made a vintage style dress for my registry office ceremony using a vintage pattern for the first time ever!

As I have heard horror stories about the fit of vintage patterns, I made a toile in calico in a similar weight to the brocade fabric I was using fro my finished dress and I was hugely surprised it actually fit pretty well with very few alterations.

We had had the brocade fabric in the Crafty Sew&So shop for some time and I’d grown more and more fond of it.

Then when I saw this Dolce &Gabbana fess in the Harrod’s window at Christmas I knew it was perfect!

It’s got sweet little flowers and a late 1950s feel which was perfect for this style and the occasion. Elegant, formal but fun and a bit glam!

I paired it with shoes and a gorgeous vintage style headband from Rainbow Club.

I got some pretty and simple jewellery from Accessorize and went for pretty pale gold and glitter nails.

I did my own hair- and taught myself how to backcomb!

My Saturday reception wedding dress

I decided not to make my own wedding dress for a few very good reasons …

I knew in the run up to the wedding I wanted to spend time with my long suffering fiancé. If I decided to make a traditional wedding dress with multiple layers and formal structure I’d be cooped up in my craft room for several months beforehand. So this thought played a big part in my decision not to make my wedding dress for the Saturday.

I’m so glad I made the right decision. Matt and I enjoyed planning the graphics for the wedding including the save the dates, invites, thankyou cards for the gifts for bridesmaids and mothers (more on those later) and gifts for the groomsmen. We enjoyed designing special touches that we wouldn’t have had time for if I had been squirrelling away on a complicated dress.

Another factor for my decision was that I also struggled to find good quality silk, and when I did from The Silk Route, it was at the pricey end of the scale, not overpriced as I feel it’s very good value for the quality but it would have really stretched our already tight budget. So when I came across a pre-loved pure silk dress in the Loros bridal boutique in Leicester I had to try it on- even if I just used the fabric it was a great buy! And it fit beautifully! So for £100- which of course went to a fantastically worthy cause- I got around 4 metres of silk and beautiful lace!

I actually decided not to make too many alterations.

The dress had a pleated skirt which what I’d wanted in the first place.

I wasn’t sure about lace but it was really pretty and just enough.

The dress also had a belt. I took off the fussy bow and lace appliqué leaving a beautiful silk-ribbon-adorned removable belt.

I’d seen a dress covered I embroidery which I loved but I knew it was just beyond my skill set! I was nervous about adding embroidery directly onto the dress as I’ve not have much experience, So I made a bow and ties from matching ivory raw silk. I embroidered one of the ties and mum embroidery the other, it was lovely to have us both contribute our time to this.

I backed the ties with corn yellow raw silk which matched the waistcoats and I sent a swatch of this to when I sent off my Rainbow Club shoes to be dyed to match.

Tracy, one of our shop tutors, made me a gorgeous bag using fabric from the waistcoats. I love the gold bag clasp!

I could drivel on and on about much more of the detail of our fantastic day but I think that’ll do for this post! If you want to hear even more about the wedding I’ve posted a vlog up on the Crafty YouTube Channel. So take a look 😊

Plastic Swap- Deodorant 2

Continuing my plastic swap series, I’m trying and reviewing non plastic alternatives for everyday items. I’ll pledge to try out the swap for a month and let you know how I get on and if I plan to keep the swap or drop the swap.

following on from my first Deodorant Swap I thought I’d try a few other alternatives

The first one I tried was a deodorant stick in a push up cardboard tube by Ben and Anna from Just Fair Trade. It was £10.

I like the packaging, the pushup tube is easy to use and not messy but I do have to press it down over the end of another narrower object to get it to push up towards the end as my fingers aren’t long enough!

It’s neat and portable so great for nights away, sports bag and holidays.

The main active ingredient is baking soda.

It also contains arrowroot powder which absorbs excess moisture and keeps the armpit dry.

It’s all bound together with coconut and sunflower oil and cornstarch.

This creates a solid stick which is a little tough to use when it’s cold. I tried wetting it with some warm water which helps it glide but makes it more messy.

I found it hard to put a thin layer on as suggested and as a result it did leave slightly crusty marks on my clothes.

Unlike Nudd, it is perfumed. I chose the Persian line and it’s lovely and fresh.

Swap or drop?

Swap – for travel – the packaging is very convenient- and on warm days! I like that it’s not messy and goes on fairly well when it’s warm. It’s pricey but smells move and has lasted fairly well- although I’m not using it regularly. I think if I used it everyday I’d get through it a bit too quickly for the price.

So the reason I’m not using it exclusively is I found another option… which I love!

Swap 3 is Aromaco solid deodorant from Lush at £5.50 for 100g.

I bought a long thin 120g piece. 2 months in and I’ve only used about half! It’s such good value and really works! It is a bit messy as there is no proper packaging but I tied some fabric around it to help me hold it and I keep it in a tin for storage.

It is brilliant, leaves no marks and glides on. And it works!

Swap or drop?

Definitely swap. It’s great value and works well. It’s fragrance free so I use it with my perfume.

Why I’ve been a bit quiet this first half of the year… (spoiler – it’s the one about the wedding!)

I’ve been planning, designing and creating my wedding!

On Thursday 21st June I got married to the gorgeous Mr.Matthew Laws! And became Mrs Sarah Laws!

We had a lovely simple registry office ceremony at the town hall followed by a meal at our favourite restaurant. It was a beautiful day, very relaxed, shared with family and a few close friends.


We could have happily stopped at that but we really wanted to create a bigger celebration to share with as many of our combined friends and family as possible, so on the following Saturday, we enjoyed a big party with 100 of our nearest and dearest!

Everyone says how much time and effort it takes to plan a wedding and they’re not wrong- especially if, like me, you’re determined to DIY as much of it as possible! For me creating a DIY wedding wasn’t so much about saving money, although that was a welcome bonus, it was about creating a truly unique day for me and my husband and all our family and friends and enjoying sharing the creativity in the run-up to the big day!

We decided on a large village hall in a picturesque village in Leicestershire as the venue. The hall was a new build, big and with lots of space outside too. Although it was a bit bland, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was unattractive and it had bags of potential for decorating and prettying up!


With the canvas set, we were ready to get creative!

I always knew I wanted to add lots of personal touches to our special day so I started by doing lots of research and gathering it all together in a mood board. It’s a technique I picked up from working in design and it really helped to work out all the details.


I also set up an Instagram feed to gather images. I set this as a private feed so I could share the progress of my dress and other things that I wanted to keep as a surprise from my other half and any friends or family who wanted to wait for the big day. It’s really nice to have it to look back on and see how it all came together.

Gathering all the images together made defining a colour palette a lot easier.

I also wanted to work with what we had already so we included the red of the curtains to save from paying out to cover them up and I knew Matt wanted a navy blue suit so blue became a feature of the colour palette. I love the sunshine so yellow had to be in there too!

We hired a company to hang drapes and festoon lights to add welcome cosines to the cavernous hall and we added bunting, made by my mum and new mother-in-law, to bring all the colours together.


We supersized the bunting in the main hall for dramatic effect and made small flags for the entrance hall.

The gorgeous schedule board was illustrated by Paul from Bread & Honey


Matt is a graphic designer so he was in charge of the save the dates and invites and thank you cards for the gifts.

He also designed gorgeous gifts for the groomsmen- engraved tankards


And presentation cards for the bridesmaid’s gifts, which were necklaces I made using a combo of a chain, findings and charms from a fab Etsy shop. Plus a little enamel paint!


The mums got simple but effective bracelets with bee charms on.


The bee theme was continued in the table runners which were in bee print and honeycomb print cotton with cotton lace trim.



I knew I wanted sunflowers in my bouquet and we had lovely daisies growing in our garden so that was a start. Me and mum went to the Flower wholesalers and I have to say I found it more than a little overwhelming! But we came away with a few bunches of pompon chrysanthemums, gypsophila, a few sunflowers and lots of ideas! We put together a few small arrangements and were able to settle on a design for a simple buttonhole.


We then went to see the wholesalers again to place the order for our flowers. I added Viking Santini to the mix which are a bit like mini sunflowers. As well as cut flowers, I also ordered my wedding bouquet to be assembled by them.

On the Friday we picked up the flowers and I was surprised by the colour of the sunflowers! They were orange! Apparently, this is because they were English rather than European. The pompom-mums were also a bit paler than I expected. I’ve tried hard not to get hung up on specific colours through-out the wedding planning but with emotions running high I felt something just wasn’t gelling. I totally understand why so many people leave it to the professionals! I took a deep breath and looked at all the shades of yellow-orange together and I decided to add some mid yellow germinis, which helped to blend everything together perfectly.

Mum had also raided a local field to gather ox-eye daisies and some greenery.


At the hall, we trimmed and spilt the flowers and assembled around 30 jam jars and 15 vases- which the family had been gathering from antique markets and charity shops for us!


Victoria, my new sister-in-law, cross-stitched this gorgeous ring presenter and Emma added the text in fine thread embroidery.


Outside, we had straw bales and outdoor games including giant Jenga and hook-a-duck which my sister compiled!


After a windy disaster with the gazebos- I won’t reflect on that too much- we were very lucky with the weather for the rest of the day and we were able to really make the most of the gorgeous grounds. The boys even enjoyed a game of footy and a spot of tree climbing!


We really enjoyed encouraging everyone we know to contribute creatively too.

Dad made the cake and I iced it. It was 2 layers of rich chocolate sponge which I knew was delicious because he’d made a practice one for me to practice icing a few weeks before!



The little figurines were made at my Crafty hen do in the shop along with crepe paper streamers, the table runners and a few other finishing touches.

As well as the main cake, I asked some of my brilliantly talented baking friends to make some deserts.

Emily made a gorgeous chocolate orange cheese cake, lois made a luscious lemon tart and Victoria crates a brownie and blonde mountain. Not wanting anyone to be left out, my dad made dairy and gluten-free lemon cupcakes which went down very well with everyone!

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The main wedding breakfast was provided by Las Tapitas. We started with a selection of substantial canapés- pintxos- little skewers of meat, cheese and other delicious tastes- and tapitas- little tasters of wonderful Spanish cuisine!


These were followed by 3 paella’s- seafood, chicken and chorizo and vegetarian with delicious beans. I think the vegetarian was actually my favourite!


We rounded off the night with cheese- of course as me and Matt are a bit obsessed! Matt ordered this from Leicester market and it was fantastic! The section included my favourite- Blacksticks Blue, amongst others!

We had our first dance to Electic Dreams.

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We were blessed with the most outstanding sunset in the evening too!



It was a truly wonderful and magical day with lots of happy memories created. Most of all I will remember how everyone came together to make it happen in their own personal ways.

Find out more about my dress in my Vlog over on the Crafty Sew&So channel and stay tuned for the next blog post all about the other outfits!

Plastic swap-Toothpaste

Hi! After a brief hiatus due to lack of money – darn it, this experiment is expensive (but what’s the cost of saving the planet hey!) – I’m back continuing my plastic swap series with another plastic-free review. I’m trying and reviewing non-plastic alternatives for everyday items. I’ll pledge to try out the swap for a month and let you know how I get on and if I plan to keep the swap or drop the swap.

Swap – toothpaste in a glass jar

Why swap?

The Squeezy tube stuff I usually use is not recyclable at all and I’m not really sure what’s in toothpaste. What am I actually putting in my mouth twice a day?

Most commercial toothpastes contain artificial sweeteners, parabens, fluoride, whiteners, to name a few of the nasties.

And we’re putting them in our mouths! Hmmm.

Swap options:

So, you can make your own using this cool tutorial

but who actually has time for that!

I went on the search in my 2 favourite shops.

The Just store don’t have any in yet, but owner Kerry has been trying a charcoal version. Not sure if I fancy black toothpaste!

Nada, the new zero waste store in St.Martins Square sells Georganics toothpaste made out of Coconut oil and some other stuff I am assured is good, safe and organic! It comes in a cardboard box with some info about usage on it, then inside there is a recyclable glad jar with a metal lid. It was £6.50 for 60 mls.

My usual Colgate squeezy plastic tube is £1.20 for 100mls- but I probably only use 80mls though as the container makes it hard to get the last bits out.

The pot comes with a little bamboo spatula to ensure very last bit gets used.

My swap:

So… I’ve just tried the plastic and chemical-free toothpaste.

It’s weird!

It doesn’t foam and tastes kinda minty but, like, not good minty… like going to the dentists minty. But it’s not super sweet though like the standard tube toothpaste which is actually quite refreshing. Maybe I could get used to it … hmm 🤔

5 days on and I’m getting used to the non foaming. My teeth feel clean too, and I hardly had to use any.

A week in and I’m sticking with this one but I’m still not 100%. It has a weird, almost fishy taste which might come from the baking soda in the ingredients. I’m finding the lack of taste a bit off putting too although I used the tube stuff the other day as I was away from home and it tasted so super sweet and kind of stung my mouth.

3 week’s in, I still have 1/2 a pot left. I’ve used it every day and night apart from a few days where I needed a bit more freshness.

I choose the spearmint flavour and I am wondering if the other flavours might be a bit more punchy.

Swap or drop?

Nope, not convinced on this one. I want to find an alternative to the tube toothpaste but not this. I like the dispenser, it’s clean and easy to use. But the actual toothpaste is just not sitting well with me.