20.01

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T H E   W O R L D   O F   C L O T H   N A P P Y I N G

{Let me get head off this post by saying that despite how brand-heavy the photos are, this post is in no way sponsored by BumGenius! It’s also a very wordy, in-depth post, so be warned! :) }

I’ve posted a fair bit online recently about my aim to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. In fact, it’s my one and only 2018 resolution! And as part of that resolution, I’ve decided to take the plunge with cloth nappying.

I recently read that each year, enough disposable nappies are thrown away to circle the Earth 80 times over. A disposable nappy is thought to take between 200 and 500 years to break down, and in the UK alone, 8 MILLION disposable nappies are thrown away each DAY! These facts, and the realisation that the disposable nappies I wore as a baby won’t even have degraded yet, shocked me so much that I figured enough was enough. Time to make a change!

It’s something I’ve been toying with the idea of doing for at least six months now, but it took me such a long time to get brave and go for it! I’m sure for lots of parents, and definitely for me anyway, switching to cloth nappies felt like a very daunting step. With possible downsides like factoring in another daily chore, the upfront expense, the potential for leaks, and having to get more ‘up close and personal’ with the contents of your child’s nappy (not to mention the time it takes to decipher all the lingo and jargon when working out what to buy!), it’s a whole new level of parenting I wasn’t quite sure I was brave enough for!

But after approximately a billion hours spent researching types and brands of cloth nappies, watching YouTube reviews, asking for advice on my social media channels (thank you to all the sweet Mamas who’ve given me help!), I’ve done it!

Ottie’s been in cloth full time for around a week now and so I thought I’d write up a ‘first impressions’ style post, as well as some consolidated tips of my own from everything I’ve learnt through all my research! So let’s go!

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First up, let me talk to you about the brand I chose, and why!

We’re using the BumGenius v5 Pocket Nappies, which come incredibly highly recommended both from friends who’ve used them, fellow Instagram Mamas, and via online reviews!

A pocket nappy is a nappy system in which absorbent pad/pads of material (in this case, microfibre) are inserted into the space between the waterproof outer layer (that’s the coloured or printed part), and a soft cotton layer that sits against baby’s skin. The pocket can be stuffed with a single or multiple fabric pads (to provide extra overnight absorbency for a long stretch of sleep), and then when the nappy has been worn the pads are removed, both parts are washed, and then can be hung out to dry.

So far, I’m absolutely thrilled with them! We’ve had no major leaks at all, only two incidents of a slight dampness right at the edge of Ottilie’s vest- once when she’d been sat in her carseat for a long time and had been in the same nappy for a little over 4 hours, and once overnight when she’d worn the same nappy for 13 hours and drunk a lot right before bed.

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Here’s what made me choose BumGenius:

- Ease of use: once the pocket of the nappy has been stuffed, it goes on just like a disposable would- all in one piece, with no faffing about using clips or pins or multiple nappy parts!

- Popper closure rather than velcro: time and again I read that nappies with velcro tend not to be as long lasting, since they degrade in the wash and get loaded up with lint and lose their ‘stick’. Even changing a wriggly toddler, poppers have been super easy so far.

- Good looking nappies: I had previously ordered a few of a cheaper brand of nappies, (‘Sandy’s nappies by Motherease) and when I tried them on Ottie they were laughably huge and bulky, even when bone dry! Cloth nappies are always going to be slightly bulkier than disposables, but BumGenius are a very slim fitting cloth nappy and though I have bought a couple of new, slightly roomier bottoms for her, they do fit under all Ottie’s regular clothes. Plus I love the nappies’ cute colours and prints!

- Quick to dry: being able to pull out the absorbent inserts and hang them on a line all separated out cuts down drying time such a lot, important given that it’s not recommended to use a tumble dryer on cloth nappies. Some types of cloth nappies can take 18+ hours to dry, whereas these are washed in the evening, hung out around 9-10pm, and are dry by the morning.

- One size fits most: the adjustable popper system make these nappies fit from around 8lbs, to 35lbs. The other brand of nappies I originally bought ran from 18lbs up, so I would have had to buy a whole new smaller set for any future babies.

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F A C T S   A N D   F I G U R E S :

One of the things I found most tricky when researching cloth nappies was knowing how many I’d need, so here’s our cost breakdown:

12x BumGenius pocket nappies: £217.
I ordered two sets of BabiPur’s ‘Five for £89′ offer, plus two extras. I’m planning on purchasing a couple more as backups for when I’ve been late to hang the nappies out after washing and they’re not quite dry come the morning when I need a fresh one, but we’re getting on fine with 12 for now.

We tend to change her every 3 hours or so in the day, and so use around five over a 24 hour period. Of course, with a younger baby you’d be looking at roughly double this amount of nappies needed!

4x HempBabies doubler: £19.80
This acts as an extra layer of absorbency for nighttime, and gets inserted into the pocket along with the BumGenius microfibre pad. To be honest, I only really needed to buy three of these as I wash the nappies every other day.

1x pack of fleece liners, + 1x triple pack of Bambinex disposable liners: £7.99, + £13.99
Liners are laid inside the nappy to catch any poo. The benefit of a disposable is that they can be either flushed (though we don’t) or put into biodegradable nappy sack and binned.

The downside though we found is that they tend to get all scrunched up and poo still ends up on the main part of the nappy (not a problem, but kind of defeats the object of the liner) but more importantly I found they got sodden quite quickly and then sat damp on Ottie’s skin. I can’t imagine it’d feel very nice, so we’ve switched mostly to washable fleece liners. These are a bit more ‘yuck’ to clean after a poo (we tend to sluice them off in the (clean!!) toilet, honestly not horrible to do but of course more of a faff then lobbing a rolled up Pampers in the bin!) but feel so nice and soft and add a ‘stay dry’ layer against baby’s skin inside the nappy.

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T H E    D O W N S I D E S ?

You can’t just throw them on and forget about them in the way you do with a really decent quality disposable, because I just don’t think they’re as absorbable as, say, Pampers Baby Dry. I just used to change Ottie when her nappy felt a bit heavy before, whereas now it feels like I’m changing far more frequently. Not a bad thing, but worth thinking about!

Does it save money? I’m sure it does, but disposables are SO cheap to buy (until Ottie was around 8 months we used Aldi, which were dirt cheap!!) that the cost is so spread out it might feel more affordable to use disposables. Long term I’m sure the saving is there with cloth, but it feels like a luxury to be able to blow £300 up front. There are cheaper cloth alternatives of course- I just chose what felt like the best option for us.
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M Y   H O N E S T   T H O U G H T S ?

It’s way, way easier than I expected! Not the disgusting, poo up to your elbows kind of situation I feared, but actually incredibly simple and a lot more ‘clean’ than I could’ve imagined. They don’t smell bad at all, when it comes to washing them I simply unzip the top of the waterproof laundry bag and empty them all out into the machine, and they’re away!

And it makes me feel so, SO good not taking out a huge mound of nappies to the bin at the end of each day, knowing that they’re destined to sit in landfill indefinitely! Seriously gives me a little ‘pat on the back’ happy feeling every time :)

And despite what I mentioned about the cost, I don’t feel as though it’s been too bad- coming in at slightly under £300 is pretty good! I hope that with careful washing, drying, and use, we’ll be able to use these on future children once Ottilie is finished with them, of course supplementing with extra nappies during the newborn stage.

~ ~ ~

All in all, I absolutely love it! Love the feel good factor of knowing I’ve cut down our waste an incredible amount, love the sweet prints and colours (we have a couple of bright red and purple nappies too, which are so cute), love how effective and simple the nappies are. To anyone deliberating about it, I’d say go for it if you can! Buying a couple of tester nappies in different brands and styles can be helpful, and TheNappyLady is a brilliant place to go for free bespoke advice.

If you got to the end of this mammoth post, you’re a hero! Thanks for reading, and I hope it helps!

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Posted in BABY, CLOTHNAPPIES, ECOLIVING

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18.01

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1. Seeing the first shoots of the year peeping up through the compost! The garlic in one of the raised beds in the garden is just starting to shoot, and the broad beans are popping up in trays on my kitchen window ledge. The promise of things to come!

2. Taking Ottilie swimming. She shouts ‘splash splash’ non stop and wants to jump in from the side approximately 75 billion times, and it’s the best! (Even if the floor of swimming pool changing rooms make me want to bathe in Dettol afterwards.)

3. Doing yoga each evening after Ottie goes to bed. It makes me so relaxed, I feel as though I’m melting into the floor at the end of each practise!

4. Beautiful tulips from my beautiful husband. Spring flowers are my favourite, and he knows it!

5. Pasta pasta and more pasta. I can’t get enough of it at the moment- linguine with simple tomato & basil sauce is my favourite!

6. Seeing the birds eating from the feeder outside our dining room French doors all day long. My Mum bought Ottie and me a beautiful bird feeder for Christmas, and it’s so lovely to sit at breakfast and watch the blue tits and great tits and robins flitting back and forth, eating their seeds.

7. Eating nori sheets as a snack. I’m weirdly obsessed with it at the moment!

8. The smell of fresh coffee rising up the stairs, when it’s my turn for a weekend lie-in and Jason’s taken Ottilie downstairs to do breakfast. Bliss!

9. When Elsie curls up in my lap in the evenings. She waits all day for her chance for a cuddle, and sneaks onto my lap as soon as we’ve eaten dinner and sat down to relax in the evening. Even though she does smell like horse poo 90% of the time thanks to her penchant for eating it from the paddocks on our daily walks, it’s still pretty cute <3

10. An evening shower with the lights on low and a candle burning, and then fresh PJs just before bed. Basically a trip to the spa ;)

What’s made you happy lately?

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Posted in 10 THINGS

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10.01

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16 months felt like a lifetime away when Ottie was a little baby. A whole world of toddlerdom and next-level parenting that I, with a baby stuck to my chest 24/7 and a social life that consisted of leisurely afternoons spent chatting over cups of coffee with Mum friends in Starbucks, couldn’t even imagine belonging to.

And yet, here we are! Ottilie’s a real little person now- walking, talking, obsessed with babies and animals alike, stubborn as a mule (she gets that from Jason…and me too. Oops!), so incredibly sure of her likes and dislikes, always keen to share, and getting sweeter and more fun by the day. I thought today I’d share a little update of her, and of motherhood, at 16 months! More for myself and my own memories than anyone else really, so you’ll have to humour me…

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O N   T H E   G O .

Walking! It felt like it took Ottile aaaages so get her confidence with walking. She wasn’t ever keen to be stood up on her feet as a baby (she liked to sit, crawl, or more often than not just be carried around!!), and was a pretty reluctant walker even after she’d taken her first steps a couple of weeks after she turned one. It wasn’t until we moved to our new house midway through November that the walking really clicked, and she’s been off ever since! It’s something I’ve really noticed with Ottilie actually, that she takes a fair while to master a new physical skill. She was the exact same when it came to learning to crawl, she tried for a good couple of months before it finally happened. I think she’s naturally quite a cautious child, and doesn’t like to throw herself into something until she knows she can do it well. So it took a while, but we got there in the end! Talking however, is a whole other kettle of fish…

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H E L L O ?

I remember Ottilie turning to me at 7 months old and saying ‘Mama!’ clear as day, and thinking ‘no way, she can’t possibly be talking this young’, but when by 9 months she was saying about 10 or so clear words, it became pretty obvious that she’s a bit of a chatterbox! Now, at 16 months, she  parrots literally  e v e r y t h i n g   we say, and so we’ve learned to be very careful with our words around her!! She likes to sign ‘friends’ (which she learnt from our Sing and Sign classes…and also Mr Tumble!) and then list off all her favourite people! Her cousin Bea is always top of the list, as is her best friend Archie, and then then her Nanny and her Grandma and sometimes if we’re REALLY lucky, Mama and Dada make the list too! My favourite, favourite thing she’s learnt so far is to ‘sing’ happy birthday, and it made my year when she sang me ‘happyooooo doo Mama’ on my birthday just before Christmas! She’s started stringing two or three words together, and still uses baby signing to communicate a lot too. It’s been the best thing I ever did with her, I’d recommend Sing and Sign to any new Mum!

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Y U M !

Ottie’s generally always been a very good eater, always happy to try new foods and fairly adventurous with what she’ll eat. She’s been through a few fussy phases, but over the last couple of months seems to have become really clear on what she does and doesn’t like, and found her appetite! At the moment she’s a bottomless pit of hunger, and likes to tuck into whatever she sees me eating as well as her own meals and snacks all day long. At breakfast time she tends to eat either avocado toast or a bowl of porridge or bircher muesli (I like bircher as it means I can sneak yoghurt into her diet, one thing she outright hates on its own!), lunch might be a bowl of pasta, some tofu chunks with veggies, or soup with added grains, and at dinner Ottie loves risotto, lasagne, noodles, mild curries, or a jacket potato with beans.

She asks for apples approximately 85 times a day (often the first thing she says in the morning is ‘apple?’) and last week decided that she’d rather share my slice of dark chocolate tart instead of eat the strawberry sorbet I’d ordered her as a treat whilst out for a meal! We both eat a vegan diet so I’m quite conscious of making sure she eats a very well rounded and balanced range of foods, and she takes a multivitamin each day added to a small amount of green smoothie or some watered down orange juice to make sure that she’s getting all the nutrients she needs! I’m actually planning on sharing some ‘What my toddler eats in a day’ type posts soon, just as soon as I get myself organised enough to take photos of each meal whilst I’ve got a hungry toddler whinging around my ankles ;)

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L E T ‘ S   P L A Y

I love watching Ottilie at play, it’s one of my favourite things. She’s never been a very independent baby, and still now usually wants my input into whatever toys or games she’s playing with. Her current favourite game? Organising! Ottie’s big into moving her toys (whether it be her blocks, wooden animals, musical instruments, or the contents of her tea party set) in and out of boxes, from one neat pile to another, or from the sofa to the coffee table and back again! It makes me laugh every time!

Her other true love is her baby dolls- oh does my baby love her babies! I’d held off buying one as I was keen not to do the whole ‘little girls need a baby doll to play with’ thing, but when she made a beeline for them every time we visited her Nanny and tried to put one she was given to play with at our singing class into my change bag to take home, I figured it was about time to buy Ottie her very own baby doll! She likes to feed them with one of her old bottles, cover them with a blanket, and smother them in kisses and cuddles. It melts my heart <3

O T T I L I E   L I K E S . . .

Feeding carrots to the horses in the yard over from our house. Singing songs at playgroup, especially ‘Hop Little Bunnies’…though the hopping is more of a knee bend as we’ve not quite learnt to jump yet! Apples, bananas, avocados, blueberries…basically anything sweet or creamy. Playdates with her cousin Bea. Watching Mr Tumble, or Hey Duggee. Popcorn. When the sheep next to our house come right up to the fence and say hello. Throwing seed out for the birds. Rubbing the paws of her giraffe comforter on her face (and sniffing them too!). Being carried around by her Mama. Emptying out the contents of the kitchen cupboards, and playing with her own mini kitchen too. Being allowed to carry the feather duster around the house. Jumping in from the side of the swimming pool.

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O T T I L I E   D I S L I K E S . . .

Having her teeth brushed. Being encouraged to eat yoghurt, or carrots. Hair wash night. Being put down when she’s hungry or tired or just doesn’t want to be put down, thank you very much. Being barged by the dogs. Having her hands covered over by gloves or the sleeves of her coat. Having cold hands whilst out on dog walks.

So that’s my baby girl! The last year and a bit have been the best whirlwind, and it’s getting more fun by the day. I can’t wait to see what the year ahead will bring!

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I’m wearing: Silk spotty blouse – c/o Boden, FatFace Midwash Skinnies (my FAVOURITE jeans ever!)

Some of our current favourite toys + baby clothes:

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Posted in BABY, OTTILIE, PARENTING

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04.01

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We did it, our first proper grown up Christmas where WE were the hosts! I’m still kind of in shock that I’m an actual real life adult with a toddler, but now that I’ve hosted Christmas and cooked lunch for 11? Well that’s it. Feeling pretty swish these days ;)

In all seriousness though, we had the best time having Christmas with our family in our new house. Jason and I worked out that this was the first time in eight (or is it nine? I lose track…) years of being together that we’ve stayed in one place for the whole of Christmas Day, and it was so lovely!

And having Ottie running round was just the best, she was such great entertainment all day as she opened up parcel after parcel of beautiful gifts and said ‘wooowwweeee’ each time. In typical toddler style of course, her favourite thing to play with at the moment, despite our living room now looking like a JoJo Maman store, is the jam funnel that she goes and pinches from the kitchen cupboard every morning after breakfast. She likes to carry it round and shout into it like it’s her own mini megaphone, and it’s hilarious and deafening in equal measure!

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Silk Spotty Blouse (now on sale!)

If you can believe it, this was the one and only photo of Ottilie and I from the whole Christmas! And isn’t it a corker! ;) It was taken right at the end of our meal, when Ottie had just woken from her glorious two and a half hour nap and arrived downstairs just in time to polish off a portion of peanut butter and chocolate pie!

Speaking of food, this was my first vegan Christmas, and honestly I barely noticed a difference! My favourite part of Christmas lunch has always been all the veggies anyway (Brussels sprouts! Braised red cabbage!), and my Mum makes the most delicious veggie stuffing so was in charge of that this year.

The only thing I ‘missed’ was that normally I’d eat myself until I was almost sick on cheese late in the evening, but as I’m not a major fan of most vegan cheeses (though want to make some nut cheeses this year, Tania raves about them!) this year I just had a few crackers and the tasty vegan garlic and herb cream cheese that Sainsbury’s sell, and then went all out on the chocolate instead!

For dessert I made Minimalist Baker’s chocolate and peanut butter pie, and it was amazing! I’d absolutely make it again, though with just a touch more sweetness added to the pie filling as it was ever so slightly too savoury from the peanut butter for my taste.

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Our Boxing Day was quiet and slow to start, with plenty of coffee brewed and rounds of toast made and panettone eaten by my husband who might be panettone’s biggest fan.

My Mum and her partner Rob had stayed the night at ours, and once we all were up, dressed, and ready to go, welly boots and thick coats were donned and we all wandered up the lane to stretch our legs and burn some energy off the dogs who’d been thoroughly treated with leftovers the day before!

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You know what goes great with a Boxing Day walk? A hip flask of two year old homemade sloe gin!

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We stopped for a good twenty minutes to give these darlings some Christmas cuddles, which is basically my favourite part about every dog walk these days! There are a couple of young horses in the field just up the lane from our house and they’re the sweetest, most affectionate little things. I could honestly stay there all day!

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Oh, and last but not least a photo from my birthday! Which is three days before Christmas and so I always forget about it all together in the hustle and bustle of preparing for the festive season, but I actually remembered to take a quick, very awkward outfit photo this year!

I’ve been telling everyone I’m 27 all year, for some reason, which is unfortunate given that I actually only turned 27 two weeks ago. But hey! I’m thinking of it as gaining a year! I spent most of my day working on a really fun last minute project that came in the week before Christmas, and then got spruced up and headed out for a pizza and cocktails with Jason later in the evening. It was perfect.

~ ~ ~

I hope you all had the very best Christmas, and a wonderful start to the New Year too!

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Posted in CHRISTMAS, COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, FAMILY

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