Shear good luck at Bill Quay Farm

I hate Charlie and Lola; there I’ve said it.

Joss on the other hand loves it, especially the episode Lucky Lucky Me. Herein lies an example of the jarringly poor use of of language that I don’t like:

Lola: Maybe today I’m absolutely the most luckiest person in the whole world. (sings) Lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky me-eee-ee

 

All being said, we’ve seen this so many times that lucky lucky me popped into my head when we were out this week, how lucky is Joss to live 30 seconds walk from an amazing urban farm?

This week the sheep shearer came down to Bill Quay Farm and Joss got to have a good look at the action.

freshly sheared sheep

She said that the wool felt ‘soft and comfy’

toddler sheep shearing

After a brief run in with a goose that was giving the stink eye…

geese

We ended the day with a few wooly pictures made from the fleece!

all's wool that ends wool

A great gNappies review

gNappies offer a great way to make the move into cloth nappies. I’ve posted frequently about the eco, thrifty and gentle to babies skin benefits of cloth bumming; these bright and soft cloth pants act as a reusable cover to house either cloth inserts, or biodegradable disposable inserts can be home composted (wet ones only) or binned. We reviewed this ‘sposie option.

gnappies purple review

Often one of the questions I get asked about cloth nappies is about managing out and about, on holiday, and with childcare. Now I use cloth full time, but I find it handy to have something disposable on hand for poorly tum times or holidays, having this option of a biodegradable insert would solve these issues, could smooth the transition to cloth and give new parents the confidence to take cloth nappies out and about knowing that they won’t have to carry a poo around with them (genuinely this is a concern I hear a lot!)

I love the range of colours this brand delivers, I’d also heard great things about fit so was looking forward to giving them a go!

Here’s my rundown of gNappies pants:

1) The whole package

I really liked the little card that comes with the pants, if you’re new to cloth this is a really handy guide to cloth bumming from newborn onwards, even covering off umbilical cord care and cloth nappies.

gnappies purple review book

The design feature of gNappies that I really liked the sound of was a back fastening for tots that can take off applix nappies, this feature gives a great fit and stops cheeky antics in their tracks!

The outer shell of the pants is made in the softest of soft cotton, I wish I could capture it in a photo, trust me, it’s soft!

gnappies red review whole nappy

The inner shell is a waterproof pouch that snaps into the outer pant and holds your insert. This is very handy because you can use the outer again, changing the inner and reduce the number of pants you need too, thrifty!

gnappies red review

2) The fit

The slim fit of the medium size pant works great for Joss, but there are five size ranges and two sizes of inserts going up from newborn to 15kg+ although not a birth to potty style nappy I benefit from something that best fits Joss for the size she is as she is a skinny minnie and doesn’t change her shape much so I do value a great fit and gNappies deliver.
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3) The inserts

The inserts looked like a giant sanitary towel, so giant I couldn’t see how they could possibly fit in the natty little pouch, but they do, and they give the nappy its unique shape popping in easily. These inserts are really thin to give a great fit, but their biodegradable filler made from made of cellulose, fluff pulp and super absorber does what it says on the tin and absorbs really well. We have a heavy wetter and the nappies went 3-4 hours as I’d expected.

4) The eco-bit

The inserts can be home composted (wet ones only) or binned. When the nappy is soiled, simply remove the disposable insert, dispose, and tuck in a new insert for a fresh change. As we all know conventional disposable nappies do not break down, it’s estimated it takes 200-500 years per nappy! These compost down within 3 months which is a huge deal for the planet.

5) Washing and drying

The best thing about this nappy for me was the drying time, wow, I was not expecting them to need just an hour on the line in the sun, our other cloth nappies take 3-4 hours so this is a great improvement

As cloth nappies go these are at the pricier end of the spectrum, but I say that with a caveat as you need fewer outer pants with this option, especially at the toddler stage where they need less frequent changing, I think these are a great cloth-starter nappy and a great fitting nappy for older ones too.

(Disclaimer – we received four gNappies pants to get us started, all views are my own)

Family Fever

Mollie Makes Shoe Clips and More

I love anything that can jazz up a plain outfit or pair of shoes and love shoeclips. I’ve been making my own for a while and have found that cheap clip-on earring backs picked up in craft stores make a great base for them!

Mollie Makes issue 41 came with a great set to make your own shoeclips, a la these:

Mollie-Makes-41-gifts
(image from molliemakes.com)

My Own Take

True to type I decided to make up a variation on the original Mollie Makes shoeclips so I added some gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawn Betsy fabric and made bows instead of a pompom shape.

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Inspiring reads for sparking creativity

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When I wrote my Mumslist post this week it got me thinking about what inspires me at the moment, now I no longer have to read academic books for my course I’ve picked up some old friends again, here’s my rundown of inspiring reads for lazy days when I am mulling over ideas for crafting, blogging, eating and more…

1) Anything by Caitlin Moran

Gosh I love her, she writes snort out loud on the bus books though, so these are for home only. Generally flicking through her books reminds me to bring humour out in my writing, and may make me a little more daring too. I’m not saying that everytime I write a scary personal blog post I think “what would Caitlin do” before posting, but it does often cross my mind that she’s so disarmingly honest and my finding that incredibly refreshing sometimes leads me to hit publish with more confidence, enough gushing, just read her stuff, like this, which I love for capturing the love and pain of motherhood so well:

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http://www.buzzfeed.com/samjparker/caitlin-moran-quotes

2) The Goddess Guides

I’m also re-reading these beauties from my collection, lots of snippets, tips and titbits to dip into so they’re kept by the bed, I adore their covers too! My love of macaroons spiralled out of control after reading the Laduree pages! Fashion, travel, ideas to live by, these are written like a magazine, dip-inable and lots of ideas for slow days.

3) The Wonderful Weekend Book

This one’s a bit whimsical, lots of ideas for lazy Sundays and reclaiming life’s simple pleasures. I sometimes need reminding to live in the now, mindful and taking in my surroundings, from sunset watching and jam making to gardening and writing proper letters it’s jam packed with ideas for getting out and living life to the full, inspiring stuff indeed!

4) Homemade

I cant stop picking this one up lately, split into seasons with ideas for home, food and craft it’s a total treasure trove of ideas, beautifully shot photos that make me aspire to make and do more, I think this is a must for any creative blogger

5) Scrapbook

This lovely leatherbound beauty really belongs to Joss, I’m filling it for her and will share some of its pages over the coming weeks

Do you have inspiring reads that you often come back to?

The Best Exotic Marigold Bug Hotel

Further encouraging her love of bugs and the outdoors I picked up a little bug hotel this week, a bargain for £3 it was empty so we enjoyed filling it with bamboo sticks, moss and fabric and bits of dried plants, I think it looks like a rather smart place to stop by, less bug youth hostel more upmarket pad, no?

Making a bug hotel 2 Making a bug hotel

Looking forward to seeing who stops by over the coming weeks, for now here’s my little beastie peeping out, boo!

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Mum Of One

Zap-It Mosquito Bite Relief Giveaway

The festival season is upon us and I’ve noticed my least favourite summer beastie is back, the mosquito!

I just want to enjoy my picnic without pesky mosquitoes thanks!

lunch1

Zap-It! is a revolutionary, pocket sized device that is really effective at stopping the itching and swelling caused by mosquito bites and virtually all other biting insects including stinging nettles.

zap-it woman child HR sml

Zap-It! is chemical free, non-allergenic, small, clean and light to carry, it contains piezo crystal which neutralises bites and stings.

A handy sized design with string to be worn round the neck it’s ecologically sound, has no batteries and can be used over a long period to treat up to 1000 bites.

“Clicking” Zap-It! several times around the area of a bite has the effect of localising the poison and inhibiting the histamine release which causes the itch and the urge to scratch. The toxicity of the mosquito bite becomes neutralised with no harmful effect on the surrounding skin. Zap-It! is completely safe for human body and an effective treatment for insect bites.

Zap-It! came in extremely handy yesterday after Joss’ favourite ball ended up in a patch of stinging nettles, I didn’t have anything to cover my hand and so endured a nasty sting to my finger, a few clicks of Zap-it! calmed down the stinging and I didn’t get that horrible lingering feeling after the sting had worn off!

If you’d like to give it a try yourself I have a Zap-it! to give away, simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below and leave a comment to let me know your plans for this summer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&Cs
Entries close on 20th June and winner will be informed via the blog on 21st June (and by email)
Open to UK only
Winner will be selected via Rafflecopter, there is no cash alternative

Intrepid Explorer Toddler Mumslist

Real Life

I am absolutely loving having such an outdoorsy little girl! These photos from this week really show her true nature coming though, I love how inquisitive she is and the researcher in me is loving it too as I have a lot of ‘what’s that?’ questions coming my way and I was not the most outdoorsy kid myself so trees, insects and birds are slowly filtering into both our minds at the moment! It’s got me thinking about exploring free range parenting some more, I mean look how chilled she is exploring the world through her own eyes and experiences!

index

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Looking ahead to the next few weeks I’ve some big things coming up at work that are probably going to start to filter into home life if I’m not careful, in some ways having this blog to focus on too reminds me that it’s important to try to hold back work seeping in as much as possible, but it’s hard, yes Joss is the most important thing but deadlines are hard to meet in just three days a week, it’s a blooming hard juggling act and I don’t know the answer yet, but we are hoping to take a holiday later this year so that’s something to focus on and work towards.

Blog Life

Two of my fave posts this week were this one on eco parenting (having lovely things to test and look at helped too!) and this one, who knew mix and match crockery was so controversial but the comments I’ve had suggest there’s a 50/50 split! Coming up next week is my post on helping toddlers through fears (Daddy and I keep spelling out words we need to avoid like MONSTERS and HAND DRYER)…

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Inspiration

This week I’ve been working on my Pinterest presence helped by this great post by craftsonsea

I also came across some gorgeous floral collages as well as a fantastic blog over at wolves in london

Mums' Days

– See more at: http://www.mumsdays.com/mums-list-15-brazilian-recipes/#sthash.o0xfxhZM.dpuf

Eco Parenting: From birth to toddler

A positive test, scans and antenatal appointments and suddenly you’re not just thinking about yourself, you’re eating for two and thinking about your new life with a baby. The question that often comes up is “have you started buying for the baby yet?”

There’s a huge amount of ‘stuff’ to navigate, but what if you scrapped the so-called list of mother and baby must haves and went green instead?

What is eco-parenting?

Well, it might be about not spending unnecessarily, it might be about raising little people who care about people and planet, it might be about being ‘green’ and not being wasteful. It’s not an all or nothing way of family life, but it is usually about making choices which benefit and do not harm our environment.

What does it mean to me?

For my family it means making environmental choices, like cloth nappies and washable wipes, reducing waste, avoiding over packaged products and trying to buy sustainable, natural and eco friendly products. It’s about showing an interest in where things come from and how they’re made, avoiding over use of chemicals and exposure to toxins, and for us a big interest is in encouraging outdoor play and learning in nature.

Different choices

So what would be on my eco or green baby essentials list? This is not exhaustive but is intended to offer some food for thought:

eco baby and mum gifts

1) Cloth nappies

I am going to be writing a full review of these very soon, but gNappies offer a great way to make the move into cloth nappies. I’ve posted frequently about their eco, thrifty and gentle to babies skin benefits. These bright and soft cloth pants act as a reusable cover to house either cloth inserts, or biodegradable disposable inserts can be home composted (wet ones only) or binned. Often one of the questions I get asked about cloth nappies is about managing out and about, on holiday, and with childcare. Now I use cloth full time, but I find it handy to have something disposable on hand for poorly tum times or holidays, having this option of a biodegradable insert would solve these issues, could smooth the transition to cloth and give new parents the confidence to take cloth nappies out and about knowing that they won’t have to carry a poo around with them (genuinely this is a concern I hear a lot!)

2) Washable wipes

We are firm fans of Cheeky Wipes and so I was delighted to review their new toilet paper alternative, Joss is not yet ready for potty training, but when we start I would like to continue to use washable wipes throughout the transition and have been considering a family transition to a toilet paper alternative too. These are made from super soft flannel and are roughly the size of an average flannel so a great size for grown ups and babies alike. They are thin like toilet paper and wash and dry easily. I also highly recommend their cloth wipes for babies in bamboo, my set are two years old now and still going strong, I have saved well over £800 in the cost of wipes and nappies and avoided chemicals too, I estimate that a switch to TPA would save us £200 a year and the planet too!

3) Eco toiletries for baby

I’ve tried to avoid chemicals like parabens and phthalates where possible for Joss, this means that I generally use water alone for her baths and I recommend this approach for newborn sensitive skin, but every so often I like to use something natural to help her skin stay soft. Natural bath salts are great for the treatment of skin disorders like child eczema, rich in health-giving minerals such as sulphur, iodine, magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium these Dead Sea mineral salt products are a good choice for those seeking a natural option. We’ve been trying out these products for two weeks and I’ve noticed an improvement in Joss’ skin

4) and Eco toiletries for mum

For myself, I like to live by the same ethos I choose for Joss, going for natural beauty products where possible and again avoiding preservatives and other chemicals. The Organic Surge range is a great option for offering the amazing scents essential oils offer whilst using only Eco-Cert approved natural ingredients. Lavender is a great addition to any products for new mums, the sleep inducing properties soothe the body and mind and offer a skin pampering treat too, it’s vital you take care of yourself and so this range would make a great affordable gift for a new mum!

5) Organic cotton clothing

Organic cotton fibres are grown without chemicals, are softer and don’t contain allergens as ordinary cotton does and organic farmers get a better price for their crop so fairness factors in too. I know folk say organic is expensive but it really does mean quality and long lasting too. Organic cotton retains its resell value or will keep for future additions to your family! OrganicZOO is a design led organic baby wear company focused on creating lovely, soft and seriously cool collections for baby and parent, we reviewed their supersoft Tuscany Happy Heart Sweatshirt and it was super soft and snuggly, I love the simplicity of the design and the weave is lovely making the fabric a great quality, this is definitely one that’s made to last and stay snuggly

6) Wooden toys

If you can avoid plastic and buy sustainable toys you’re likely to be buying something long lasting and much more environmentally friendly too, check out Babipur who stock a great range, including this lovely Hape musical set which Joss adores

7) Handmade gifts

Joss is lucky to have two crafty grandmothers and handmade gifts make a great eco-gift, first up a vintage patchwork made by her maternal grandmother and probably about thirty years old now, this is a very precious addition to Joss’ nursery. It’s used alongside another beauty, when I was pregnant I’d natter with my Mam and watch her crochet all these pink and green squares, a blanket for a new baby made with love makes a great gift and heartfelt too, if you’re getting ready for your own new bundle it can be a great time to wind down and learn a new skill making blankets and little pram suits instead of buying them.

(Disclaimer: All of the products reviewed here were received as samples, all views are my own)

Picnic lunches and monkeying around

A gentle start to the week, a yarden picnic and we were joined by monkey who must now always be dressed in a nappy made from a napkin…

Monkey cloth nappy

My roses are doing so well, this one was a gift from a friend when I moved into our flat about six years ago, it’s lovely to bring a few indoors!

white roses

Quite pleased with my newly acquired enamelware, including this car boot sale find strawberry bowl

enamel strawberry bowl

A walk through our neighbourhood threw up some surprises this week, what I now know to be a female lime hawkmoth thanks to a friend who spotted my FB photo and put us right!

female lime hawkmoth

And a yellow water iris popping up by the river, a wobbly camera phone snap as I had to lean out to capture it!

yellow water iris

And finally a more common find, a slug, how nice!

slug

 

 

Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mix and match crockery

Occasionally, just occasionally mind I get a bit antsy about our mix and match approach to homeware, usually after I’ve seen a minimalist blogger post about their crisp white kitchen and collection of Sophie Conran plates. Then I remember that I am clumsy and this eclectic collection suits us well!

I love my small but well-loved collection of Rob Ryan crocks, and as long as I keep to similar hues of blue I think this little lot goes pretty well together.

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Just to the left of this shot is another special piece from my kitchen, when we wed in 2011 we were given a beautiful vintage cutlery set by my friend from Uni, I love the plush satin and it’s a well loved piece, coming out for parties and special occasions and sometimes for no occasion what so ever! As you can see I spend a lot of time admiring and polishing them!

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