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!

Charlie Banana 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

Before purchasing any cloth nappies, we did what anybody would do when face with a potentially large spend, we researched. In the hope of narrowing down what we wanted from our cloth nappies we purchased a tester pack that contained three of the larger brands, one of these was a Charlie Banana One Size nappy.

Robot Girl Pattern

Now during our research Charlie Banana had rapidly become one of the forerunners for a brand that we were likely to use. We’d watched videos, and we’d read things online. We liked that they seemed easy to use, that there were not too many poppers on the front, and we absolutely loved the bright designs. I was delighted when we received a Charlie Banana nappy in the tester pack. We immediately went about putting it through its paces with all the enthusiasm of soon to be parents. We liked these nappies a lot, and ultimately only went with a different brand at the time due to their cost.

What we liked:

Firstly, we have to say we loved the colours and designs. Bright and bold, many Charlie Banana nappies are statement pieces that you wouldn’t really want to cover up (roll on summer). One of our favourite nappies is the pink coloured one with robots, it just stands out amongst our already bright collection.

As of 4 months old we’ve had to deal with a fair number of nappy leakages but as of yet Charlie Banana has been leak free! We tend to use both inserts at all times with Charlie Banana and they hold up well for your standard 2 to 3 hour nappy stint.

As with many popper nappies, Charlie Banana is great and fastenings in a way that is perfect for Gracie. It is easy to adjust how you fasten these nappies as your baby grows but this leads us into something we don’t like…

What we didn’t like:

Most popper nappies allow you to control the “length” of the nappy by a series of poppers on the front, however Charlie Banana have opted to use elastic that can be loosened inside the pocket. This is just so incredibly fiddly, the first time we needed to adjust the nappy in this way it took us 15 minutes to get it right. And because these nappies use elastic it is difficult to ensure that both straps are loosened off equally, and while not particularly damning, it does bug Daddy.

Most pocket nappies have their opening at the back of the nappy, and while we’re not sure of the benefits or drawbacks of this, the fact that Charlie Banana put the opening at the front throws us right out. The number of times that the Charlie Banana nappy has been sworn at is actually staggering as we’ve set it up the wrong way round mid change.

In conclusion…

There are certainly many benefits to the Charlie Banana one size nappies, but some of the small things certainly make us think twice about buying more of these nappies. That said I would highly recommend them for there absorbancy and style.

Monday Meal Plan – 19/02/18

Part of being green (and being thrifty) is planning out your meals ahead of time. It saves you money and minimises waste. This week money is a little tight as we are coming off the month with the least parental leave pay.

  • Monday: Chicken and Bacon stuffed pasta – picked this up on offer in Asda, we needed something quick to make as Mummy is coming in late from work.
  • Tuesday: Spicy sausage stuffed pasta – although I don’t like to have the same. E sort of food two days in a row, I’m out at a Christians Against Poverty course (which I’ll write about next week) so again needed easy food.
  • Wednesday: Sausage, apple & parsnip bake – this quick an easy recipe goes perfectly with mustard mash.
  • Thursday: Spinach & Sweet Potato curry – using up the sweet potato that’s in my fridge, these are slow roasted with skins on and they taste amazing. Mostly making this recipe up on the fly but am happy for any excuse to use my skillet.
  • Friday: Harissa beef kebabs with red cabbage & flatbread/tortilla wrap – previously mae this meal for my in laws with lamb, but Mummy isn’t so keen on that meat.
  • Saturday: Homemade beef burgers – quick and easy to make.
  • Sunday: Hoisin Park Choi Rice – first time making this recipe but we both absolutely love pok choi.

Day 4 (Animals) – 7 day kids toys challenge

We’re taking part in the #ourcolurfulkids challenge over on our Instagram! Today is day 4 and the theme is animals.

We’ve got a load of foxy toys, including Roy the corduroy Jellycat fox, a fun fox puppet, a coupe of preloved books and some funky foxy shoes.

If you’re taking part too then let us know in the comments so we can check out your awesome toys.