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Camping with Kids: Why we love Wowo

Rob and I discovered our love for camping not long after we met. It was a natural progression to  take the boys and it has now become part of family life. We love campsites that offer freedom and adventure. We first came across Wapsbourne Manor Farm or Wowo (as it is affectionally known) about six years  years ago before we were married. It is a very family orientated site it but certainly isn’t exclusive to families and we felt very comfortable. In fact, I think everyone feels welcome at Wowo. They have created a culture or micro community that feels like home the moment you arrive. It is a place for proper old school fun with an emphasis on allowing your kids to be ‘free range’ in their 150 acres of natural playground. So if mud pies, rope swings, camp fires and den building send you into a panic, it’s probably not going to be your thing.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetCamping is split into five fields which all have a slightly different feel and aspect. Best thing to do is try it out, have a wander and see which you prefer for future trips. We love wandering round the site and checking out where we might pitch up next time! This trip we were in ‘Upper Moat’ (reserved for large group bookings) as we had over ten pitches on this occasion. We requested to be at the North end near the trees and rope swings, and Wowo were helpful as always and had allocated us more than enough space for our group to be comfortable and happy.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetWe arrived a day ahead of the group to get ourselves settled. The campsite was quiet even though it was half term as weekends are busiest. There is some sort of magic about this place. I mean camping in general does give you an opportunity to escape the urban life we are used to, with screen free time and hours in the day to while away, just pottering about in a contented kind of way. But Wowo is just all kinds of special. You arrive and are immediately transported into a calmer, better version of yourself. Children are just running free all around. Within an hour Arthur had made friends with a nearby family and the older boys took him under their wing. Once our other friends arrived, the kids played ALL DAY LONG from rope swings, digging in the dirt to role-playing their favourite tv heroes, they are more contended than ever. We allow them freedom to explore and the confidence they feel is evident.

Processed with VSCO with b5 presetIf you are looking for something more secluded, you can camp along the ‘Tipi trail’ where pitches are nestled in the woodland, or if you are more a glamping kind of family you can opt for one their very cool yurts or shepherds huts. One of our group didn’t have any camping equipment so they hired one of the bell tents arranged via Wowo which came fully kitted up with everything you could possibly need for the weekend. To be honest, it was the envy of the whole group! These can be pitched anywhere so a really flexible option.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetYou can do as little or as much as you like here. If your kids want some more structured activity (or you really want to finish them off for bedtime so you can have a glass of vino), theres plenty of options. You can book onto different workshops depending on the time of year but examples are; circus workshops, bushcraft, foraging or woodland walk. I personally love the fairy preservation society workshop! On Friday night there is a pizza and fish & chip van, so if you want to just come for the weekend, pitch up and relax this is perfect. Now don’t be misled, this makes it sounds a bit commercial but it really isn’t. It is just a perfect solution for people wanted total and utter relaxation! They have some breakfast options including waffles and pancakes too. At the weekend the were also supporting a local brownie group with a bake sale so we go some delicious cake too!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetOne of the best bits of the weekend is the Saturday night soup. Grab a bowl, rock up to the village where the giant Teepee stands and you will find freely flowing (and yummy) soup, bread and butter. How much do they charge for this? Nothing, absolutely nothing. The sceptical of you might say “well thats just included in the price of your weekend”. Well no, camping is cheap, very cheap compared to a lot of other family holidays or days out. I’ve never known anywhere else that does anything like it. So why do they do it? To build a sense of community, to bring strangers together to enjoy acoustic music, a natter and hearty food. It’s awesome.

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Processed with VSCO with f2 presetCampfires. What can I say? It’s just not camping without a real fire to toast marshmallows (vegetarian ones available on site) and keep you warm of an evening as you sup on your cider and catch up with family and friends. We’ve done quite a bit of fire building at forest school and its a fantastic kids activity. Arthur loves making ‘dragon sneezes’ which we learnt at Sussex Wildlife Trust when using our flint and steel to create sparks. The kids really enjoyed joining in to make their contribution to the fire. Logs are delivered every evening around the campsite so it couldn’t be easier.

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Processed with VSCO with f2 presetThere are plenty of facilities with showers and toilet blocks, including family showers. You will find compost ‘pump’ toilets in all fields. At the entrance, you will find a large barn that houses  not only fridges and freezers but sofas, toys and ping pong if you fancy a break from the sun (or rain). There is also a small shop at reception selling milk, local eggs, apple juice, sausages and various other camping essentials.

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Processed with VSCO with f2 presetWe tend to stay on site as thats the kind of camping we like. We hang out, we relax and we enjoy our surroundings. If you did want more from your trip there is loads near by. The Bluebell railway is just down the road (walking distance) which is amazing for all your little (and big) train obsessed people. Sheffield park gardens and Wakehurst place are a short drive away and also well worth a visit.

So if you are looking for some off-grid, screen free time where nature is your playground, then you might have found your perfect spot.

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Please note: I have not been asked or paid to provide this review. All opinions are genuine and my own. I just love this place x

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Babygrow Veg Bag

This month I’ve been joining in with plastic free July and have been talking about reducing our single use plastic waste. Although the ultimate goal is to live ‘plastic free’, the most important thing is to cut down on plastics that have a life span of a few minutes. Coffee cups, straws, carrier bags and water bottles are four of the main offenders. Something used for a moment then chucked in the bin. I think a lot of people are on board with reusable bags these days, it just takes a little planning ahead. So why not go one step further and think of ways around stopping using those little flimsy veg bags you get in the supermarket? Can I hear you all shouting “count me in”?! Of course, glad you can join me.

So i’ve got a super easy hack for you to turn unwanted babygrows into pretty little produce bags! If you’ve got some old babygrows / vests, scissors, cotton and can vaguely navigate a sewing machine (or have a willing friend who can) you’re in with a fighting chance of getting these spot on.

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If I was a more efficient sewer I would tell you to wash and iron your babygrow before starting this project, but hey let’s face it, I haven’t washed my kitchen floor in about six months so let’s assume my iron hasn’t seen the light of day for quite a while.

Start by cutting a straight edge along the bottom removing the popper section (don’t throw away as that may come in handy later).

Turn the babygrow inside out so the right sides of the fabric are touching  and you can see the seams. Again, if I was a more organised person I would probably pin along the edge I’m about to sew to keep it nice and neat, but hey I’m lazy.

Use a zig zag stitch as that tends to be better for stretchy fabric. I always double over my first and last few stitches so they stay nice and tight. Try to stay quite near to the edge as you don’t really want a big hem.

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Turn inside out, and…voila!!

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Cute huh?!

The downside to these is that the cotton weighs more than say a muslin or fabric which is virtually weightless. One of these weighs about 30g (a small apple is 150g) so you need to be mindful of that when deciding what you will use them for. I weight my veg first then stick them in the bag after. The nice thing about these is they are 100% cotton and and because the fabric is that little bit thicker it protects delicate fruit. I just love looking at them and thinking of my little squish wearing it once upon a time!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and I love hearing your comments so drop me a note below! I’m going to be sharing my other produce bag hacks soon so let me know if there is anything you would like to see!

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In Focus: Baba + Boo

The Brand

Baba + Boo are are the creation of ‘accidental business woman’ Eve who started out in 2009 on a mission to make the planet a fluffier place. She is an absolute delight to deal with. You will know if you have spoken to her for any reason, that she really cares about the planet, her customers and your babies. Eve made the decision not to go back to work after having her two babies, so with her passion for cloth nappies and living a greener life this company was born. Personally, I am totally inspired by women like Eve. There is many a day when I think of alternative careers that would fit in better with family life but I’m not sure i’d ever have the guts to do it! So high five to you lovely mama.

Features
  • Pocket nappy (outer shell that requires inserts)
  • One size (from 10lb to potty)
  • Popper closure
  • Bamboo + cotton inserts
  • Microfleece lining next to babies skin which wicks away moisture direct to inserts
  • Inserts made with 70% bamboo and 30% cotton

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The nappy

This is a pocket nappy. For those of you that are not seasoned cloth nappy users, this  simply means you have a shell outer made of PUL (the waterproof layer) attached to a microfleece inner layer that has an opening at the back to insert your booster(s).

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The nappy comes with two boosters made from 70% bamboo and 30% cotton, they are generously sized (15 x 35cm) and very absorbent.  The nappy feels nice and squishy and Eli certainly seems comfortable. As with all pocket nappies it is slightly more bulky than some slim all in ones but this certainly hasn’t been an issue. Absorbency is great, I usually use both inserts and easily been getting 3-4 hours in between changes with no wicking (leakage onto the leg fabric) or leaks.

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This nappy is a birth to potty system which grows with your baby (10-36lb) and I would say the sizing is generous. The snaps on the front can be ‘snapped down’ to adjust the size according to the fit of your baby. On Eli I use the middle snap and this is more than generous for his size. The fastening is also a popper system where you can adjust the size of the waistband to suit your baby also. I used to love velcro when I was first starting out in cloth but actually I’ve really grown to prefer poppers and they are equally as flexible.

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One feature I particular love is a gusset within the microfibre inner layer. This helps create a barrier to any possible poonami incidents. I am a massive fan of gussets!

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There are some really cute prints available, my favourite currently is ‘Elf Town’! This nappy retails at £12.95 which is an excellent price point for the quality of the nappy. They are available from Babi Pur from this week in Elf town, Woodland friends, Toadstool and Moonshine and you can use the code ‘Buddy’ for a cheeky 10% off!

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Caring for your nappy

First thing I will say is never stress or worry about washing nappies, it really is very simple. The best way is to have a good wash routine from the start and you shouldn’t run into any issues. Here is what Baba + Boo recommend:

  • Prewash your nappies a couple of times before using them at 40’C and dry in between washes to boost the absorbency of your inserts
  • Rinse nappies on a cold wash before washing at 40’C without fabric conditioner, regular bleach or stain removers which can harm them. Whenever possible, line-dry your nappies – they can be tumble dried on a low setting.
  • If using a barrier cream on your baby, use a liner.

Its as simple as all that! Personally my wash routine for all my nappies is; cold rinse, full cotton wash at 60 degrees (usually 2-3 hours) and sometimes a final cold rinse. I use a full dose of detergent as I live in a hard water area and a scoop of miofresh. I line dry where possible but if the weather isn’t being kind to me I dry on an airier indoors and finish off in the tumble. This is what I have found works well for us but please be aware that deviation from the manufacturers guidance may invalidate your warranty.

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Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Generous sizing
  • Double gusset
  • Good absorbency
  • Cute prints
  • Not too much prep and can be tumble dried
  • Excellent price point (especially with the Babi Pur code)
Cons
  • Some people to not like microfibre against babies skin and prefer natural materials
  • Only comes in poppers so if you prefer velcro these may not be for you
  • Limited prints, although they do bring new ones out on a regular basis
  • Only available in pocket style nappy (newborn and birth to potty)

We have also been trying out one of their fab wet bags, which are really generously sized and we’ve got on really well with them. I can’t wait to go camping as it is going to be perfect for that!

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Eli is 11 months old and weighs 18lbs. The nappies were provided in exchange for review but all opinions are truthful and my own.

 

 

 

Easter Craft: Okonorm Egg Dye & Watercolours

When I was planning this activity with Arthur, he kept asking me “are the eggs dead Mummy”. We had long discussions around how the egg wasn’t alive etc etc. He kept asking, and asking…and asking. Then I suddenly realised, I had told him we were going to ‘dye’ the eggs and therefore assumed that they would then be ‘dead’!

Anyway, if you are looking for nice quick and easy craft that children of almost any age (under supervision) can enjoy, then this may be it.

I discovered Okonorm when I bought some of their modelling clay from Babi Pur for a stocking filler for Arthur for Christmas. If you hate play dough as much as me, then you will love this. I hate that play dough gets everywhere, tiny little bits all over the carpet and it just drys out rendering it completely useless. Okonorm make an eco clay made with waxes, paraffin, purified natural chalk and eco dyes. Although the colours are bound to get mixed together, you can still use it time and time again. All their products are environmentally friendly, non toxic and made from sustainable resources.

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The egg dye kit is super quick and simple and lots of fun too. At £3.95 a pack its a very affordable activity. The set contain five colours – red, yellow, green, orange and pink. You can dye about five eggs with each sachet, any more means a less intense colour. Just remember that the natural pigment from the egg shell will affect the ultimate colour and this will vary quite a bit. I found the lighter colours (orange and yellow) only changed the eggs I used very subtly, but achieved a more intense colour from the pink, green and red.  The dyes are made of completely natural ingredients (curcumin, chlorophyllin and cochineal natural food colours and rock salt) so perfectly safe to eat, and gluten free. Here’s a quick step by step guide but it’s really very simple (if you follow the instructions):

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  • Pour 750ml of cold water into a stainless steel saucepan – don’t use enamel pans as they will be stained by the dye.  Add one dye sachet.

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  • Place 5-7 eggs in the saucepan, ensuring they are covered by the water.

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  • Bring to the boil, stir the dye and allow to boil for 7-10 minutes.

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  • Remove the eggs from the pan and set the colour by running under cold water. You can experiment with different timings and colour intensity.

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It really is as simple as all that! You can decorate however you choose but a nice way to  make patterns is with damp cotton wool or cotton bud. We made Dino eggs!

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As the yellow and orange had a less impressive colour we decided to paint them with our Okonorm watercolours. I like to break our craft into bite sized chunks in order to maintain Arthurs interest and this activity seemed to work really well. It also meant I got to have a little paint and play too!

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I absolutely LOVE these watercolours. All you need is a pot of water and the paint. They make hardly any mess and can be cleared up really quickly which is pretty important when you have a kid like Arthur that 2 mins into an activity has had enough! I’ve since bought the 12 set.

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Interestingly, I also bought some duck eggs to try out, thinking white would give the most intense colour. Wrong! The dye hardly took at all. So personally I’d stick to your lovely free range chicken eggs.

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Pros:

  • Good value
  • Quick and easy
  • Non toxic, sustainable, environmentally friendly
  • Edible

Cons:

  • Less intense colouring from the orange and yellow
  • Needs supervision for boiling water

 

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Thanks to Babi Pur for providing the egg dye kit. All other products purchased by me and all opinions are my own.

Mother’s Day Eco Craft: Daffodil Bunting

If your child is anything like Arthur, their attention span for crafting will be similar to that of a small fish. I used to find this incredibly frustrating, but now I try to find activities that either hold his interest, or are broken down in bite sized messy chunks. If I try to provide too much (well actually, any) structure the whole thing quickly dissolves lots of stropping (mostly me) and then quickly, boom, it’s all over. I try to allow him as much freedom to explore the activity and make it his own as possible, but I will admit, this doesn’t always come naturally to me. Count to ten…repeat. I hear you say ‘why bother’? Selfishly, because I love craft and I want to share that with him and if it’s on his ‘terms’ we all get along fine. Craft is also a perfect opportunity to use up old bits and bobs, like the card and egg boxes in this project.

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This is the perfect craft activity for a boy (or girl) like Arthur. You can break it down into easy sections, it can pretty much all be done independently and they will feel a great sense of achievement seeing it hanging on the wall. It’s pretty simples, but…

  • Grab some large sheets of white card. I either reuse card or I buy recycled from Eco Craft who have an amazing range of stuff to choose from. Paint the whole card yellow – perfect for Arthur as it requires no instruction and he can use big heavy strokes, which he is comfortable with (I only gave yellow paint or else everything would turn into a muddy mess). Leave to dry.
  • Cut out sections of egg boxes, use both pointy and round bits and paint these orange. Leave to dry. I saved the top flat sections for making easter baskets.

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  • Draw random petal shapes on the painted card and cut out. Depending on the age of your child they may need help with this bit! I prefer random shapes as that reflects nature best.

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  • Stick orange egg box sections onto yellow petals using glue.

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  • Attach to twine with sticky tape.
  • Hang up somewhere and admire all the pretty!

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It’s as simple as that! Because of the way this craft was broken down, Arthur and I really enjoyed it together. A proper mothers day treat 🙂

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I’d love to hear how yours turn out!

This activity was inspired by Nurture Store.

New Name: Same Old Me!

First of all, I’m a scatty, indecisive person so this was bound to happen at some point! Since starting my Instagram and little blog I had a niggling feeling that the name wasn’t right for me. Initially I was using the tag line ‘A Reusable Life’, but as time went on I really felt that actually this would be a more appropriate name for my blog. Cloth nappies have been, and will continue to be a main interest for me, but over time I’ve been thinking more about the other reusable and sustainable aspects of our lives that have evolved in the last year or so. I really enjoy sharing ideas that I have come across to cut down on waste and plastics, not just reusable nappies.

I feel really excited that I finally made the decision to do this and I hope you continue to follow along with me on this journey of ‘My ReUsable Life’!

Love

Heather xx

 

 

Lanco Toys

I discovered Lanco relatively recently and have since acquired quite a few of their lovely things, so thought I’d share with you a bit about them. I am always interested to know something about how toys (or any other products) are produced before they reach our home to be loved. Lanco are a family run business from Barcelona, making latex toys since 1951. They make eco-friendly toys from 100% natural rubber produced from sustainable common rubber trees (Hevea Brasiliensis) which is both natural and biodegradable. They ‘tap’ the sap from slits in the bark and collect it in cups – how cool is that?! Amazingly this process is carried out by hand, in fact the entire production process is by hand, from making moulds to decoration. Once moulded the latex is hand-painted with non-toxic lead free paint safe for our little ones to chew and mouth. Free from PVC, BPA, Nitrosamines, and Phthalates. I think my favourite ‘fact’ about the company is that 83% of their employees have been working with them for more than 20 years, which speak volumes to me.

The first Lanco toy we got was ‘Bo the frog‘. Arthur was never really much of a chewer, his teeth seemed to come with very little fuss! On the other hand, Eli is the total opposite and boy do we know it! He is constantly mouthing things, dribbling, chewing his fists, etc, so we wanted to find some new toys to help him through this phase. We had some wooden teethers, but when I saw Bo it looked completely different to other ones I had seen previously. He is a lovely vibrant green, squeaks and has a textured ring to hold. To be fair, the main reason I got him is because my nickname from childhood is ‘frogsy’ so I couldn’t resist! He was a massive hit with Eli. I really like the fact that the head section is soft (Eli likes to shove the whole thing in his mouth) but the ring handle is hard so great for chewing.

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The next Lanco toys we got were the ‘Ocean Bath Set‘ which Eli was given for Christmas by his Auntie and Uncle. This contains a crab (Peepo), dolphin (Blue) and octopus (Jay). Best thing about these toys? NO HOLES! Yes, you heard me right…no horrible holes to fill up with mould that then gets squirted all over the place. Sounds too good to be true, right? I would recommend drying them off with a towel after use just to make sure mould doesn’t build up, but we’ve been loving them since Christmas with no problems. Its so nice to know that Eli can get in the bath and chew some toys without covering himself or his mouth with mould!

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We gave Eli an ‘Ollie the Octopus‘ in his stocking at Christmas and I have to say I think this is my favourite one! I’m not even sure why to be honest. I just love the look on its  cheeky little face! It is a bath toy and it does have a hole so I squeeze it out good and proper at the end of bath time and we haven’t had any issues as yet. It is also a great teether and for playing in general. I do like a toy you can wipe down!

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Babipur sent us three lovely toys to add to our collection; a sensory ball (pastel), Maggy the Snake and Hunter the Hedgehog. All three of these toys make fantastic sensory toys. I’ve added them all at different time to Eli’s treasure basket and he is fascinated with them. He uses the ball to crawl around on the floor rolling it in front of himself (who needs a flashing noisy crawl ball eh?!). I especially like Hunter, and so does Eli. He is so tactile and the perfect size to pop in my pocket when we are out and about and I want something to distract or amuse him. He is the perfect toy to complement a treasure basket. Maggy has a really interesting texture because of the scales, again making her perfect for our treasure basket rotation. The texture and feel also seems very appealing as Eli loves to mouth and squeak it.

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We love our Lanco toys and I think they make great gifts. They aren’t necessarily something people have seen before and I like to get gifts that are interesting, different and eco-friendly. Priced between £6 and £13 also makes them nicely affordable and if you use the code ‘Buddy’ at Babipur you can get 10% off the price too.

The only problem is, our four legged friend has taken a shine to some of these toys so I think we will need to be ordering something from their pet range to keep our baby girl Bella happy!

Playtime From Tots Bots Is Here!

I am super excited about the release of the Playtime Prints from Tots Bots! Today I’m sharing with you three of the new prints; Kaleidoscope, Parumpapum and Rattle & Roll in Easyfit Star. If you follow my Instagram page you will know only too well my love for cloth nappies and especially all the gorgeous prints. In the last few years nappies have not only improved in functionality dramatically but become a really fashion item. Practical and beautiful, what more could you want for your baby’s bum?! I love all the Tots Bots prints from over the years, but the new Playtime collection brings something totally different. I have to say, they have surpassed themselves and they might be my favourite yet. Their fun and funky themes of play have a really retro feel which is right up my street and gives a real sense of nostalgia. They really are prints that you have to see in real life because they are just so gorgeous. Want to know more about what I think of the Easy fit star? Read it here.

So here they are! First up is Kaleidoscope, a geometric, multi-coloured print in hook & loop with blue poppers. It is striking and bold and the colours are just perfect…

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Second up is Parumpapum, a retro feel print with children playing vintage style instruments in red hook & loop/poppers. I really love all the other bright and bold prints, but this one is really special and makes my vintage heart sing…

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And finally is Rattle & Roll, another vintage look print with rattles and stackers with black hook & loop/poppers. Eli is also here playing with his Grimms stacker from Babipur which is his absolute favourite toy at the moment…

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Also being released today are Choo Choo, a wooden train print with red hook and loop/poppers and Robobots with black hook & loop/poppers. I will be buying these today and adding more pictures once they arrive! The Easyfit Star retails at £17.99 and these prints are also available in Teenyfit Star and Peanut nappies.

These nappies were provided to me for the launch but all pictures and opinions are my own.

Having a baby is the most natural thing in the world: or is it?

I always knew I wanted to share my birth story, I guess in an almost cathartic kind of way, but just kept putting it off. Then I saw the new Bumgenius print ‘Strong‘, and in a strange way it was like a little nudge telling me to just get on with it! This nappy print is the first in the new ‘Gift’ series, designed to inspire strength, beauty, and hope. They are designed to support Postpartum Progress, an organisation that is dedicated to supporting women who are battling postpartum depression. So this is my birth story, my experience.

Before my first son was born we did every class under the sun: NCT, hypnobirthing, active birthing. You name it, we did it! We practiced the techniques religiously and both felt prepared to welcome our baby into the world. I had a 93 hour labour, ending up with an epidural and vontousse delivery. I had no regrets, although was disappointed that I was not able to have the home birth we had so hoped for. Our baby was here safely and that was all that mattered. The second time around we were not so organised. Working full time in an intense job, and now with a toddler in tow, limited our available time to dedicate to preparation for the new baby. You could say anyone can make time, but whatever the reason was, we didn’t.  Maybe we were just a bit rubbish.

I started labour at 11.50pm. Yes ten to bloomin’ midnight. Why can’t I be one of those ‘lucky’ people who goes into labour when they wake up feeling fresh?! Things seemed to be progressing pretty quickly, so after a few phone calls we made the drive to the hospital and went straight to the birthing unit. Then the words no woman in labour wants to hear, “you’re only 2-3cm”. What the hell? You must be kidding me! Surely I’m about to pop this baby out! I had ketones in my urine so was already needing food and energy but, funny old thing, didn’t fancy the toast they kept trying to get me to eat. So then followed a lot of old faff (you know) in and out of the pool, trying to move around. I was just exhausted, I could barely put a drink to my lips. There were lots of helpful comments such as “there are other women walking around the ward in the same position as you”. Actually, no, not helpful at all. All I kept thinking was how you hear of women virtually sneezing their baby out, so why was I making such a fuss? I still remember repeatedly apologising to my husband what a mess I was making of it. “Sorry, sorry, sorry…I’m so bad at this”. I felt like such a failure. At one point I was called a ‘control freak’, heck she was probably right, but I wasn’t about to change for her, the baby or anyone else at that precise moment.

18 hours later I’d been fully dilated for 2 hours with lots of “well we don’t know why baby isn’t here yet…they should be”. You’re kidding me, right?! I don’t flipping know why either! They decided to move me to main ward, start induction drugs and ‘pop in’ an epidural. Longest corridor in the history of time, by the way. We got around to the ward and I knew something was different (it might have been the lack of gas and air which I had just been trying to wrestle off the midwife). The next thing, I grabbed onto the bed rails, let out a scream (I’ve always been pretty dramatic) and said “I want to push!” The midwife sent the doctor away (as I was begging her not to leave). At that point I decided to cross my legs and say that I didn’t actually want to push thank you very much. Okay, so that really wasn’t going to work. A few pushes later and he was out. Our baby boy was here and I had done it all naturally (high fives for me). But…

Then the words no parent want to hear…”he’s arrested”.

The emergency buzzer was pressed and a thousand people descended upon us. He was blue and lifeless, the cord tight around his neck. I was so afraid. We were so afraid. They took him away to resuscitate. Thankfully, there was a short gap and then a sound. Not really a cry, just a small noise in the background over all the chaos that surrounded us, me calling out “is he ok, is he ok?”. They reassured us that all was well. The crowds dispersed, quite quickly it seemed.

Then just as things seemed to settle, the emergency cord went again, I didn’t know what was happening. The consultant stood by my side. I was having a post partumn haemorrhage. For a split second I thought the worst. After losing a couple of litres of blood they finally managed to stop the bleeding. Again, the crowds departed. Such a strange feeling of desertion. This traumatic thing just happened but everyone had just vanished. Next baby to be born, possibly another emergency to deal with. I was weak, my whole body drenched and dripping with sweat, could barely move my arms. Then the vomiting started. I wanted so much to hold my new baby in my arms but I knew I wasn’t able to. I could barely speak. My husband held our baby boy as I just lay there. I felt so guilty. Guilty because I should be scooping him up in my arms and feeding him, skin to skin, but I just couldn’t. An hour or so passed and I finally felt I could hold him. He went straight to the breast and latched on. It was the best feeling in the world and such a relief. I just stared at him in disbelief of what had just happened.

I was desperate to come home so eventually, within about 24 hours they let me go. I know now it was too soon. After about a week though, I started to feel better, able to walk about as my iron levels improved.

It was so hard to process what had happened to us that day. My mind was full of doubt and anxiety of all the “what ifs”. People want to be helpful, I know that. When I talked of my experience people say “oh but that’s very common though, isn’t it?” or “oh but you’re both fine now aren’t you” and of course “aren’t you glad you didn’t have that home birth?”. Those statements may be true in part, but it made me feel like what happened was nothing, and easily forgotten. It closed the door on me expressing how I might be feeling. But it was so hard to comprehend, sometimes it still is. I felt anxious for a long time and I still wake up in the night and jump up with a bolt to check he is ok.

So really, I just wanted to say, if someone chooses to share their birth experience with you, however it went, whatever it involved, just listen, acknowledge and support. That is probably all they need.

Mamas you are all amazing, be kind to yourselves, and to each other.

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In Focus: Tickle Tots 2’s

The Brand

Tickle Tots nappies are the inspired creation of the lovely Sophia from Little Fox Designs. She is a mother of two in cloth, committed to producing quality products that are environmentally sustainable whilst ensuring sound ethical standards. They believe in the principles of reducing carbon footprints, so you notice their packaging is simple yet stylish and recycled too. They are committed to sustainability and for every 1000 nappies sold a native UK tree is planted. These principles fit nicely with our mission to becoming a more environmentally friendly household.

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Features
  • Two part system
  • Breathable PUL outer layer
  • Pop in boosters
  • Up to seven layers of bamboo fleece (when boosted)
  • Rise adjusted by poppers
  • Hook and loop closure
  • Double gusset

*Image taken from Tickle Tots
The Nappy

I’m a big fan of the Tickle Tots Original (an all in one) and have been using them for some time. I was really keen to try out the new Tickle Tot 2 when it was released as I quickly started hearing how great they were for absorbency, fit and also night time use. I already owned Blue Whales and Perfect Puddles in the original style and was very pleased to get my hands on the latest print, Busy Bees, which is just gorgeous.

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As a two part system you essentially get two parts to each nappy, the outer PUL part (the  waterproof wrap) and the booster(s). This means that if the inserts / boosters are only wet not soiled the outer wrap can be used again, usually only twice. This makes it an economical option as you can just buy additional boosters rather than an entire nappy. I also like to use two part systems such as this when I am out for the day, or holidaying somewhere with restricted washing facilities such as camping.

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The shell (or wrap) is made from a double layer of breathable waterproof fabric (PUL). The nappy comes with two boosters. The main booster has four layers of bamboo fleece with a luscious soft suede cloth layer that sits against the skin. It features an open centre to aid faster drying times. There is an additional booster with three layers of bamboo fleece and again topped with suede. So a whopping seven layers of bamboo when using both inserts! Thats an amazing amount of absorbency given what a slim fit the nappy has. We have been easily getting three hours in the day (or more but I usually change around that amount of time). Having always used the same nappy system at night and not really keen to deviate from that, I’m a little shocked to say that they did the job on the night shift too! So that’s an amazing 12-13 hours with no leaks overnight and the little man seemed pretty comfortable, which I’m delighted about.

The nappy is designed to fit birth to potty so it needs adjusting to the size of your baby / toddler. The front snap fastenings adjust depending on the size of your little one. I used the middle snaps on my son who is 8 months old and as you can see, reasonably chunky around the thighs. That reassures me that there is plenty of room to grow  in the future. The waist adjustment is hook and loop (velcro) which is so simple to use. It has a lovely wide band of velcro across the middle, which is fantastic as again I know this will last us much longer. I also found the velcro super sticky which is great for those cheeky monkeys that like to undo their nappies! There are ‘fold back’ laundry tabs which is a great feature and a must to maintain the health of your nappy stash.

My favourite feature is the double gusset! You don’t see this on many nappies and to me it is so important. It is really what makes a ‘bombproof’ nappy and protects explosion during a poonami! This is especially important with babies of pre-weaning age. Im pleased to say we had no leaks at all on these nappies. They really do the job very well.

Of course the gorgeous prints are a selling point and as the company grows so will all those pretty prints! This nappy retails at £17.95 and is available from Babipur (use the code ‘Buddy’ for a cheeky 10% off!).

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Caring for your nappy

First thing I will say is never stress or worry about washing nappies, it really is very simple. The best way is to have a good wash routine from the start and you shouldn’t run into any issues. Here is what Tickle Tots recommend:

  • Wash at 40°C (I always wash at 60°C as I’ve personally found that to be the most effective)
  • Cool Tumble (perfect for the winter months)
  • Do not Iron or use Bleach
  • Do not use softener
  • Wash once before use
  • Hanging your nappies on the washing line on a sunny day will help remove any nasty pooh stains! (I can’t recommend this enough)
  • Turn the nappy inside out after washing, before drying, to speed up drying time
Pros
  • Super absorbent
  • Easy to use, ideal if you are new to cloth and want to try two part system
  • Double gusset
  • Reasonable drying time (15 hours if dried indoors)
  • Cute prints
  • Only requires one wash to prep
Cons
  • Not yet available in poppers
  • Would like to see more prints in the future (cos I’m an addict!)

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One of these nappies was gifted to me to facilitate the review. All opinions are honest and my own.