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. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

5 Things My Dream House Would Have



I'm not allowed to move house, probably ever. Laurie spent days painstakingly scraping black tar off the floorboards in the living room so that I could have beautiful varnished floorboards. My mum and dad came to help but only if we promised to admire the floor forevermore. So I'm not allowed to move, three people would be very cross with me if I suggested such a thing. And these floorboards are very beautiful. But one day, when I win the lottery and can afford to buy a new house whilst also keeping this house so I can entertain my parents here and pretend I haven't moved because of my overwhelming love for the floor they so carefully sanded, I might move. And, if I do, I would like my new house to be the house that dreams are made of and that means:

1. There Would Be No Black Tar On The Floorboards
This is quite a niche one, I know, but I don't think my marriage could survive under the strain of any more tar. Or polystyrene ceiling tiles. Or anything that requires Laurie to do DIY because he hates it and it makes him grumpy and then I feel like I have to go over the top in my appreciation of the finished job and it soon feels false and awkward. The only DIY job I have ever seen Laurie enjoy was when he plumbed in a toilet and sink (read about it here, if you wish), so he would probably do that again if he had to but he certainly wouldn't take tar off any floorboards in the new house.

2. A View Of The Stars
I think (and I can only dream of such things so I don't know whether it would love up to my expectations or not) that one of the nicest things in the world would be to bathe under the stars. I would love a bath under a skylight so I could look out at the stars as I relaxed in the bath (or, most likely, bathed under the deafening noise of rain slamming against the glass). I would love a big bathroom with a roll-top bath and a big walk-in shower area (not cubicle, I have imaginary won the lottery after all. Take a look at this website for some walk-in shower inspiration). It would all be self-cleaning, of course, the entire house would clean itself by magic. 

3. A Vegetable Patch
This is such a simple and dumb dream that it seems a little ridiculous, but I really want a vegetable patch. We could have some raised beds in our current garden but it isn't really big enough for me to create much of a vegetable patch. I would love to have a big patch with a selection of things growing all year round. I always think I'll get around to sorting something little here but never quite find them time and then it's winter again (why does winter come around so fast?). 

4. A Kitchen Diner
When we bought our house, I didn't want a kitchen diner. About six months later, I wanted one and have wanted one ever since. We have a breakfast bar but it's just not the same (although I am excited about when the day arrives that Ember and Ebony can sit next to each other at the breakfast bar). We have a dining table in the conservatory but we never venture that far into the house, it's either boiling hot or freezing cold down there so it does not a good living room make. I would love a big kitchen with a sturdy dining table and us all sat around on chairs chatting, eating and drinking (wine. Not for the kids). 

5. Floor To Ceiling Bookcases
This is actually on the list of jobs I have in mind for this house, though I don't know if we'll ever get around to it. Laurie is still recovering from tar-gate and I fear it may take years to convince him to do any more decorating. In the meantime, I will continue to spend too much money on books in the hope of one day owning a bookcase big enough to house them all. 

Obviously, if we're talking lottery win, it would also have acres of land, a view to die for and a little woodland. What would your dream house have? 

This is a collaborative post. 

Goodbye, Baby Days



Ebony was a baby for ages. Years, in fact. Her babyhood stretched on and on. This was probably, in hindsight, due to the extreme sleep deprivation I was suffering at her tiny hands. That baby just would not sleep. Like, ever. I was so tired. So tired. And everything was new and momentous and terrifying. Every time something new happened I would spend hours researching it trying to work out what exactly was the best way to handle it. All of my parenting decisions were thoroughly researched, Google was my best friend. 

The second time around is different. The months are flying by. I can't believe how quickly time is passing. The newborn stage seemed to last about five minutes. She was curled up asleep in my arms for a few weeks and now she's eating and crawling and punching me with force in the face. I took photos, hundreds of photos, during those early weeks and I'm so glad that I did. Photos of her snuggled up in a hooded towel after a bath (is there anything cuter than babies snuggled up in hooded baby towels?), photos of her lying awkwardly across the lap of her proudly beaming sister, photos of her lying on her changing mat staring deep into the camera with her bright blue eyes. Those photos captured a time that already seems like a million years ago. 

One thing I didn't do was write. I couldn't seem to find the time or the headspace to sit down and write about life. I started this blog when Ebony was born (you can read her birth story here - go on, it's beautiful) and I used it as a place to store my thoughts and musings on motherhood. My whole life had been shaken up and thrown into chaos and this was my place to make sense of that. This time, things have been less chaotic. The mornings are pretty hardcore as I try to two small children out of the door on time and bedtime is a stress-inducing hour, but generally, life is ok. I know what I'm doing. I'm not scared of panicked. When rashes appear or bumps happen, I don't panic, I have been here before. And so I didn't find the need to sit and write about it all, though I should do it soon before I forget. I should write about the way she sleeps curled up in the crook of my arm, her feets nestled into my ribs. I should write about the way her entire face lights up when her sister enters the room. I should write about the games she plays with Laurie when he gets home from work. I should write about those things before they escape my memory. 

She doesn't feel like a baby anymore. She's not a toddler, because she isn't toddling just yet but she's well on her way. We call her The Brute and it suits her perfectly (though may lead to identity problems in the future). She is strong and sturdy and never gives up. She's on the move, if I look away momentarily she is climbing into the fireplace or standing by the television. I can't leave her alone for fear of the chaos she will cause while my back is turned. She loves her food, she sucks chews and occasionally swallows pretty much anything I put in front of her. By the end of the meal, she is covered from head to toe in a rainbow of food. She has to be bathed in the sink, hummus dripping from her chin and peanut butter in her ears, so I can get her clean.

She reminds me of my sister. She has the determination and strength that I remember my sister having in her toddler days. She was always fighting to do the things I could do, always wanting to be the same as me despite our age gap. It might be simply that my sister is far away and my heart misses her, so I see her where she is not, but I hope that it is true and that Ebony's little sister is just a little bit like my own. She has the fluffy hair and the ruddy cheeks and she certainly seems to have the fiercely independent streak my sister is famed for (he ruddy cheeks were from her toddler years, she doesn't have them anymore; if she did, I just wouldn't mention them for fear of upsetting her). 

This is a collaborative post. 

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