We’ve recently been buying up plenty of wooden toys. After seeing how much Gracie loved her other wooden animals that we’d picked up, I was excited to get the Pocket Dinosaur set for her.
This box cost us £15.00 from a high street shop. The box contains 18 pieces, 12 dinosaurs (6 pairs), 4 trees, and 2 volcanoes. While the box states that the toys are suitable from 18 months, Gracie is enjoying them at 13 months, and the size and quality of these toys are equal to that of other toys that are suitable for her age.
The 12 dinosaurs are in bright colours that Gracie found really attractive. She loved that there were two of every dinosaur, in two different colours. This gave her the opportunity to pair them together, both by shape, and with other dinosaurs in the same colour pallet. The trees and volcanoes have also found use outside of the set as a part of other small world play.
These are not the first wooden dinosaur toys that we’ve picked up, originally finding a couple of Le Toy Van dinosaurs while shopping in Glastonbury, and these compare extremely well. While the Le Toy Van dinos are certainly of a higher quality, this is directly tied to a higher price.
Ultimately the Pocket Dinosaur pack provided a large number of good quality toys that are perfect for those who prefer wooden toys, or small world play, and while not my favorite brand wooden toys, they are great for smaller hands.
It has been a little while since we’ve done a review here at Reusable Family. Between increasingly pregnant Mummy giving herself a concussion, and Daddy going back to work it has been hard for us to sit down and just write. But during the time we’ve been quiet we’ve managed to pick up a few bits here and there that we thought we’d like to share.
We decided to kick our reviews back off with something so simple, something that was more of an impulse buy that anything planned, Toy Leads by JoJo Maman Bebe.
Gracie loves going out and about in her pram, but as she’s gotten older she’s developed a habit for throwing any toys that we’ve taken with us out her pram. For a while the answer for this was to simply only take toys that clipped on to the pram (most Lamaze toys come with a decent clip). This worked well for us until we were in town one day, we decided to purchase a Matchstick Monkey teething toy on a whim (a review of this will be coming soon). This however left us with a little bit of a dilemma, we wanted her to have the toy, but we didn’t want to lose it.
We quickly found the answer in JoJo Maman Bebe who sell a 2-pack of Toy Leads for £6. We gave them a little tug, and decided that they would do the job well, and purchased them. We go out everyday, often multiple times, and these leads have been heavily tested already.
JoJo Maman Bebe Toy Leads are strips of hardwearing fabric, they come in a selection of patterns and prints, and have a set of poppers/snaps at both ends. One set of poppers attaches to the toy in someway, while the other end attaches to the pram or stroller. These poppers are very strong, and Gracie has yet to managed to get them undone with brute strength alone, giving us peace of mind that the toys are secure and safe.
These toy leads have also survived a significant amount of chewing, a couple goes in the washing machine, so far they are as bright as they were when we purchased them.
There are certainly other toy leads available on the market, but we have been extremely impressed by these ones. For the reasonable price of £6, you can protect your toys from randomly being thrown from the pram and lost. We wish we’d thought about getting these sooner.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
When we decided that we were going to get Pixel, we wanted to pick up a few things before we got him. Specifically we wanted to get a collar, a lead, a harness, a bed and some bowls. The majority of these things were easy enough to get a hold of but we quickly realised that the vast arrays of leads and harnesses on offer were down right boring. Then, one day, while browsing a pet shop I spotted a brightly coloured harness that really stood out to me, it was unique, it was the first time I encountered zee.dog.
Originally gaining recognition on the crowd sourcing site Kickstarter in 2010, zee.dog promised to bring a sense of style and individuality to dogs and their owners. Since discovering zee.dog, Pixel and Dora have acquired a number harnesses, including their matching leads.
Pixel’s first harness was a vest-styled one, in the eye-catching Stardust design. This is Pixel’s best looking harness and also the most comfortable, one that he can wear all day if he is out all day for a walk or just out somewhere where he needs to remain on lead or harness.
The chest piece is made of air mesh, a soft, breathable fabric that gently spreads the pressure of pulling evenly across the chest. The D-ring is also located further down the back, away from the sensitive neck and throat. However if your dog is prone to pulling, this harness does require regular tightening otherwise the straps can loosen slightly over time, and a savvy dog (like Pixel) might be able to take advantage and slip free. This however is a fault on my part rather than the harnesses.
The greatest weakness of this harness is the matching lead. Although the lead is light weight and comfortable to use, the lead is very easy to mark.
In addition to his vest harness, Pixel also had two Step-In harnesses in the Driver and Skull designs. Less comfortable than the vest harness, these two allow for greater control over Pixel, the pressure is not spread out through a chest piece, so its not as easy for him to pull. Easy to put on, these harnesses fasten at Pixel’s shoulders and has two D-rings, one on each “side”, that prevents the harness from pulling or rubbing unevenly.
The problem with these Step-In style harnesses is that for awkwardly proportioned dogs, like Pixel the lurcher, they can rub. After some adjustments we got them to fit but we need to keep an eye to make sure these harnesses do not rub.
As mentioned previously, Pixel and I are big fans of these leads. They are comfortable, light weight and with a solid, easy to use clip. The leads are available in two sizes, one for small and medium dogs and one for larger breeds. Two small rubber zee.dog logos (a rather fun looking cartoon skull) are proudly displayed on the leads, one that sits just below the handle, providing a comfortable place to hold, and one logo just above the clip.
zee.dog the Company
I would happily recommend the zee.dog leads and harnesses because they look good, because they are comfortable and because they work, but there is more to it than that. zee.dog is more than just about fun and good looking products, they want to make a difference too. For every lead sold, money goes to the Dogs on Deathrow charity, and it makes me feel good supporting that. I love this company not just for their products (further zee.dog reviews will be coming up), but for their ethos, they care. Pixel just loves to look good.
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.