Thursday, 27 April 2017

Why Timber Is The Perfect Material For Your New Conservatory

An orangery is a great way of adding space to your home. An orangery can provide you with that additional room to make your living space a little homier. Orangeries have been around for years and have historically been seen as a luxury for the upper classes. Though they still offer high levels of luxury they are now much more affordable thanks to modern building methods and materials.

Though conservatories have traditionally been home to uninspiring wicker furniture, orangeries have always been seen as a classy and stylish way to extend the home. Rather than appearing like an add-on to an existing home, orangeries have character that will improve your home. Some people use orangeries as dining rooms, others use them to create a large versatile family space and others use them as a more traditional garden room.

If you want an affordable extension that will last, you should consider a timber orangery. Modern timber is long-lasting and stylish, allowing you to create a conservatory that will last. Using timber allows you to get the look right, you can choose any number of wood stains and paint colours for your orangery. As part of their impressive range of home improvements, Reddish Joinery offer timber orangeries made from a high performance and long-lasting engineered timber known as accoya.

Orangeries are an affordable way of extending your home but they are also great at creating the light and airy feel that is popular amongst contemporary home owners. The glass lets plenty of light into the room and allows you to make the most of your view. You’ll be able to sit comfortably and watch your garden bloom in the summer or the golden leaves fall in the autumn. Unlike many conservatories, orangeries don’t have to be stuck onto the back of your property like an afterthought either, in fact, many homeowners choose to integrate them into the living space of the room. Open plan living and a surge in popularity for kitchen-diners that lead out into the garden have seen an increase in the number of people choosing to add timber orangeries to their homes.

Timber has properties that allow it to naturally retain heat which means your conservatory will retain warmth in the colder months. Combined with modern glazing, this means the timber orangery will stay warmer in the winter months. The combination of engineered timber and modern glazing will also work to keep the room cool in the warmer months, making it the perfect addition to your home.

If you’re not a fan of the look of PVC conservatories, then a timber orangery might be the extension you’ve been looking for. The timber makes contemporary houses look even more modern whilst also looking at home on period buildings, it’s a timeless building material that suits pretty much any style of home. The long-lasting building material doesn’t require much in the way of upkeep either, aside from the occasional wood treatment, there’s very little you need to do to keep your extension looking brand new.

This is a collaborative post.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Real Nappy Week: Cheeky Wipes Review

This week is Real Nappy Week so I figured now is as good as time as any to talk about real baby wipes. I don't actually ever use the term real because it sounds weird to me, I usually say washable. I don't want other mums to get worried that I'm implying their nappies are mythical or imaginary next to my really real ones. 

We have used washable wipes ever since Ebony was a teeny tiny newborn (she never seemed tiny at the time because she was 9lb, but now I've pushed out a 10lb7 blob, I think of Ebony as a little dot). We knew we wanted to use washable wipes because they are better for the planet. A friend recommended Cheeky Wipes and we haven't looked back since. 

Baby wipes have a pretty terrifying impact on the environment. Most contain plastic fibres which do not biodegrade and so they exist, in some form, forever. If they make their way out to sea (and many do), baby wipes are ingested by hungry sea creatures such as turtles who mistake them for a healthy snack (specifically a jellyfish), this can be fatal to the sea creatures with bellies full of plastic. Even if you don't flush your wipes, they end up sitting in a landfill forever. 

Cheeky Wipes are an eco-friendly alternative to disposable baby wipes. We already had a decent stash from our first child, but Cheeky Wipes very kindly sent us an All-In-One Kit to review this time around. The kit features 25 terry wipes (you can choose other fabrics such as bamboo and even a choice of colours), some essential oils to add fragrance to the wipes, two storage tubs (one for clean and one for dirty) and some bags to store your wipes in when out and about. 

We were sent the terry wipes this time but also have some bamboo ones left from last time. They are both really soft and easy to use. The terry ones are thicker but the bamboo ones have the edge when it comes to softness. Personally, I like having a mix. I like the bamboo ones best but the thicker terry ones are great for messy bums. We just have the white wipes but I really love the brightly coloured sets, they would brighten up any nappy change area. 

If you've never used washable wipes before, you're probably thinking something along the lines of 'eeeew you must get poo everywhere'. You couldn't be more wrong. I find Cheeky Wipes way cleaner to use the disposable wipes. Disposable wipes are so thin, and they end up getting messy quite quickly when you're doing a dirty nappy change, but Cheeky Wipes provide much better protection. 

We use washable nappies too so we just chuck everything into the dirty nappy bin and it all goes into the washing machine together. The wipes wash really well and dry very quickly. We use a tumble dryer and they take no time at all but I have also dried them on radiators and on the line on occasion and they dry really quickly even without the modern godsend that is the tumble dryer. We have plenty of wipes so there are always some clean, so it's worth getting a couple of packets to make sure you have plenty to hand. 

The wipes are really soft and I've never worried about using them on my baby's skin. Even in those early days when most people are using cotton wool, I've just used the Cheeky Wipes as normal. They don't contain manmade chemicals like many disposable wipes so there's no reason to avoid using them on a newly born bum. 

The essential oil mixes smell great though we don't use them very often anymore. I used them a lot during the newborn days when Ember would lie peacefully on the changing table and await her butt being wiped, but there days nappy changes are a bit more hectic (rolling, crawling, cruising death-defying eight-month-old adventure baby, anyone?) and I tend to just wet the wipe under the tap as I wrestle my naked baby out of her dirty nappy. But, back in those lovely early days, I had one of the tubs constantly filled with sweet-smelling Cheeky Wipes ready for that next nappy change. 

The Cheeky Wipes All-In-One Kit comes with bags to make transporting your wipes even easier. There's a little bag for clean wipes and one for dirties that you can just chuck in the wash when you get home. There's no need to use disposable wipes just because you're out of the house, Cheeky Wipes are easy to use at home and on the move. 

I really love the Cheeky Wipes, they're one of the best products I have found since being a parent. They are so easy to use and can really reduce your impact on the planet. If you buy them this week, Cheeky Wipes are offering a 25% discount on all orders made during Real Nappy Week so you'll get a bargain. Make sure you take a look at their site today

ps I've just noticed they do a weaning kit of wipes and that is probably the most genius thing ever. Weaning is so messy. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Real Nappy Week: Bambino Mio Review

When I was pregnant with Ebony, we bought a birth to potty kit of BumGenius cloth nappies. I think it cost us somewhere in the region of £300. Ebony was out of nappies by about 18 months and by then the velcro on some of the nappies was past its best. When I was pregnant with Ember, we replaced the velcro tabs on the nappies to give them an extra life. Thankfully, now most of the nappies are fine but there is one or two where the strip of velcro needs replacing as well and I can already tell you I will never get around to doing that. 

I noticed that Bambino Mio cloth nappies were going to be on sale in Aldi as part of one of their baby events and I decided to go down and get one to try out. It was only £9.99 which is cheap for a washable nappy and I figured it would make life a little easier for me because the more nappies I have, the less nappy washes I need to do. Plus, they had a design with bikes on and Laurie loves to cycle so I figured this would reduce the risk of the 'why are you buying more nappies? We have plenty of nappies' conversation. 

Since buying the nappy with the bike print, I have been back to Aldi and bought two more Bambino Mio nappies (the one with the kites on, since you must know).And I ordered two other designs online that weren't available at Aldi. I love the Bambino Mio nappies so much I figured I should share that here. They easily get the most use out of all the nappies we have because they're always the first ones I reach for. I love the prints and colours of the nappies, the nappies we had for Ebony weren't quite so exciting so it is still a novelty to me that Ember has such beautiful nappies. 

They're also really easy to use. The side tabs are really sturdy and simply pop closed after use so you can protect the velcro while washing. I've been using them for a few months now and the velcro is still good as new, I imagine it will last longer than our last set of nappies did just because the velcro seems to be better protected. The velcro securely fastens the nappy so Ember can't open them and pull them off (also a bonus). 

The nappies are all-in-ones so the inner padding is attached to the nappy (unlike other nappies which have two separate parts; an inner padding and an outer nappy). There's a little tab you can pull before you stick it in the wash to get the inner pad out for washing but it stays attached to the nappy throughout. This is so much easier than having to dig around trying to find all the pieces for the nappy each time. It's only a small thing but it is saving me plenty of man hours. 

The nappies wash really well and dry quickly despite the hefty inner padding. I haven't had any leakage problems with these nappies because the padding is thick enough to absorb anything and everything she throws at it. I haven't found anything I don't like about these nappies yet, they're easy to use, look amazing and are good value for money. My local Aldi still has a few of the nappies in so it's worth popping into your local store to see if you can get them at the bargain price of £9.99. 

Bambino Mio is currently offering 15% off all of their nappies to celebrate Real Nappy Week, so if you're thinking of getting some cloth nappies, now might be the time to do it. You can get one of their all-in-one nappies for just £13.59 for this week only. If you're looking to stock up, you can get their birth to potty pack which contains everything you'll need for the first couple of years for just £212.49. You can browse the options on their website here.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Real Nappy Week: 7 Things I Love About Cloth Nappies

Happy Real Nappy Week! I haven't been very good at blogging of late so I thought this might be a nice chance to throw myself into it again. I used to blog about all things baby related but I seem to be doing things on autopilot the second time around so I just haven't had as much to write about. So, Real Nappy Week is my prompt and this week I will write a little bit about the things we use and why. I thought I'd start off with a list of reasons why I love using washable nappies, here goes:

1. They look adorable
I love how cloth nappies look. I love the bright colours and the different prints and the fact that they give babies massive bums. There is nothing cuter than the sight of a baby with a huge brightly coloured cloth nappy on. Disposable nappies just don't look as good, they are terrible photo props. 

2. I'm doing something
It's easy to get so bogged down in the everyday grind of parenting and family life that you let your morals fall to the wayside. Things suddenly seem too expensive or too difficult to fit in with your busy schedule of changing bums and sleepless nights and everything else. Using cloth nappies is my way of still doing something. Ok, having kids is bad for the planet, but using cloth nappies reduces the impact of that just a little bit. 

3. It's easy
There's a commonly held misconception that cloth nappies are hard work, but it's simply not true. All I have to do is stick a bag of dirty nappies in the wash every couple of days. It's not difficult or time-consuming. Remembering to stick a load on uses about as much mental energy as remembering to buy a new pack of disposables from the shop. 

4. It reduces waste
We recycle as much as we can and always try to donate things to charity shops rather than simply dumping them in landfill. I think it's important to reduce our impact on the planet and that means reducing the amount of waste we create. Disposable nappies are waste, they head straight for landfill. The official estimate is that one baby gets through 3000 nappies during the first year of life (I actually think that estimate is a little high, but even so, it'll be well over 2000 per baby) and that's a lot of nappies to be sitting in landfill. I think anybody who feels concerned about the state of the planet should be using cloth nappies.  

5. They cost nothing
Well, ok, they cost money when we first bought them but that was almost six years ago. The nappies we bought when I was pregnant with Ebony are still being used for Ember today. The upfront cost is more expensive than with disposables but the nappies will last you a lot longer and won't be ending up in the bin by the end of the week. I think it's a shame there isn't more government support for parents who want to use cloth nappies because it would be great if new parents could get an interest free loan to buy cloth nappies to cover that initial outlay. Some places do have cloth nappy libraries where you can borrow nappies to trial using them for a few weeks to see how you get on. 

6. It's flexible
Just because you use cloth nappies, it doesn't mean you can't ever use disposable nappies. You don't have to be a committed die-hard fan, you can use a mixture of disposables and washables. I always have a packet of disposables into use if necessary. When we go on holiday next month, I won't be taking cloth nappies and will instead be taking disposables just to make life a little easier whilst we're away. 

7. They start a conversation
When Ebony was born, we did things a certain way because we felt it was important. We used cloth nappies because we wanted to reduce our impact on the planet. Now that Ebony's an older sister, these decisions have the added benefit of giving us the opportunity to talk to Ebony about issues we feel are important. I really hope my daughters to grow up mindful of their impact on the people, animals and environment around them and I think setting a good example is an important part of that. 

What are your favourite things about using cloth nappies? 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Springtime In The Garden

With spring upon us, I've started thinking about the garden. It seems to get ignored during the winter months when the grass is waterlogged and the air is cold. I can go months without even stepping foot in the garden, but as soon as the weather picks up, the garden is one of my favourite places to be. 

Last summer, I spent many lazy afternoons sprawled out like a heavily pregnant beached whale on the sun lounger while Ebony busied herself in the play area. The bottom of our garden is dedicated to fun. There's a huge chalkboard wall to draw on, a rooftop playhouse to play in and a swing set. The playhouse was a new addition my dad created last year. I think every garden needs a playhouse. How awesome is this Fort Limpkin playhousefrom GBC Group?! We had a two story playhouse in the garden when we were growing up and we spent countless hours happily playing in it. 

There's also a sandpit down there and a hopscotch I painted after asking Ebony to write the numbers in chalk. She was three so most of the letters are the wrong way round which I love. There's a little bit more space so we could add a few more toys or activities down there though I haven't decided on what yet. 

One thing I've been meaning to do since we moved in was to create a bug hotel somewhere in the garden. I think Ebony would love helping to design and make it and it would be a great way to learn all about the wildlife in our garden. 

I really really want a corner sofa for the garden and I spend way too much time admiring them online. I almost bought one last year because I thought I would spend the summer holidays breastfeeding in the garden whilst Ebony played. In actual fact, I spent them way too pregnant (seriously, so pregnant) and crying so I'm kind of relieved I didn't spend the money in the end. 

The only problem with all of these ideas is Ember. Last summer, she ruined my plans by staying put in my belly. This year she's ruining my plans by not staying put. I'd forgotten how hard the crawling stage is. Good god, that child will not sit still. A few weeks ago, before she learned to crawl, I could just plonk her down safe in the knowledge that she would stay there until I got back. Not anymore. Now she crawls and cruises and generally disappears. Yesterday, I left her alone for 30 seconds and when I got back she had opened a bottle of lotion (with a screw top. How?!) and smeared it all over her forehead. 

When I take her in the garden she crawls off. Straight off the picnic blanket, over the grass and towards danger. She was so far eaten sand, grass, dandelion, mud and a small plastic thing I managed to wrestle from her mouth. I think this probably won't be the summer I get to relax in my garden. Maybe next year. 

This is a collaborative post. 


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