The Day Before Veganism

So here we are, the day before we go vegan. It’s weird when I was younger I’d have felt nervous about it, but know I’m actually quite excited. Yeah I have a few things that have been playing on my mind, for one I am pretty addicted to Chocolate Milk so I’m anxious about finding an alternative. Finding pages that list accidentally vegan products have helped, especially knowing that there are plenty of biscuits available for me to eat makes me very happy. The only thing that is going to hold us back is that we live in a town that’s barely bigger than a village so finding alternatives to meat and dairy might be a bit of a struggle.

Now I’m going to be honest, we’re going green because we feel compelled to by God. We wanted to live up to the role of stewards that was given to us. We’ve just got back from our Church’s European conference and I have to admit it really made me think about a few things, and it certainly has stoked my excitement, especially if it gives me an opportunity to spread the Gospel through it. The event has rekindled a passion in me for green living, and I’m excited to see how far we’ll go.

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.

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).

 

Little Lamb Review

Little Lamb One Size nappies

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.

The majority of our Cloth Nappy collection is made up of Little Lamb. When Gracie was first born we used Little Lamb Shaped (two part) nappies (pairing them with either Little Lamb covers, or Motherease Rikki covers). Now that Gracie is a little older, we’ve swapped to using Little Lamb One Size nappies during the day, and two parts at night.

We chose to use Little Lamb as they came at a reasonable price, and appeared to be of remarkable quality. We originally purchased the One Size nappies when we first decided to use cloth nappies, but following a little research realised that they wouldn’t be a great fit for a new born, unless she was born exceptionally large. After doing some reading we settled on the Shaped nappies as they seemed to be highly regarded.

Little Lamb Shaped Nappies

As we knew that Gracie would be in these nappies for the first few months we bought several of the shaped nappies, a mixture of microfibre, cotton, and bamboo. We picked up a selection as they all profess different absorbency and drying times. The quickest, but least absorbent was the mircofibre, with cotton in the middle, and bamboo absorbing the most, but taking the longest to dry. In total we had 15 nappies, 5 microfibre, 3 cotton, and 7 bamboo.

In the whole we were extremely happy with the shaped nappies, they seemed to fit Gracie extremely well, and the layers did a great job of pulling the moisture away from her skin. During the day we used the lighter nappies, while at night we used bamboo which meant we could go longer between changes.

One issue we found specifically with the bamboo nappies is shrinkage. Now all bamboo nappies have this problem, so its not something particularly new, however we felt that after regular usage that they would no longer fit Gracie comfortably, even though she is two pounds under the upper limit of the size one nappies. Regardless of this we found these to be our best option for a nighttime nappy, and purchased 5 more bamboo ones in size 2. A notable difference between size 1 and size 2 seems to be that the main insert is attached to the nappy in size 2, which could make adjusting for boosters more difficult.

We used two different wraps for the shaped nappies. Firstly we used Motherease Rikki Wrap which seemed to fit the nappies better when Gracie was smaller. Specifically they were lower on the waist than some wraps which accommodated the umbilical cord better. As Gracie grew bigger we swapped to Little Lamb wraps which are higher waisted and provide a more comprehensive cover.

Little Lamb One Size

The first thing I need to say about all one size nappies is that they can take a little time to get used used to. We experimented with sizing, and length of time that Gracie could wear a nappy without leakage. Every baby is different and it can take some time to get the hang of. I say this because we were nearly tearing our hair out when she kept leaking. Be patient and it will be fine

With that out the way, we love the Little Lamb One Size nappies. We use both booster pads that come with the nappies for our average use, and stuff with a charcoal insert if going out for long periods of time. On average we get between 2 to 3 hours of wear from a nappy, any more than that and she gets uncomfortable. The pocket is a decent size, and easily fits the inserts.

The poppers are strong, and keep the nappies tightly closed. The poppers are so strong that one of our nappies actually broke when trying to undo the popper. So you need to be a little careful when opening them.

We are also happy to report that while using Little Lamb nappies we’ve not had a single poop explosion, and they have contained some pretty serious baby bowl movements.

In short the One Size nappies make a solid backbone to our nappy stash. I would certainly recommend these nappies to anyone, especially for the reasonable price.

February’s eco-friendly products

It’s a new month so we are trialling a few new product in our house. Each product thus far has recieved light usage so can’t speak of anything conclusively.

Ecoegg

First up we bought an Ecoegg. These strange plastic egg shaped things are used to replace washing detergent. We purchased a 54 wash egg which supposedly lasts an average family 3 months. We opted for one with less washes incase one of us had an allergic reaction (thankfully we all seem good).

After the first wash we were a little unsure, our clothes didn’t smell dirty, but they didn’t exactly smell like lavender either. Regardless we stuck with it and the second load smelled much better. We assumed that the water dissolvable lining that was in the Ecoegg took a little time to break down in the first cycle. Since then we’ve been extremely happy, and the Ecoegg even seems to take on our cloth nappies well.

Ecover

We’ve begun the process of swapping out certain mainstays of the house with more ecofriendly products. This month we’ve picked up a lavender hand-wash and camomile & clementine washing up liquid.

Both of these have impressed us, they smell fantastic, they lather well, and particularly the washing up liquid, seems like it will go a long way.

While these products typically cost a little more than the “standard” counterparts, we picked them up while on offer in Waitrose.

E-Cloth

The final products that we’ve picked up this month were the E-Cloth general purpose cloth, and washing up pad.

The general cloth seems good, we just wet it and off it goes. The wash pad is actually amazing. The cloth side does wonders on dried on foods, while the non-scratch scouring side has got my cast iron pans cleaner than they’ve ever been.

That is all for the February update, I’ll see you all again at the round up!

Look what arrived in the post today!

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We received a number of packages in the post today, and I couldn’t be more excited! The majority of the swag is from Little Green Radicals, we got a hat, one long sleeve, and one short sleeve top, two lots of leggings, a romper, and a pair of dungarees. We absolutely these pieces, they are bright, beautiful, and importantly unisex so reusable should we have a second baby.

We also received a pair of second-hand pink leggings by Fred’s World. Rounding out our swag, we got a 5 new Little Lamb two part nappies to replace the set that we’ve been using at nighttime as Gracie has basically outgrown them! These new nappies have their main liner sown directly in so that will be interesting. Once we’ve used them a couple of times we will post a review of the whole Little Lamb range.

The January Round-up

So let’s take stock of how our first month of trying to go green went for us:

What went well:

  • Perhaps the most important thing we achieved was moving over to reusable wipes. We’d bought these before Gracie was even born but had been hesitant to pull the trigger on using them. We were idiots for waiting so long, they are simple to use, and clean up souch better than disposable wipes.
  • Following the second round of Rotavirus immunisations we have kept Gracie in her cloth nappies and just adjusted our clean process slightly rather than use disposable nappies. Following the first round of vaccinations we used disposables and the quantity of waste was just ridiculous.
  • We’ve started using a local butcher and green grocer for food, hoping to reduce the carbon footprint of our shopping and cut down of waste food. The butcher was great value for money, the green grocers less so.

Still to do:

  • We are going through the last of our stock from before we decided to go green. Things like washing up liquid and detergent can take a little while to get through.
  • We are looking at buying some reusable sandwich and food bags next month when Mummy returns to work.
  • We are slowly increasing the amount of organic clothing in Gracie’s wardrobe, but as she has been growing quite rapidly we’ve had to buy a few things out of convenience.

Right that’s everything I can think of. We’ll see you all in February.