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My Sustainable Maternity Wardrobe

My Sustainable Maternity Wardrobe

As you may or may not know I RARELY write about fashion or style on the blog. I do, however, share lots of pictures of myself and my outfits on Instagram and I’m always surprised at the response, which is overwhelmingly to ask me where I got stuff from.

This is not to brag about my excellent styling skills (which aren’t excellent….) but to explain why I’m writing a post about fashion when I rarely have before.

Because questions mean people need to know, amiright?

My Ethical Style Journey

My ethical style journey is similar to many, perhaps. I’ve never liked shopping, but was a shopaholic as a teen, naturally, and presumed cheap, fast fashion was the only way.

Fast forward to uni and I’d honed my style, in that I knew what suited my shape (pretty much) and liked what I liked. And that was NEVER anything ‘on trend’. At the time I thought this was a hindrance on my part, and that not having fun with fashion would come back to haunt me when I was 80 and couldn’t do that anymore.

Which is total bullshit because a) I can do what I want at whatever age, including aged 80. And b) there’s absolutely no reason why ‘having fun with fashion’ should mean wearing trends we’ve been sold as part of a cynical capitalist ploy to make us think we need more, for less, all the time.

So, as it goes, I am eternally grateful for my inner fashion scrooge.

Quitting fast fashion

Despite the fact I’ve always been a keen budgeter and anti-shopper, I didn’t quit fast fashion until about four years ago. And even then, I didn’t do it very well.

In a previous life I was a retail planner (merchandiser), and for ten years I worked in retail head offices making as much margin as possible while maximising sales and minimising costs. In real terms, this means making money for big retailers by screwing over everyone aside from the board (the consumer and the supply chain.)

So I know a thing or two about retail.

This knowledge is what turned me off the high street, not an intricate understanding of the human and environmental costs.

But either way, quit it I did and as my zero waste curiosity piqued so did my sustainability interest. And that led me into a big black hole of research, books, and, of course, the MUST watch documentary The True Cost.

Where am I at with my sustainable fashion ethos now? Well, I wear what I have first and foremost and have started to really dig deep on mending, altering and styling (not my forte, but fun!)

I choose to thrift/charity shop anything I need (for me, and for Anaïs) and lastly I buy the most ethical I can afford.

I have a lovely list of brands I turn to and I haven’t bought more than a handful of things based purely on the fact buying new is last on my list, so stuff I do buy is few and far between.

So that’s me, and my ethos. Which you didn’t come here for but this is what you’ve got and informs/explains how I’ve gone about building a sustainable maternity wardrobe; not the easiest task to do!

My Sustainable Maternity Style

First off, I want to acknowledge my privilege; I am a standard-size 8-10, average height and live somewhere where I have the option of a LOT of charity/thrift shops.

It’s easier for me to find stuff basically. I have more choice so my rules mightn’t translate into your perfect wardrobe but I hope it’ll help inspire you a bit.

I REALLY recommend seeking out Aja Barber who is a sustainable fashion expert and can talk to plus-sized fashion too; what she doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. You can find her on Instagram but the good stuff is on her Patreon.

If you’re still with me, here’s how I built my maternity wardrobe.

It’s such a long period of time to think about in one go, I tried not to stress too much about seasonal things and instead opted for items I could wear all year round and layer. 

I also bought little and often, so I didn’t feel burdened with a heap of stuff I then needed to sell or make work. 

Buying second-hand

The first things I picked up were maternity jeans and I was lucky enough to find them in one of my local charity shops.

I frequent them regularly so it was a case of luck, thin privilege and commitment to the cause! 

I got two pairs of jeans; both under bump. One in an autumnal mustard (my pregnancy would span from February to October) and one in blue denim (these were in a tall so I had to alter them, which was easy enough.

I then got a three pack of plain black, stretchy vest tops from Vinted which I knew would be fab for layering and a few maternity bras too (some might find this gross but I don’t care…..it all gets washed, ya know?) 

Sustainable maternity brands

Because the bulk of my pregnancy fell in HOT, sweaty summer I wanted a breastfeeding friendly, cotton/jersey jumpsuit so I bought two. One maternity and one non. 

Beyond Nine make beautiful maternity wear designed to last you beyond the nine months. So it’s all breastfeeding friendly too. I opted for this one, although in hindsight it wasn’t my favourite piece as it doesn’t really suit me as even the small size is HUGE on me at nine months pregnant. 

The next thing I knew I’d need was at least one pair of over bump maternity leggings. The H&M pairs you might pick up en masse are super crappy quality and I guarantee by the end of your pregnancy they’ll be worn ragged. 

So I found a pair of Jojo Maman Bebe (not sustainable, buy second hand) leggings on eBay which is excellent for honing in on specifics (set a saved search so you don’t have to think about it/get tempted to browse!)

ps – Isabella Oliver and Seraphine are both great brands in terms of fit and quality but they aren’t truly sustainable so do what I did and find preloved pieces on eBay/Vinted/Depop instead. 

Non-maternity wear that works

The jumpsuit I LOVED the most was my OmBaby which can also be breastfeeding friendly if I switch it around as it has a lovely low v-back. It isn’t maternity but because of the relaxed fit worked perfectly for me. 

If you simply want a few vest tops, or under bump leggings you could totally just size up non maternity wear. 

I don’t wear a heap of tight stuff anyway, opting for relaxed fits so almost all of my t-shirts and jumpers still work for me which is a huge bonus. 

As your pregnancy progresses you’ll undoubtedly want slip on shoes so bear that in mind. I had some old Birkenstocks and a black pair of slip on trainers too. 

The errors

Like I said, the Beyond Nine jumpsuit isn’t my favourite and I’ll certainly sell it afterwards. But it’ll be helpful in the days after birth (especially if I have another c-section) as it’s loose, breathable and breastfeeding friendly.

I couldn’t afford any ethical activewear so after sticking it out with my pre-preggo stuff I caved at 36 weeks and bought some bamboo Seraphine yoga pants. They were the most ‘ethical’ of the fast fashion brands I could find but still……not truly sustainable. 

I also panic bought a yellow summer top from eBay but only wore it once so I sold it again (same price, yay!)

Not keeping my maternity-wear from pregnancy one was probably the biggest error and I had to rebuy bits I knew I had first time around. VERY frustrating! 

If you’d like a big old maternity style cheat sheet, please do download mine right HERE! 

L x

The Pregnancy Diaries Part Deux: The Second Trimester

The Pregnancy Diaries Part Deux: The Second Trimester

Hey hey friends! I’m finally in my third trimester and it truly feels as though I’m on the home strait. Except….I still have a potential three months to go. WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG?!

Seriously, I feel like the second trimester has absolutely dragged. And that is the total opposite of what everyone told me would happen; “Your pregnancy will fly by because you have a toddler to look after.”

WRONG. I should’ve guessed this though because everyone said the first pregnancy would be slow, and it whizzed by in a haze of smugness (I LOVED pregnancy the first time around. Loved it hard.)

So here goes, this is my diary of the second trimester for your reading pleasures.

13 – 17 WEEKS

After a tricky first trimester I expected to feel that energetic boost come week twelve along with a disappearance of the dreaded morning sickness.

But somehow, I feel more tired than I’ve ever felt in my life and I STILL feel sick. What the actual.

I struggled through my very, very slow runs and my bump started to get heavy and uncomfortable but mostly, I just felt too tired to do any exercise at all. But of a spiral into feeling crap!

That coupled with anxiety and a real low patch left me struggling through the first chunk of my second trimester.

Although HELLO I took a little mini break to Lisbon with hubs so that was nice.

18 – 22 WEEKS

This chunk of my second trimester was marked by sleeplessness. With a toddler who slept ‘well’ from about ten months I honestly have never had to deal with the sleepless nights some have to for years. Well, I’m paying for that now aren’t I? !

Along with the dreaded restless leg syndrome I have also been struck with some fun occasional insomnia which is SUCH a treat. And I find that extreme exhaustion coupled with looking after a toddler is just THE BEST. Agreed?

Okay enough moaning. Good things about being pregnant…. my hair, skin and nails are DREAMY this time around. Who knew? That’s a treat and a half. Especially as I wash my hair about once a year and manage to file my nails less than that 😉

I’ve also started thinking about the birth. Not a lot, because AGES to go but a little. My last birth was a planned home birth ending in an emergency c-section so I’m a bit mixed about it all. The NHS are very pro vbac (vaginal birth after caesarian) but that comes with some risks and the potential of a lot more medicalisation (unless i go against protocol) 

Anyway, as I write this I have a plan. But I’m not super keen to discuss it here just yet so let’s just say I’ve done a HEAP of research and feel a whole heap more prepared than last time on every count.

23-28 WEEKS

So as it goes, along with the news I am magnesium deficient, don’t have enough protein in my diet and a few other things (hello B12!) I am anaemic! Yay. So iron tablets are being dutifully knocked back and even my decaf coffee has been ditched. 

But excitingly, I’ve started to feel better! Yay! I can’t tell you how dreamy it is to get a good night’s sleep when you’ve had weeks of exhaustion. And my energy levels are up too so I’ve clawed back my yoga practice, adding in some workouts and dynamic sessions to add to the daily restorative stuff.

Lastly, I’ve started hypnobirthing! The lovely YesMum gifted me her online course which led me down a rabbit hole of teachers here in Brighton. I found Laura and so far she has basically changed my life. Well, my pregnancy anyway….

I regret not doing hypnobirthing SO much last time around so I’m throwing myself into it now and I have to say I am a TOTAL convert. I had an idea it was just breath work, which I already do through yoga so I dismissed it based on my own half-arsed pre conceptions. But it’s not at all! I finally understand what happened with my last birth, why it went ‘wrong’ and have put things in place to help me if the same thing repeats itself. That’s not to say I think hypnobirthing alone guarantees you to have a perfect birth (sidenote: what the fudge is a perfect birth anyway) but I already know I have tools to cope with the inevitable changes and fun surprises that tend to crop up throughout labour.

Lastly, I start my pregnancy yoga teacher training this month! This is something I’ve wanted to do FOREVER and had planned to do earlier this year but….yeah, surprise baby got in the way and plans had to change. But it all worked out for the best as I’ve had six months to think about what type of yoga teacher I want to be (one who doesn’t namaste or chant…..) and helping women during pregnancy in an accessible way is far more appealing to me than teaching £15 a class iyengar yoga to yuppies. (yuppies like me, admittedly…)

Watch this space for the next chapter of The Pregnancy Diaries or catch up with #bumpwatch on Instagram.

L x

The Pregnancy Diaries: Week 41 (The BIRTH!)

The Pregnancy Diaries: Week 41 (The BIRTH!)

Woop, woop! It’s the final instalment of The Pregnancy Diaries! I’ve never stuck at a blog post series before, and I’ve definitely never found 800-1000 words as easy to write every single week. Okay. Sometimes I really had nowt to write about and other weeks I wrote WAY too much but either way, I wrote. Every week, without fail. And I took endless pictures of my bump too, watching it change and grow and move around like there was a wee alien inside.

Which there was!

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The Pregnancy Diaries: 39 Weeks (What’s Inside My ‘Hospital’ Bag?)

The Pregnancy Diaries: 39 Weeks (What’s Inside My ‘Hospital’ Bag?)

Ooooh, is this my first ever Mama packing list? Obviously, this is a small holiday and it may not even happen given my plans to have a home-birth, but I am nothing if not a planner, so I’ve planned for the eventuality I have to transfer into hospital.

And that means packing a hospital bag…which, I’m not gonna lie taps into one of my FAVE activities ever. Packing, y’all!

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The Pregnancy Diaries: 38 Weeks (What is Self-Employed Maternity Leave?)

The Pregnancy Diaries: 38 Weeks (What is Self-Employed Maternity Leave?)

If you are one of my Facebook friends or Twitter followers you’ll have seen my rantings on the topic of maternity leave. Yep, apologies for that one…..not my finest hour. I had a truly terrible week after being assured by my accountant I was eligible for maternity allowance, checking on the handy Gov.UK’s maternity entitlement calculator and filling out a whole heap of horrendous forms. Which, FYI, I filled out about 12 weeks before my due date as I wanted to go on mat leave a couple of weeks prior.

Then I got the letter telling me I wasn’t entitled to anything. Zero. NADA.

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