New Green Products & Going Vegan for May

Evening all! I hope you’ve been enjoying the fleeting spell of sunshine, I know Gracie and I really made the most of the weather.

In our quest to get greener we’ve picked up two new products today,first a block of deodorant, and secondly a shampoo bar.

I picked these lovely items up from Lush as I have been eyeing them up for a long while now but have had to wait patiently for our current bits and bobs to run out (sometimes being green means being patient unfortunately).

I am really excited to give these things a whirl but for the moment all I can say is that they smell absolutely amazing! Here is hoping that they will allow us to ditch plastic bottled shampoo & deodorant for good.

Mummy and I have been discussing ideas on what we can do to continue our push to be green. Eventually Mummy suggested that we have a vegan month, to which I (semi-reluctantly) agreed to. Starting next Tuesday our vegan month begins proper with the aim of not only reducing our need for meat & dairy products, but also to encourage us to cook more vegetarian and vegan meals in the long run. Ethically I have little issue with eating meat, I grew up in the West Country and have worked as a butcher & fishmonger, but I am aware that we too often rely on these things in our meals when we really don’t need to.

Next Monday I’ll kick off with our meal plan posts again, and will keep you updated on how we are doing! For now I am off to prepare for our church’s weekend conference.

If you have any great vegan recipes then we’d love to see them, please post them in the comments section. See you guys soon.

Teething is the worst 

Haven’t posted in a while. Things have been pretty busy, Mummy was on half term and we decided to spend time with each other, and our family. This invold us jumping on a train back to Kent. 

Since I’ve last posted Gracie has had two teeth cut through, and it looks like 3 & 4 are rapidly approaching. It’s been nothing short of exhausting, and I just desperately hope we’ll get a reprieve once these have cut through.

Here’s hoping we return to a semu-regular posting schedule. 

Alva Nappy Review

We are reviewing all the different brands of Cloth Nappies that we use. Our previous reviews are:

And you can see a post giving a broad overview of our stash here.

So let’s get this said right at the beginning, a lot of people don’t like Alva Nappies. This is because they are made in China, now while some people may object to this, there is certainly an up front cost to reusable nappies and that does have go be considered.

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Nothing is quite as dapper as a cloud with a moustache

We got our first Alva nappy after we won an online competition. We’d seen the lower price tag and the fact they only come with a single insert and had been put off by that. However these nappies have become a staple of our stash.

What we liked…

First of all we were impressed by the quality of these nappies. They feel well made, the poppers are sturdy, but un-pop at the right amount of force meaning that you’re not just tugging on them hopping that the fabric doesn’t rip.

The soft fabric that sits against your baby’s skin is also extremely soft, and quickly pulls any moisture away from the baby leaving them feeling relatively dry to the touch when the nappy is removed. The pockets of the nappies are also a decent size, and while the insert that comes with the nappy is certainly enough for short periods, there is plenty of room in the nappy to add additional inserts for ensure that the nappy can be worn for longer, and without fear of leaks. Alva nappies are also easily adjustable for your baby’s size, using poppers to make the nappy bigger or smaller, allowing you to find the perfect fit.

Perhaps one of the best things about Alva nappies however is their eye catching and beautiful designs. One of the many benefits of reusable nappies is that they can look extremely attractive, and Alva nappies certainly embrace this fact. The sheer quantity of designs means you are sure to find something that you like.

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Owls, foxes, feathers, dinosaurs and wolves! You are sure to find a design for you

What we didn’t like…

So as we mentioned above, Alva nappies are produced in China which we know might put some people off of purchasing these nappies.

The real drawback however is that these nappies only come with a single insert. And while this is plenty for short periods of wear, we don’t feel that it really gives you the peace of mind that you’d want from a nappy. We are fortunate that we have a number of spare inserts in our stash, others just starting their collection won’t have such convenience.

The white fabric is also a little prone to staining, while these does not effect the quality of the nappy, it can be touch unsightly. That said, we found that successive washes removed the stains with ease, and the use of napisan (or something similar, we use Bio D Nappy Fresh).

Conclusion…

It says a lot that of the nappies we’ve purchased for Gracie, the one nappy that we ensured that we had on hand was the single Alva nappy that we randomly had. Since that I have purposely purchased more Alva nappies for pad out our collection and provide us with more tolerance when it comes to washing and drying our nappies. More than this we intend to purchase more Alva  simply because we love the designs, trust the quality, and find that, simply put, they fit Gracie extremely well.

If you are just starting out along the road of reusable nappies, then perhaps these are not a great place to start, but if you have a collection, or are looking for a few statement pieces then I couldn’t recommend them highly enough! However I would suggest a purchase of additional inserts (especially charcoal ones that fit these well).

 

The Snow Update 

There is nothing more likely to drive me crazy than being forced to stay indoors. And following the extreme (at least for Somerset) snow that we’ve had yesterday and today, I have to admit I was getting a little short with people.

We managed to get out yesterday morning once we knew the schools were closed which was nice but once we were home the snow really began to pile up. By the evening I was wishing I could get out and stretch my legs.

This morning I managed to get out for a brief walk. I went around Wellington and took a few photos. I’m feeling much better now but I do feel a little bad that Gracie hasn’t been out but it’s just not safe to carry her.

Hopefully tomorrow it will clear up enough to get her some fresh air. Until then we’ll just keep her wrapped up warm with us.

My Changing Bag Essentials

Do you ever look at another parent’s changing bag and wonder at what marvellous things that they surely contain. Well here is your chance to have a sneaky look in what I’ve got in my bag! And unlike most people, I decided to forgo the typical messenger style bag, opting for a backpack. This allows me to wear the baby on the front, while also comfortably carrying the changing bag.

So without further ado, these are the things I carry about in my bag!

The Essentials

Changing Mat

I really doubt that there is a single changing bag on the market that doesn’t come with some sort of changing mat. These tend to be thin, lightweight and waterproof, so obviously the first thing I did was take that out and put in my own, soft, not waterproof, and rather chunky.

Personally I love the Close Pop-In Change & Go which is wonderfully soft and warm for Gracie. The whole thing rolls up nicely and fits neatly into one of the stretchy pockets in the back of the bag. It even has a handy pocket that will hold your reusable wipes, or nappy sacks if that’s your jam.

Nappy Wet Bags

If you are using reusable nappies then at some point you are going to be out and about and your baby is going to need a change, and while you can easily throw away disposables you cannot do that for cloth nappies.

I rock a couple of Tots Bots Waterproof Nappy Bags. These things are excellent, they can be folded down so when not in use they take up practically no space, they hold roughly three or four nappies, and once your done just tip the contents out, turn them inside out and shove them in the pail along with your dirty nappies. Eventually you can toss them in the wash together and then they are ready to be used again.

Reusable Nappies

While I am happy to use any nappies from my stash, there are certainly a few that I prefer to pack in the bag. I typically pack a Close Pop-In Nappy, an Alva Pocket Nappy or a Smartie Pants Pocket Nappy. I favour these because they fasten tightly, and I don’t usually have leakage problem with these nappies.

Reusable Wipes

If you are using reusable nappies, then you might as well use reusable wipes. Once used they go in the wash with the nappies. I use Cheeky Wipes, just grab them out of the wet box, and pop them in the waterproof travel bag your good to go.

The Little Bits

  • I also pack small bottle of hand sanitizer just in case my hands get mucky
  • A small Sophie la Girafe teething toy
  • Muslins
  • Emergency wet-wipes & nappy sacks
  • Change of Clothes
  • Milton Wipes just in case she throws her dummy on the floor

The Extra Stuff

Typically these bits are for me, and get thrown into the bag if I have enough room!

  • My Tablet
    • If I know I am going to be out for a while, or if I am going to go to a coffee shop etc. I pack my tablet just in case I can get in some blogging/writing
  • Glass Bottle/Coffee Cup
    • In my attempts to be green I have started packing my reusable coffee cup in case I get desperate for caffeine, and I pack myself a drink in my glass bottle
  • A reusable shopping bag
    • Just in case I need to pick up some bits or bobs, plus one of the main reasons I go into town is to the visit the butchers or green grocers

The Childhood Tag

I have been kindly awarded The Childhood Tag by The Mulberry Bush. Thanks for tagging me, here goes!

  • What were you not expecting/not prepared for before becoming a parent?
    • Something that really caught me off guard was how many nappies you have to go through in a day. We use reusable nappies and I’ve just be left shocked at how many would have gone to the landfill.
  • What is your main piece of advice for new parents?
    • Seriously, and do mean seriously, consider using cloth nappies. Ask anyone who uses disposables about the dreaded “poo explosion”, and then find someone who uses cloth and ask them the same question. Go ahead, I’ll wait… Right, done?  I would put money on those who use reusable saying that it never happens (or at least extremely rarely). Sure there can be a learning curve to using cloth but they are serious worth the investment, if only to avoid poo all over your precious baby clothes.
  • How do you encourage family time at home?
    • We are a busy family but we find family in a few places. Firstly we don’t have any seats or bouncers that get regular in our house. We have one large play matt, and we sit next to our girl on the floor. It means we play with her, keep her entertained and most importantly it allows her the chance to build up her core strength. Secondly we play with her at bath time, we take a break and just enjoy the time with her. Finally at bed time I’ll get our little girl and read to her, usually my daily bible readings, and then something from one of her books. Recently we’ve been reading Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls because you are never to young to dream big.
  • How do you balance being a blogger with parental duties?
    • I wish I could work this one out. I spend a lot of time writing when she is napping, or at 3 in the morning when she’s settling down in my arms.
  • What was your favourite toy growing up?
    • I think there is only ever going to be one answer to this, I love Lego!
  • Have you kept any of your toys from childhood?
    • Lego! I must have box after box in the attic of my parents house, ready for when Gracie get’s a little bigger. In the future I plan to make a little DIY Lego table for her and I cannot wait.
  • What are your children’s favourite toys?
    • Gracie is rather partial to her Jellycat stuffed toys. They are extremely high quality and come in a variety of textures that she loves to put in her mouth.
  • Do you actively limit the amount of screen time your kids have?
    • Not really, she is young and certainly loves the TV (I am proud to say she is fond of Star Wars!), however we actively limit our own screen time and often have the radio or music playing.
  • How do you reduce plastic waste in your home? – Reusable bottles, buying wooden toys, avoiding excessive food packaging, etc.?
    • I am extremely lucky in that I have the time to go to Green Grocers and Butchers which means we don’t get excess food, and very little plastic packaging. I have a glass bottle that I use to ensure that I am never without a drink, and I also carry a reusable coffee cup at all times. Now that Gracie is beginning to pop things in her mouth I will be investing in some wooden chew toys.
  • What advice would you give to parents who want to start blogging?
    • You don’t have to sound fancy, or even be particularly witty or insightful. you just need passion. A passion to write, a passion to spread the word about what you do with your child, and a passion to help others access the things you love.

Tag you’re it! Since The Mulberry Bush created this tag and they passed the tag onto me, I am going to continue the game by tagging: diaryofazombiemum and My Girls & Me xo.

Join in and share around – you’re it!