At the end of last year, we sat down with the ever so lovely and mother of little Juniper, Daisy Hayler, for a quick coffee chat where we talked all things #mama, sustainability, veganism and, well, coco!
Truth is, Daisy is as cool as she seems to be on social media. The kind of bohemian looking mama that makes you want to fill your house with exotic plants, wear the most beautiful flowy dresses, learn about artesian coffee and buy nothing but wooden toys for your kids. Yet, she manages to keep it so real, you’d feel a hundred times lighter just by chatting to her.
When asked a little bit more about herself, Daisy couldn’t help but reply with ‘’I feel like since having a baby I cannot even remember who I am or what I enjoy doing anymore that’s not baby related.’’ To all the new mamas out there… Relatable, at the very least. But as she sipped on the berry smoothie she shared with her little one, she continued to say ‘’and, you know, I’m vegan, have been for 7 years… just got married in New York which was amazing’’ – right, not exactly the most baby related answer you’d expect.
We were aware of the vegan part, but a New York wedding? That needed to be addressed too!
Daisy: ‘’My dad took me there for my 21st birthday as it was one of the places I had been wanting to go my entire life. I used to be obsessed with Sex & The City and Gossip Girl. So, me and Dolly, my husband – so weird to say that still! – have been back every year since then. We were going to go this summer anyways and we just thought that since we had a baby, maybe we should just get married? Someone I follow on Instagram did it and I hadn’t realised you could just go and get married. I thought you would have to be American, or that it would be a really complicated process, but you literally just pop into city hall and do it!
I really didn’t want a big wedding, so it was perfect, very lady back and very cheap.’’
We then wondered if veganism and sustainability had come with the same spontaneity into her life.
Daisy: ‘’I did it for Veganuary. My mum is vegetarian and has been for ages, so I didn’t really eat that much meat when I was younger. I used to be one of those people that say they are vegetarian but will still eat bacon sometimes. Then when I went to university, I just had a moment where I realised ‘wow, meat is really expensive!’, so I stopped buying it and slowly went vegan. Now, when it comes to sustainability, that only synced in much later on. My dad works in environmental design and he always has worked with really big companies to help them reduce waste and environmental impact. So, I feel like it’s a subject that’s always been on my radar somehow. I’ve always recycled and have tried to pick a lower waste option, but if I’m being honest it hasn’t been something that was super important to me until about 3 years ago. And still now I wouldn’t say I’m zero waste, I’m not perfect. I have a keep cup, but I always forget it, so I end up having takeaway coffee cups. But it’s something that’s become more important since having Juni. I’ve always known I was going to have children, but seeing an actual child that is yours, and knowing that you need to try and help the world as much as possible, so they get to grow up in a nice environment… I mean, she’s going to be here for a lot longer than me. That itself puts everything into perspective – which is quite funny because having a baby can involve a lot of waste!
Since having Juni, there’s been loads of middle-of-the-night-amazon-purchases and plastic involved. It’s a process and we’re getting there. We started off by saying we’d only give her the wooden toys, and it would all be natural, but then we realised she actually only likes all the plastic and horrible stuff, so she does have some of that too. Though, we are really lucky that both of our families are really good when it comes to this and for Christmas this year we’ve only bought her second-hand toys, or from independent makers.‘’ Small victories, hey?
As someone who seemed to acknowledge the imperfections of the process towards a more sustainable life, we questioned if Daisy had any sustainability tips to share with other mother’s out there, her take on the overwhelming responsibility of trying to succeed in all areas and, as a bonus to make things a bit lighter, her favourite plant-based meals to cook at home!
Daisy: ‘’To be honest, I think that if you’ve just had a baby then that’s not the time to start trying to focus that heavily on other areas. You can always opt for reusable wipes or nappies, but the most important thing is raising your child to be a compassionate person, because they are the ones that are going to live in this world for longer. If you’re focusing on that job, then I wouldn’t worry so much about the rest. There is a lot of judgement already with being a mum and I just don’t think it’s healthy to put that extra pressure on yourself.
I think I probably use more plastic and create more waste since being a mum, because I rely on convenience a lot more than I used to but I’d like to think that’s counteractive by knowing that I’m going to raise a compassionate, hopefully sustainable person and put them out into the world.
That being said, if I was to give one sustainable tip that actually makes life a lot easier as a mum, that would be to rent your baby’s clothes. There is this really good rental clothing company called Bundlee, and they just send you a bag of clothes every month depending on how your baby grows. I wouldn’t say you get enough clothes to rely solely on that, but they definitely send you a good amount of basics which you just send back at the end whenever your baby grows out, and that’s been amazing because they just grow out of stuff so fast! We do still have to go on a few emergency shopping trips but knowing that that’s coming at the end of the month stops you from buying stuff you’d just eventually have to get rid of all the time.
Now, my favourite plant-based meals to cook, hm… At least twice a week we make a stir fry with tofu and satay sauce because it’s the quickest meal to make. Dolly always makes spaghetti balls, because that’s something his mum used to make all the time. I tend to also make cashew, creamy, cheesy pasta… but Dolly doesn’t like that really, he is more of a junk food/fake meat vegan, while I’m more of a healthy one. So, we have to strike a balance in between.’’ Anyone else playing devil’s advocate when it comes to healthy eating at home?
To finish off our conversation, as we were about to tuck into our coconut bacon sandwich (you didn’t think we’d go out to a coffee shop and not pick something coconutty on the menu, right?), we asked Daisy what was the one thing about being a mum that drives her #coco and if she knew what kind of world she wanted to leave for her daughter.
Daisy: ‘’Before I had Juni I used to work quite a lot, almost always 6 days a week and if there ever was and extra shift, I’d take it because I needed to be busy, I needed to be productive at all times. I never used to sit and do nothing, so at the beginning that used to really drive me mad. It feels like you’re doing nothing, which you obviously are, because you’re raising a child! But having so many things to do and not physically being able to do them, or mentally even, it’s exhausting in itself. Even when Dolly takes Juni out so I can do stuff, I still sit there just thinking about her and that really annoys me because I’ve got so much to actually do, but I just want her to come back so I can play with her. So, just not having that time to be able to do the things you need to do is what really drives me mad. Though now I try and see it as a positive, that she’s made me slow down. I think it’s a mind-set people get when you live in a big city, that you need to be ‘go go go’ at all times, and that’s just not a sustainable mind-set to have. And I guess that answers your next question too. The world I’d like to leave for her is not this one. I’d love for her to grow in a world where people take it slow, appreciate the little things, eat some plant-based food and act nicely to each other. But, mostly, I’d just want her to live in a world where she can be herself and feels accepted for who she is. And I feel like we’re getting there with this country, but there is still a long way to go.‘'