Zero Waste Families

2019/07/01 07:30:01

As parents we have a responsibility to lead by example for our kids, and being eco friendly and trying to be as zero waste as possible, is definitely something worth doing. But how can we make real changes, and not burden our already over complicated and stressful lives?

Here are some small changes which we have made as a family over the last few years. We didn't do them all in the one go, but gradually over time. We changed our habits, so now these things are just what we do as a family. All the small changes do add up!

1. Back to bars
So one of the first things we did was switch to using a shampoo bar. I loved it! My hair felt squeaky clean and the bar has the added bonus of using no plastic, no harsh chemicals and being made locally here in Ireland! I then switched my shower gel for a bar of soap.

2. Reusable coffee cups
Yes, I am the proud owner of a KeepCup and I also brought one I got in my old job out of retirement. I bring them everywhere with me, so I now never have to use a take away cup. Bonus is, that a load of places are now offering a discount for bringing your own cup! Check out the Conscious Cup Campaign here, to see which cafes are signed up in your area

3. Reusable water bottles
I actually noticed how many plastic water bottles we were using when my oldest started in Montessori. She would go with a plastic sports cap bottle everyday and it would come home half drunk, with little bits floating in it, so I would throw out each evening. I invested in a Kleen Kanteen bottle for her, and it's paid for itself about 10 times over at this stage. Now I have two bottles for myself and himself too.

4. Reusable nappies
Forget what your mother did - no more steeping nappies in buckets and boiling in large vats on your cooker. Modern reusable nappies are easy to use, great for the environment and your pocket (less bin charges) and the added bonus of coming in lots of very pretty designs! I gave them a go when my oldest was about 7/8 months old and I'm back using now with my 6 month old. I don't use them everyday - I use a mix of them with disposables as it suits our family. But using just one reusable nappy each day will save around 900 nappies going to landfill by the time my lady is toilet trained! Check out for details on how to start, and where you can also rent a beginners loan pack, which is a brilliant way of giving them a try.

5. Reusable wipes
So obviously these kinda go with the nappies. But you can also get for faces and hands if you don't want for bums. I have two sided ones (fleece on one side, Terry towel on the other) that I use to clean madam up after eating. I just wet them under the tap, clean herself and Chuck into the washing machine. No fuss and they actually clean her better than disposable wipes.

6. Reusable wax wraps
So I've started to use these instead of cling film. Very easy to use. I'm actually going to try making some myself (as I have access to beeswax). Since I've started using about 3 months ago, I've used cling film once in that time! A big change and cut down on the plastic.

7. Tupperware
Yes, the stuff your mother/aunty sold at parties in the 80's is back. Its very practical, comes in a variety of shapes/colours/brands (not just Tupperware branded) and can be used over and over again. I put my cold meats in it in the fridge (think ham, chicken) instead of using cling film to cover the packet. I've also brought empty containers to my local supermarket and butcher and got them to put my meat straight in there, instead of using the little plastic bags. However, you definitely will end up with a press/drawer full of random lids with no bottoms and bottoms with no lids, so be warned!

8. Shopping bags
So we all use reusable shopping bags now, since the plastic bag levy came into place a few years ago. Now I also have cotton and mesh bags that I use in the supermarket. I use them instead of the little plastic bags for my fruit and vegetables or for fresh bread. (Or if you don't have these, why not reuse some of the small plastic bags you already have instead?) When I get past the checkout, I then unwrap as much food into my own bags as possible and leave my non-recyclable plastic in the supermarket. If enough people do this, the supermarkets will have to work with their suppliers to force their hand and reduce the amount of plastic packaging being used. Lidl already have bins at the checkouts specifically for this purpose in certain stores.

9. Meal plan
Did you know that every household in Ireland is responsible for 1 Tonne of food waste each year, with the cost per household between 400eur and 1,000eur? In order to cut down on the amount of food going in our bin, I try to meal plan as much as I can. I do a plan at the start of the week of the dinners I'm going to do for each day, and then make a list of everything I will need. By doing this, I'm no longer getting to the end of the week and throwing out a load of gone off food that I bought with no real plans of how/when to use.

10. Eco friendly toothbrush
I got myself and the hubby some bamboo ones. I wasn't impressed with the brand I got to be honest, as it didn't suit me personally. I need a small toothbrush with a very soft head and the eco ones don't seem offer ones like that currently. However, I got a fantastic one for my 3year old, made of cornstarch!

11. Switch to a menstrual cup
This is definitely one which took a bit of getting used to! I'd say it was a good 4 cycles before I was entirely comfortable using it, but I would never go back! My menstrual cycles went from 7 days to 4, my bleeding is now a lot less, and I no longer get period pains at all. A total no brainer!

Remember, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Every small change you make is important.

10 Tips for Travelling with Kids this Summer

2019/06/05 05:42:38

The last holiday abroad I had was when my youngest was 9months old, and I went to Italy for my brother's wedding. Fast forward 3 years and one new addition, I'm overdue a week away in relative sunshine with cheap booze. Travelling with kids can be stressful, but with a little planning, you can make it a relatively enjoyable experience.

Here are my top tips for travelling with little people

1. Make a list
Yes, I've officially turned into my mother, but she was definitely into something. Having a list means that I'm (less) likely to forget something. I use Google Keep Notes (it's a free app) to do my lists, as they have a nice checklist feature, so you can pick things off as you get them done.

2. Pack changes of clothes in your hand luggage
So with one in nappies and one only recently potty changed, I didn't want to be covered in any type of bodily fluid. It came in handy, as we had a poonami in the Airport on the way home! Also good in case your bag gets lost on the way, so at least you have something to wear when you get there. I used the plastic ziploc freezer bags so it was easy to find them in my bag.

3. Try out packing cubes
I got this set off Amazon for 22gbp with free delivery to my UK PostPal address. They are fantastic quality and really made me think about what we needed to bring. I had a small one for each of the girls, a medium one each for myself and the hubby, the large one for all our swim gear and the small one for toiletries. It meant we only brought one suitcase for a week! (*We did do a wash while we were away)

4. Use a sling
Hands down the best thing to bring with you on holiday. No faffing about with a buggy, no worrying about whether it will get damaged on the plane, and we didn't have to watch it get soaked in the rain when left on the tarmac at our destination (unlike another family on our plane). Also great when you are doing the tourist thing, as a lot of places are not really accessible with a buggy. We went to Venice for the day and there was loads of steps up and down bridges which would have been a nightmare with with the buggy.

5. Bring snacks
Who knows if your plane/train/bus will be delayed, and it maybe somewhere with no shops or too late at night for them to be open. There is nothing worse* than a toddler saying "I'm hungry" and you have nothing to give them! (*except not having number 2 on this list in your bag and having a poonami)

6. Write your number on your kids arm in pen
Particularly a good idea if your kiddo is too small to know your number, in case they get lost in a crowd.

7. Get some new toys for the plane
You can pick up some cheap new toys, and bring them out on the plane to keep them occupied. I got stuff in Deal and Euro Giant.

8. Pack out the car seat
If you are bringing a car seat, remember most airlines allow you to bring this as an extra piece of luggage for free. You can pad it out with extra nappies and towels (instead of your suitcase). I made a bubble wrap bag for ours, so we could just take it out when we got there and reused it to pack it back up on our way home.

9. Baby rooms
Most airports now have baby rooms, to help lower parents stress levels. There are ones after security in Dublin Airport (in both terminals) and a lot of ones abroad do too. I was very impressed with the ones in Marco Polo Airport, Venice this year. They had a baby changing area, separate private cubicle with locakable door, comfortable chair and plug for breastfeeding or pumping and the added bonus of another cubicle with a child size toilet!

10. Have fun!
You have worked hard all year keeping the kids alive, enjoy your holiday with them! Do fun things together you don't get time to do at home. Take a walk. Kick a ball. Play a game. Anything, as long as you are giving your child your full attention, I guarantee they (and you) will have a memorable holiday.

Make Walking Your Habit!

2019/04/10 07:52:24

What a beautiful bright day to put this to the test. The benefits of walking for your mental health are widely recognised, the fresh air alone does wonders for sleep deprived parents, especially in those early weeks when the last thing you feel like doing is exercise, just getting out in the fresh air for a gentle walk especially if you can be around nature and trees is really beneficial. There is a form of nature therapy popular in Japan called Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing”, for this reason.

Making it a habit is key, building on the time spent walking or building on the pace of the walk can keep the motivation up. Enjoy the benefits of unwinding, using it as a digital detox, a time to log off and switch off both physically and mentally from the pressures of modern life. You can register online to receive a barcode with Parkrun, all levels of walkers and runners meet every Saturday at 9.30am to do a 5km loop of the local parks, knowing they’ll be out in all kinds of weather can encourage participants to take part consistently. At Cuidiu DW we have weekly walks on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9.30am

Also keep an eye out for our P2P walk and talk event, where a trained P2P will be present to listen and offer support during a local walk, nature therapy at its best! Have a lovely week.

Chicken and Broccoli Bake

2019/04/10 07:50:41

Chicken and broccoli bake recipe from bring a plate evening.

2 heads broccoli and other veg of choice.

Sweetcorn is nice combination.

Chicken cooked and diced

2 x 295g Erin condensed chicken soup Cup of milk

4tsp curry powder

4tbls mayonnaise


Cook broccoli for few minutes. For the sauce combine soup, milk, curry powder and mayo and heat for few minutes. Layer veg, chicken, sauce, cheese and thin layer of breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 200°

It's Good To Talk

2019/04/03 08:29:53

It's good to talk

Having a baby is the biggest life change most of us will experience. It can be the most rewarding, but also the most challenging, not to mention worrying! Being able to talk about concerns and share experiences with others in the same situation as you can be very helpful.

Parent to Parent Supporters offer a listening ear about the ups and downs of being a parent. As parents ourselves we try to help make parenthood the joy it should be. Come join us for a cuppa and a chat tomorrow from 10-12 in Balgaddy Family Centre.



We Are Good Enough

2019/03/20 17:08:28

Unfortunately we have had to postpone next week's wellness talk. But we look forward to rescheduling it in the very near future and will post details as soon as we have them.


We are taking our inspiration this week from this quote:

Wellness Planning & Talk

2019/03/13 11:43:53

There is a lovely wellness planner available in Dunnes Stores for €6 At the moment. Why not make your wellbeing a priority and take a few minutes to set some intentions, write a gratitude list, list sparks of joy, inspiring thoughts, take time to jot down your favourite motivational quotations, use it to consider hopes and dreams. Having a special journal to prioritise your wellbeing could help you make it a habit and help organise your self care in the same way that most of us organise our hectic family schedules.

Holistic Practitioner life coach and guided meditation teacher Caroline Meade of "It’s Time For Me" will have lots of tips for us during her wellness talk on March 25th. We hope to see you there, don’t forget to book your ticket before it’s too late!

Tools for Mindfulness

2019/03/06 13:06:23

Ryan Tubrity showed great sensitivity and empathy during his interview of Graham McCormick on the Late Late Show on Friday night. It was a brutally honest and real interview about Graham's personal struggles with mental health and how after years of suffering he overcame his demons through DBT therapy and it was during this interview that Graham admitted that Mindfulness saved his life. While some people could find the interview upsetting, it clearly showed great courage, honesty and true inner strength for Graham to discuss these issues. One tool Graham finds helpful is the Thought-Feeling-Urge technique, if you catch the negative thought then you can be aware of the feeling and know that you do not have to act on the urge. Judging by the tide of goodwill messages to Graham after the interview aired I think it’s safe to say that he is proving himself to be a wonderful advocate for mental health not only in his native Cork but nationwide and no doubt beyond our shores. The interview is available on the RTE player for anybody interested in hearing Graham's inspirational story.


If you are affected by any of the issues raised in the interview please contact Samaritans helpline 116 123 or Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247

Growing Clondalkin, Growing Mental Wellness

2019/02/27 12:31:46

Last night Knockmitten Community Centre hosted a wonderful mental health initiative driven by Cllr Francis Timmons in partnership with Somers Psychotherapy and Counselling. The evening consisted of 6 short talks under the theme of “Growing Clondalkin, Growing Mental Wellness.” Our branch had an information stand at the event and it was a great to see local parents take that first step in approaching Cuidiu DW to find out about the support we offer.

One of the standout speakers on the night was child psychotherapist Kate Brilly who despite admitting a mishap between her toddler and her PowerPoint presentation managed to convey her 10 years of experience in the 15min segment. Kate advised the audience to help children and adolescents name their negative mood in the following way, if your sadness was a colour what colour would it be? If it was a texture, what would that feel like? If it was a shape, what shape would it be? If it had a name, what would it be? That way when they are feeling anxious/stressed/lonely or sad they can visualise Bob, the blue, velvet triangle and this can make it easier for them to recognise when Bob is there. Kate’s main message was simple but powerful Just Listen.

Have a wonderful Wednesday


Self Care for Families

2019/02/13 10:28:38

Wellness Wednesday

2019/02/06 12:42:20



As part of our branches new mental health and well-being initiative, we plan on running evening talks bi-monthly, and every alternative one will also have a parenting theme. We are very pleased to announce that the very first one will be with the lovely Caroline Meade of ‘It’s Time For Me’. We first met Caroline at the Wellness of Woman, a day of hope event in Citywest hotel last October. Caroline was a very popular speaker on the day and had us all feeling very relaxed and positive. The evening talk will be held during the last week in March, we will be posting all of the details very soon and tickets will be available on Eventbrite. In the meantime, why not check out Caroline’s website

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Welcome to Wellness Wednesday

2019/01/30 08:23:15

Each Wednesday as part of our branch's parent to parent support we'll be adding a mental health and well-being post to this blog. With this being our first P2P post we'd like to start by giving an insight into what P2P support is and we also have some exciting news to share with you all.

Parent to Parent Supporters (P2Ps) are Cuidiu volunteers who, while not counsellors, are trained in active listening and counselling skills. They do not offer advice but are welcoming and caring parents who other parents can talk openly and in full confidence to about their parenting lows, which may involve the ups and downs of parenting all the way from before your child’s birth...right up until your offspring fly the nest. P2Ps may organise talks or presentations of an informational or a social nature. P2Ps may share local support and resource information where necessary as well.

With that being said we'd like to announce the details of our very first parent support group. It commences on Thursday March 7th from 10am-12pm in the family room of Balgaddy Child and Family Centre, Meile an Ri Road, Balgaddy, Lucan (O1-4577104). The group will be held at the same time on the first Thursday of every month from March.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Chewy Apricot Bars

2019/01/28 11:06:33

So like everyone else, I’m trying to cut down on the amount of sweet stuff we are eating as a family, since it’s January and all! However, I’m really finding it difficult to cut out the treat myself and himself normally have with a cup of tea once the toddler goes to bed. As a result, I decided to make these treats, instead of buying them. My logic is that 1. they will be better for us 2 it will work out cheaper 3. I won’t have to eat a whole packet of chocolate chip cookies just because they are open!

Today, as I haven’t had a chance to do any shopping for the week (freezer dinner today), I’ve picked a recipe which I was able to do from my “store cupboard” of ingredients. It’s my first time making these, and while not the most exciting things in the world (ie. they do not contain copious amounts of chocolate) they are pretty tasty, and just chewy enough to feel like they might be a little bit bad for me! I hope you enjoy!

Chewy Apricot Bars

125g self raising flour

1tsp ground cinnamon

½ tstp salt

4 tbsp wheat bran (I used milled flax seed as I didn’t have wheat bran)

65g light brown sugarf

100g dried apricots, chopped

50g pecan nuts, chopped (can also use walnuts)

85g golden syrup

2tbsp milk


1. Sift flour, cinnamon and salt together. Add bran.

2. Add sugar, apricots and nuts. Add syrup and milk, and mix well

3. Spread the mixture in a greased 20cm square cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180Deg C, for 20-25mins. Remove from oven and cut into squares.


Nollaig na mBan - a great way to start 2019!

2019/01/24 14:00:16

On Saturday January 5th we celebrated our 2nd Annual Nollaig na mBan.

This year our numbers doubled in size and we learnt that this is becoming quite a popular Mummies night out. So leaving the kids at home, we all got glammed up and enjoyed a lovely 3 course meal and cocktails in Joel's restaurant. Followed by a little Kris Kringle present exchange which was good fun. It wasn't a mad night out on the town, but it was lovely for alot of us to be able to enjoy a hot dinner with two hands, along with a few drinks and to be able to have an uninterrupted conversation. I know some of us are already looking forward to this event next year. However, in the meantime we will are planning our Cuidiu Dublin West Mother's Day Afternoon Tea- details to come.