Moving on

Blogging has fallen to the back of my mind recently with everything else that’s going on. I mentioned in a few of the posts that I did get round to publishing recently that we’re moving cities soon, but unless you know me in real life and have seen me recently, you won’t know much more detail than that. So I thought I’d share what we’re up to, and at the same time getting some thoughts down ‘on paper’ (so to speak) will help me think through things myself! With everything going on and all that I have to do, it’s hard to take time to step back and think.

For a while we had been thinking that at some point we would move out of Cambridge. As much as we love living here and the place has A LOT going for it, especially for young families, there are 2 major downsides for us: 1) it’s not very near our family, especially Tom’s side; 2) it costs an absolute fortune to buy a house here! We were very grateful to our parents who helped us get on the property ladder when we bought our small flat here a few years ago when house prices weren’t quite as crazy as they are now, but we knew that with me choosing to not work (for money) until at least Andrew is at school, there is no way we could afford to live anywhere bigger within the city. Our flat is actually OK for now, but we couldn’t imagine living here in much more than about 2 years time.

From Cambridge...
From Cambridge…

So Tom had been ‘passively’ looking for a job at a university in the Midlands – not spending too much time on it, but signing up to a few job email alert systems, to see if anything came up. After quite a while, when he saw one come up at the University of Birmingham that looked perfect for his skills and interests (time-tabling – he has that kind of mind!), he thought he might as well go for it, even though we weren’t thinking of moving right now. To his surprise, he was offered the job, and had 2 months notice to work at his current employer, which ties in neatly with starting the new job on the first Monday of the new year.

Now we have lots to sort out before Christmas, including packing and selling our flat. Thankfully we can live with my parents for a bit until we find somewhere to buy in Birmingham, and the commute won’t be too bad for Tom in the short term. This means we can wait until we have the money from our flat sale before going for anything at the other end, which makes things easier in terms of house moving chains and deadlines etc. We were told that the market in Cambridge is very fast at the moment, and sure enough within a couple of days of going on the market and after our first viewing, we had a good offer, followed by a higher one the day after, and more viewings until we said ‘no more!’ We and the people offering are going to make a decision on Monday, but if all goes to plan (I know that’s a big ‘if’ in house buying/selling!) then we should sell it soon and start the process of all the legal stuff.

So far packing hasn’t been too bad – I’ve been doing bits and bobs when Tom has taken the boys out and when they’re napping, and it’s amazing how much I can get done when I have no little ones around, I’m very productive! I’d already done some sorting over the past few months as we didn’t need everything that we had in the flat, so I feel like we’re starting at a good point and only packing stuff that really needs to go with us.

When I first heard that Tom had got the job, I didn’t know how to feel, and for a few days I was mostly upset at the thought of leaving everything that we love about living here: friends, church, groups, parks, distance from town, cycling/walking everywhere etc. But after the initial shock, I realised that of course in the long run there will be lots of opportunities just like these in Birmingham. And the main points are that we will be nearer family so (great) grandparents get to see grandkids with less of a trek, and we can more comfortably afford a family house, neither of which we can get here.

... to Birmingham
… to Birmingham

On Friday I had my first experience of saying goodbye to friends that we have really valued since being in Cambridge – in fact without them I’m not sure we would still be breastfeeding, so that means a lot to me. It was the last LLL Cambridge meet that we can make before Christmas, and it was sad to leave: I still very clearly remember walking into our first ever LLL meet in exactly the same room when Andrew was just 4 weeks old – here I was walking out with a nearly 3 year old Andrew and a 1 year old Joel. This is the first of many sad farewells that we will be making over the next few weeks.

It’s also been hard to think about handing over the voluntary roles that I do here in Cambridge. I started Nappyness library and meet-ups less than a year ago, before we knew that we’d move so soon, and if I had have known this, I don’t think I would have set it up. But I’m glad that I’ve been able to help some families in that time, even if I can’t help here in the future. I’ve just had an offer from 2 lovely mums who are happy to take Nappyness on, so I’m very pleased that this will still be available for local families to benefit from. I’ve also been in touch with a few ladies who started a library in Birmingham around the same time that I started Nappyness, but haven’t had chance to do much with it yet, and would be grateful for help when I get there. So that’s an exciting thing to look forward to as well. I’m also leaving behind my Editor position for the local NCT magazine, which has been a wonderful experience for various reasons. As nobody has yet come forward to take over from me, I think I’ll be helping out at a distance for a little while yet, with lots of help from the other existing team members.

For me this blog post is a record of what this time was like for us, and something to look back on when we’re all settled with a new life in Birmingham. We both believe that this move is what God wants us to do, and that He will guide us through it all, even though it may be stressful and upsetting at times. He’s done it in the past in our own individual lives, and as a couple, and now as a family, and we can look back at how well His plan has worked so far, which gives us confidence for the future. Jesus doesn’t promise that following His way is easy, but He does promise to be with us, and that is an amazing truth to hold onto in unsettling times like this. I felt particularly comforted when we sang these words at the women’s midweek Bible study group this week:

Faithful one, so unchanging
Ageless one, you’re my rock of peace
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you, again and again
I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is, the anchor
My hope is in You alone

The making of a superhero (or 2)

This week, as well as Joel’s first birthday, has included the 31st October. Now to lots of people that means Halloween, but we’re not into celebrating something that originated in dark things, even though these days it’s just a vastly over commercialised festival that most people take part in without any intention of deliberately celebrating evil. Instead we like to join in with the annual ‘Light Party’ that’s put on at our Church, celebrating all things light, including Jesus who we believe is the ‘Light of the World’. We still have lots of fun dressing up, eating treats and spending time with friends, we just do it in a way that doesn’t remember anything like witches, ghost and the devil.

This year’s theme was ‘superheroes’, and children who went were encouraged to dress up as a superhero if they wanted to. I knew that Andrew would want to join in, and thought it would be cute if Joel did too. I also knew that I didn’t have much time to make costumes (a couple of hours last Saturday morning), but I did a quick search on Pinterest and got a few ideas for quick and easy superhero costumes.

costumes

I decided that the superhero kit would include: a cape with letter design, a belt, wrist cuffs with lightening bolt design, and a mask. They then wore ordinary clothes with these accessories – for Joel that was a nappy, leg warmers and a plain top; for Andrew that was trousers and a top that I painted a star on last Christmas for the Nativity Play, with pants on the outside. Andrew’s colour theme was yellow (mainly influenced by the star), and Joel’s was green (mainly influenced by his green star leg warmers).

superhero Collage 3

The capes were made from an old black t-shirt of Daddy’s. I hemmed the edges quickly, and folded over the top, sewed it down and passed a length of elastic through to make a simple cape. I also appliquéd a letter in the centre for each of them: A for Andrew and J for Joel.

The belts and wrist cuffs were made from duck tape stuck onto paper, and then coloured card stuck on with double sided tape to make the ‘buckles’ and lightening bolt details. I was inspired by Martha Stewart’s blog to use duck tape for these. I then used snaps (which I use for nappy making) to secure them around the waist/wrist.

For the masks I simply cut out a mask shape, cut eye holes in, and fastened some elastic to go around the head using tape. I was amazed that Joel actually kept his on his forehead for the whole party, and Andrew wore his on his eyes for a while before it broke after some rather enthusiastic bouncing on the bouncy castle.

superhero Collage 1

superhero Collage 2

It was really hard to get good photos of them in the costumes at the party, most of mine are really blurry because they wouldn’t stay still! But I think you get the idea from the photo I took of the costumes before the superheroes got into them 😉 We had a lot of fun at the party; the boys (and I, and Grandma and Pop who came too) were all exhausted afterwards because they were constantly on the go exploring all the different games and activities that there were on offer, just like little superheroes who can never really rest with all the important work they have to do!

superhero Collage 4

Sew, sew, sew your nappies

Just recently I’ve been finding a real enthusiasm for sewing. I used to do quite a bit as a teenager, both in school as part of textiles GCSE and out of school, making a few clothes and bags for myself. It’s my love of cloth nappies that’s really got me into it again. When I figured out that I could make my own washable wipes and good quality wet bags cheaper than I could buy from retailers or work at home mums (WAHMs) (that reminds me, I still have one large wet bag spare if anyone would like to buy it 😉 ), I was happy with my end products and enjoyed making them so much that I then decided to make some more nappy-related items – in fact nappies themselves.

wet bags

I started with some fleece soakers, i.e. waterproof nappy covers, instead of a PUL (laminated fabric) wrap with velcro/poppers. We’d started using them when I bought some reduced in Real Nappy Week back in April, and they work really well over night for the boys, but we needed some more as Andrew had already outgrown the XL ones that I’d bought (so they got passed on toe Joel). For the first one I made, I used an old fleece dressing gown that neither of them had worn much because our flat has a pretty consistent temperature all year round with efficient heating. For the next ones I made, I used some fleece jumpers that my parents were going to take to a charity shop when they sorted out their wardrobe. I’ve also bought some new fleece which was reduced online, and will be using that soon (see the zebra print nappy below, plus another frog print fleece).

soakers

My next creation was what I call a ‘nap’ nappy for Andrew – he uses the potty/toilet when awake, and often doesn’t wee at all during naps, but he still has the odd day with a wet patch so I’m keeping nappies on him for a bit longer when napping. It is an all-in-two design, similar to our itti bitti nappies that are a little tight on him and they don’t make an XL. I came up with my own pattern for this nappy, based on one I found on the internet and adapted to give it a higher rise and a slimmer crotch. The fabrics are again up cycled old clothes – a couple of colours of fleece jumper and a cotton jersey babrygro. The shell of the nappy of course needs to be waterproof, so I bought some new plain white PUL (the waterproof but breathable fabric used in nappies and wraps) for this.

AI2

Then I decided to concentrate on night nappies for Andrew, because we have to boost some of his so much that he really looks like a weeble and the fleece covers are hard to get on. I don’t mind night nappies being a bit bulky, as they’re in bed and it doesn’t bother them, but some of Andrew’s are a little ridiculous. I think being dry in the day means he still wets quite a lot at night, but hopefully not for too much longer. I wanted to try some ‘Zorb’ fabric, which is a blend of various fibres, natural and man-made, and is supposed to be very absorbent relative to its thickness. I found a small piece going cheap on a pre-loved site, so bought that as a trial. My first creation with it is a Zorb-lined pocket with PUL and fleece outer, for maximum waterproofing! I didn’t really know how it would turn out, but in the end i’m very pleased with it. We stuff the pocket with a couple of hemp boosters, and this easily lasts him the night and is much slimmer than his biggest bamboo night nappies. The Zorb catches the wetness first and spreads it away from the wet zone quickly (because that’s what Zorb does), and then the very thirsty hemp picks up all the wetness that goes through the Zorb, and the PUL and fleece outer of the pocket stops that wetness escaping. So far we’ve had no leaks, and the extra high rise and extra layer of Zorb that I sewed into the front of the nappy is great for a boy tummy sleeper.

zorb pocket

The next nappy I wanted to have a go at was a ‘hybrid fitted’. The idea of these (such as the ‘A Mama Knows’ brand which we have one of) is that it has a hidden layer of fleece in the core, which repels water back into the absorbent bit of the nappy, meaning that for light wetters in the day you don’t need a separate waterproof wrap and for heavy wetters and at night you still need a cover but you have an extra layer of water resistance to help stop leaks. Whoever knew that nappies could be so scientific?! The researcher in me loves reading about all this kind of stuff! So I made one of these using my pattern from the other nappies that I made, which has seen a few minor alterations with each new nappy, to try and optimise the design. The inner absorbent bit is cotton terry, with 2 layers of Zorb and one layer of fleece inside, then a burgundy corduroy outer with an appliqué monkey on – the cord was from an old pair of trousers and the monkey from a badly stained t-shirt. This works well too. Andrew has worn it over night and again it’s less bulky than some of his other night nappies, and I could probably use this for his nap without a cover though I haven’t had chance to try this yet.

hybrid fitted

My next nappy project is going to be a wrap, made with some lovely bicycle-print PUL that I got in the sale at one of the online fabric retailers. I haven’t used ‘fold over elastic’ before, which is the stuff that I need to sew around the outside as a binding to the raw fabric edges, so we’ll see how that goes. I need to have a day when I have plenty of time to experiment, so probably a weekend.

And finally, I’ve even been inspired to branch out into clothing for the boys. Andrew has recently grown out of his 2-3 years trousers, and his 3-4 years ones are a little big around the waist but he needs the length. As I have quite a few pairs of old trousers of mine that are worn through in some part or are just too small since having kids, I thought it would be great to use a pair to make him some trousers. I chose some jeans, plus an old red fleece to make the waistband, as well as a fire engine embroidery to appliqué on, which was on a baby vest that was stained elsewhere. This was very simple to do, and Andrew is very impressed with his new trousers! I made the length with plenty of growing room, but the waist and hips fit him well so they shouldn’t fall down!

jeans

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at and reading about my projects. So far the feedback I’ve had on them has been very positive, which is lovely to hear. A bit like writing the blog, I sew because I enjoy it, but it’s also nice to know that other people are benefitting from the end result – blog post / wet bag / nappy / trousers.

Nappyness reviews… Little Lamb bamboo

FIT-04_2
Sizes 1 and 2 in the library, size 3 coming soon (about a week from 22/7/13)
LL plus soaker
Fleece soaker is pulled down deliberately to show the nappy underneath – this is a size 3 on my toddler

Description of nappy:

This is a fitted nappy made from bamboo terry. It comes with a bamboo booster (sewn in for sizes 2 and 3, separate for size 1) and a fluffy fleece liner. It requires a separate waterproof wrap – Little Lamb make these too, or you could use another make, or a wool or fleece soaker at night.

Day or night use:

Day as it is, or night with extra boosters (I use 2-3 extra boosters on my toddler)

Description of my testers:

Baby – tall and slim with slim thighs

Toddler – tall and generally slim with muscly thighs

Cost and value for money:

Around £9 for a single nappy. But also available as large kits (10 or 20) which work out at less per nappy, and often on offer in multiples (e.g. 5 for £25) at various retailer websites. I think that these are good value for money at their normal price, and excellent value for money if you get a good offer. They are long lasting and you can often get some money back by selling them pre-loved in good condition.

Absorbency:

Excellent! Bamboo is thirsty and there are several layers of it in the nappy and booster. These make good nappies for heavy wetters in the daytime, and good night nappies for average wetters or heavy wetters if boosted with extra bamboo or hemp boosters.

Containment:

Excellent! As they are a fitted nappy which requires a wrap or soaker cover, there are two barriers for containing poo, so it is unlikely that it will escape. The elastic around the leg holes is very stretchy, which means that it fits both slim thighs and chubbier thighs, and I have also easily mended one of these nappies in which the elastic had deteriorated with lots of use but the main fabric of the nappy was fine. We haven’t had a leak with either child wearing these nappies.

Fit:

Bulky and fairly low rise. These are not trim as far as nappies go, but considering their absorbency, I think their bulk is not bad for a fitted nappy. When boosted for overnight use they are pretty huge, but I don’t mind big nappies at night if they hold my toddlers’ heavy wetting. They are also quite short with a low rise, so I have found that a size 3 is essential on my tall toddler, even though many children would probably get away with just sizes 1 and 2 before potty training (unless you’re using them at night as it may take longer for them to be dry at night).

Drying speed:

Slow. On a nice sunny and breezy day these are dry in a day outside, but inside on an airer they can take unto 2 days to dry. They are usually the last to dry out of all the nappies in our personal stash. It is possible to tumble dry them, but this can negate the environmental benefit of using cloth nappies over disposables and shortens the life of the nappy if done regularly.

Change Speed:

Average. As it’s a fitted nappy that needs a separate wrap, change time is always going to be longer than a one-part nappy, but for a fitted, I think these are pretty fast because they have aplix fastening.

Ease of Use:

Average. As it’s a two-parter so needs a wrap, you may need to explain that to anyone else doing the nappy change and it’s not necessarily as easy as a one-parter, but for a two-parter I think these are easy to use.

Fastening:

Aplix (Velcro/ hook and loop) only – more finely adjustable but less durable than poppers

Design:

As it goes under a wrap, it’s not surprising that there is no colour or print on the nappy itself. I love how soft the fabric is next to the skin – the bamboo is silky smooth (though I noticed the difference between ours washed in Cambridge hard water and a few that were donated to the library by a friend living in a soft water area), and the fluffy fleece liner that comes with it is gorgeously soft compared to other fleece liners we have.

Overall:

I would recommend this as a durable, good value for money nappy that is perfect for heavy wetters in the daytime and any wetters at night (boosted for heavy wetters). It is also good for containment on newborns with a good wrap. It is an essential in my stash, along with other quicker drying nappies.

Disclaimer: I have received no incentive for writing this, and all views expressed are entirely my own and honest, based on our experience of using the nappies.

Nappy-related sewing projects: wet/dry bag and fleece soakers

Just recently I’ve rediscovered just how much I love sewing. I did quite a lot as a teenager, but since having kids I haven’t had the sewing machine out much. There were a couple of nappy-related items that I thought would be very practical to have, and these became fun sewing projects to get my teeth into it again.

I realised when Andrew started wanting to wear pants when out and about that I really needed to invest in a good wet bag because we have quite a few accidents still, and I have two children with wet nappies/pants/trousers to take home when we go out. I also wanted one with a ‘dry’ area, as I always had loose spare clothes in my change bag and thought it would be easier to keep them in a bag together. But when I looked online, all the wet/dry bags that looked good quality were a bit too expensive, so I decided to buy some fabric myself and make two wet/dry bags.

Wetbags Collage

The outside is cotton, in Bob the Builder and Animal Alphabet prints, and the lining is a thick and durable sandwich PUL (the laminate layer is sandwiched between two polyester layers – makes it very easy to sew with and is extra thick for wetness protection) in bright orange (Bob) or blue (animals). The front pocket is for dry clothes/nappies, and there is a poppered handle that can attach to a buggy (for example) which is triple stitched for durability. I bought enough fabric for four bags, and I have swapped one with a friend for a night nappy that I wanted to try and a daytime wrap for the Nappyness library, and I sold one on a cloth nappy forum. As far as I know, both recipients like them.

During Real Nappy Week, I bought a couple of fleece soakers for Andrew because I’d read that they were good at night and I was also buying some bigger night nappies for him at the same time as he’d grown out of some of his others. The soakers worked brilliantly, and having seen one in real life as opposed to a picture on a website, I realised that my sewing skills were up to making them. So I set about making some more, using fleece from old clothes and blankets, so they are completely upcycled. In fact for one of them, I accidentally cut the fabric to include the ‘The North Face’ logo on the jumper I was cutting up, but then I decided that it actually looked rather cool with the logo, to show that it was an upcycled item of clothing. The next one I made, I deliberately cut the leg cuff fabric to include the ‘Regatta’ logo.

Soakers Collage

Andrew is now getting a bit big for the XL ones I bought, so I’ve made a few more XXL and Joel is just about fitting into the XL (he has a well boosted night nappy and needs it for the rise height, though it’s looser around the thighs and waist on him than on Andrew). I’m also making one of each size for the Nappyness library, and the medium and large are already available for loan – I originally made the medium thinking it would be for Joel but forgot that it needed to fit over a night nappy rather than day nappy (baby brain moment!) The patterns that I’m using are those I found on Katrina’s Sew Quick Soaker Pattern blog. I’ve also sewn some more washable wipes (as I explained in this previous post) from upcycled nappies and clothes, and these are also available to borrow from the library.

Wipes n bags Collage

As I’ve been sewing, I’ve been dreaming about having a better place to do this other than our kitchen table in quite a small flat. I have a little picture in my head of a cafe with a toy corner (like Livng Stones, the one we go to for meet-ups) which is also a shop that sells cloth nappies (new and preloved) and accessories, and there is also space for me to sew wet bags, soakers, wipes etc. All the mums I meet up with in Living Stones agree that  there should be more cafes like that in Cambridge, and I think the city is the kind of place that parents would welcome a shop where you can actually buy cloth nappies having seen them for real, not just online. Of course they could try them from the library first too.

But then I usually hear a noise from one of my boys, or both, and I come quickly back to reality 😉

 

Creative Challenge

When Buster Bear came to a Nappyness meet-up

On Wednesday we had another Nappyness meet-up, this time in town at Livingstones Cafe with the lovely toy corner which keeps toddlers amused for hours! It was a busy morning in the cafe with another big group of mums with babies, probably an NCT group as is often the case there. Our group was smaller, but just the right number to have a good chat about nappies and discuss a few things.

One question that came up as we get into holiday season was whether we use disposables or cloth nappies when on holiday. My answer was disposables, because we rarely go away, maybe for about 3 weeks a year in total with a week in the summer, a week at Christmas and weekends here and there added up, so I’ve not felt too bad about using disposables for that length of time given that we use cloth day and night the rest of the year. We always go somewhere with a washing machine, usually our parents’ houses (handy that we have one in Devon and one in the Lake District), but even so I like to have a break from doing washing for a short time. Other mums there have experience of using hybrid nappies when on holiday. These are nappies for which you can buy both cloth and disposable inserts, such as Bumgenius Flip or Charlie Banana pockets. So on holiday you can use the disposable inserts, which are similar to the ‘eco’ disposable nappies which biodegrade quicker than normal disposable nappies, and at home you can use the cloth inserts. This is a good tip if you’re thinking of using cloth nappies when away.

Another tip that came up was what to do with old nappies that have gone very coarse, if you don’t have a tumble dryer to fluff them up – instead you can use a hair dryer to gently blow warm air around the nappy when wet (placing it on a wire cooling rack that you use for baking will help to circulate air around the nappy). I’d not heard this tip myself before, although I do use a hair dryer (as I don’t have a tumble dryer) to seal the seams of the PUL in the wet bags that I make, and it’s the same principle of blowing warm air.

IMG_1757

Whilst all of this chat was happening, our special guest Buster Bear was happily sitting on our table in his Bambooty cloth nappy. Buster is travelling the length and breadth of the country, going to events such as nappy meet-ups, baby/toddler groups, even a Girl Guide group recently, raising awareness of the Children’s Heart Federation’s “Pulse Oximetry” and “Think Heart” campaign, raising money for HeartLine and spreading fluffy cloth nappy love. He brought his petition with him, which, with 10,000 signatures, he’s hoping will persuade the Government to roll out Pulse Oximetry screening for all newborn babies in the UK. The test is simple, quick, painless and cheap, taking just a few minutes alongside other existing newborn checks. Research shows that the test will significantly improve the detection of congenital heart conditions in babies, which are the most common birth defect, picking up three quarters of heart conditions, preventing further physical damage to children and helping save lives.

Buster has certainly raised my awareness of this as I had no idea about it! I hope that he raised awareness amongst the other mums in our group too, and with his big red balloons in the cafe, it is quite possible that the other group of mums there couldn’t help but notice him and his cloth nappy. His lovely suitcase that he’s travelling around in also caught a few people’s attention.

IMG_1758

So there we go, another meet-up to spread Nappyness is Cambridge. The next one will be in 2 weeks time, and I’m currently deciding which day is best. Please let me know if you have a particular preference for time, day and place and I’ll try to go with the majority. Next week I’ll be at the NCT Cambridge Bumps and Babies group with the library, Friday 19th July, 10.30-12.30, Unitarian Church Hall, Emmanuel Road, Cambridge. Hope to see you soon!

 

The excitement of a level crossing – wot so funee?

Following on from last week’s funee post which featured the ‘nappy nippa‘, Andrew decided this week that it is actually a ‘nappy nipple’! Fortunately he hasn’t shouted that out anywhere other than home. Clearly there’s a lot of talk about cloth nappies and breastfeeding around here. So much so that he’s getting them mixed up. Oops!

Another random thing he’s come out with was his version of the name for one of those fruits that’s like a peach but with smooth skin. He hasn’t eaten many of these since he’s been talking, and this week we had some in the fruit and veg box. One day I offered him one and he ate some, and the next day, when asked which fruit he would like for pudding, he said ‘errr……Pectarine’! Incidentally, I’ve noticed recently that he’s starting to say ‘errr’ when he can’t think what to say straight away; it’s interesting that he’s learnt this filler to hold his place in the conversation rather than just staying silent until he works out what he wants to say.

Another thing in his speech that I’ve noticed this week is how he’s describing very big or very loud things that he sees and hears. Anything and everything that is remotely bigger than average in size is now either ‘massive’ (said with highly emphatic intonation and voice quality), or, less often, ‘really really big’. Sounds that are louder than average are ‘a big loud noise’  to him. And yes he’s STILL going on about the flipping fire alarm that made a big loud noise at the children’s centre about 2 months ago now – read about this exciting story here.

The highlight of Andrew’s speech this week has to be his love of those places in a road where trains or people can cross it. He has a real obsession with “level crossings” (said with great accuracy) at the moment. Whenever we go over one he gets very excited, and he even asked Daddy at the weekend if they could just go and see one for fun during their Saturday morning together. One slight issue is that he can get confused between a level crossing and a pedestrian crossing. I’ve tried to explain when he shouts “level crossing” at full pelt whenever we go past a pedestrian crossing, but to be fair “pedestrian” is harder to say than “level”. His attempts to copy my “pedestrian crossing” usually come out something like “vestry/destry crossing”.

Train mad
Train mad Andrew at a local fair a few weeks ago

So when we were on our way to a friend’s house in the car on Thursday morning, I was actually pleased when the lights started to flash and the barriers come down just as we approached a level crossing in a village just south of Cambridge. I knew that we could be there for quite a while as this was the London mainline, but at least Andrew wouldn’t be bored for a few minutes in the car. As we waited, I asked Andrew if he was excited that a train was on its way, to which he replied “Yes, might be Thomas”. I tried hard not to giggle, and said “it probably won’t be Thomas, but it might be a blue train”, knowing that First Capital Connect are blue and pink. He was quiet for a 10 seconds or so, and then came out with another hopeful statement: “might be Percy.” At that point we could hear the train in the distance, so he got excited and wasn’t too disappointed when it whooshed past and wasn’t Thomas or Percy – it was a train after all, and that’s all that matters in his world.

Wot So Funee?

Sewing projects – Photo of the week

sewing projects CollageI guess this is technically two photos of the week, but I couldn’t choose one over the other. This week I finished off two projects that I’ve been slowly gathering the stuff, time and energy for! I love sewing, but hardly get round to it these days. Ever since I’ve been into cloth nappies in a big way, and set up a cloth nappy library in Cambridge, I’ve been itching to make some nappy-related bits myself – some wet-bags and fleece soakers (used as nappy covers mainly at night).

The wet-bag here is a large one, with an extra pocket on the front for dry nappies/clothes and a carry handle to attach to the buggy. The fleece soaker is upcycled from an old kids dressing gown and a fleece blanket/throw. I am so pleased that these turned out well – they just had to be my photo of the week!

I have some more fabric for wet-bags (both Bob the Builder and ‘animal alphabet’), so I will be making some more when I find the time. I’m not sure what to do with them yet, but if anyone is interested, I may sell them. I’m not sure I’m cut out to be a WAHM, but a few bits might not be beyond me.

Team Lloyd

 

Nappyness meet-up number 2

For this meet-up I decided that a day, time and venue different from the first meet-up would be good, so that hopefully it would suit some people who couldn’t make the last one. Monday 10th June 11am-1pm at Living Stones Cafe in central Cambridge was what I went for. There is a play area for older babies and toddlers which Andrew loves, so we often go there when in town and in need of a refreshment stop.

I knew a few people had said they were planning on coming, though unfortunately one family couldn’t make it on the day as the toddler was poorly, so I was looking forward to seeing them and any others who might turn up. When we arrived, Andrew soon settled himself in to the play area, and I ordered some drinks. We were soon joined by two mums, one with a toddler and one with a baby, and it was especially nice to meet one of them for the first time – she’d seen Nappyness ‘like’ something on another Facebook page, so clicked on our page and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was based in Cambridge where she lives! Social networking at its best 🙂 A little later, another mum turned up with her baby, so there were four of us in total.

We got talking about our various different nappies. One type of nappy that I don’t personally have any experience of using (yet) is the hybrid system, a compromise between the convenience of an all-in-one and the faster drying time of a two-part system, and some of which include a disposable insert option that many parents use on holiday or when cloth nappies are less practical for whatever reason. One mum had brought her Close Parent Pop-ins along, and another had brought her Bumgenius Flips as well as some Mothercare smart nappies, all of which are this kind of nappy (gNappies are also another popular make). They comprise a waterproof outer and a pre-fold-like absorbent insert (in various fabrics or disposable) which fits into the wrap which is designed specifically to hold it in place. The other three mums are finding that this type of system was working well for them, as well as other types of nappy.

One of the mums is also quite a fan of pockets, which I have more experience of than hybrids, though I don’t tend to use them as much as our two-parters and all-in-twos. Three of us are also keen on Little Lamb fitteds, which I use at night time for Andrew as they come in a size three which fits him well unlike many birth-to-potty nappies that he’s outgrown at less than 2 and a half, and we all find that the fitted style is good for times of heavier wetting when pockets, hybrids and all-in-ones just don’t last long enough.

Posters and flyers ready to be taken out and about
Posters and flyers ready to be taken out and about

We discussed a few other things such as vest extenders and whether we use flushable or fleece liners. We also talked about how the idea of Nappyness was a good one and that there must be more people who would like to come to the meet-ups, including those who are just thinking about cloth nappies or just starting out with them. The other mums were happy to take some posters and flyers to put up at places they go like groups, libraries and children’s centres. So we’re hoping to spread the word through these. I also have a list of places I go to, and other places to make a special visit to, where I can leave a poster and some flyers. I have also been in touch with the ladies who organise our local NCT bumps and babies group, and they are happy for me to go once a month with the nappies to show anyone there who would like a look.

In other news… The library is coming along nicely. I am in the process of applying for a bank account for it, which is one step on the way to applying for some funding from Cambridge City Council. I’ve recently received some nappy donations, and I am expecting some more in the next week or so. The photos and descriptions of the nappies in the library so far are almost ready to go on the Facebook page and website, so that people can see in advance of meet-ups what they might like to borrow. It’s all very exciting! It’s definitely worth watching this space 🙂

Nappyness meet-ups are launched!

On Thursday 30th May, a rather drizzly and damp morning for the time of year, my boys and I headed off in the car to Milton Country Park with a rather large bag of cloth nappies and leaflets in the boot. I was looking forward to meeting up with others who use or want to use cloth nappies, hoping that I could offer some tips, share some experience and also learn something myself. There was a little part of me that was slightly worried that nobody would turn up, but if not I knew we’d have fun there anyway, even if not with nappies!

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My bag of nappies ready to go this morning

We got there for 10am and I put the Nappyness sign out so people could spot us, though it wasn’t very busy. It wasn’t long before 2 mums and their babies and toddler turned up. Hooray, we weren’t alone! They were more new to using cloth nappies than we were, and we talked about what they had used so far and what they liked about them. Both had borrowed nappies from the Ely Cloth Nappy Library, which is further than Cambridge is for one of them, and we all agreed that we thought it was odd that Cambridge didn’t have anything like Nappyness or a cloth nappy library, given how many young families like us there are here. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in thinking this.

I showed them some of my nappies, though my bag was a bit of a jumble and I couldn’t find everything I wanted very easily – note to self to organise it better into smaller bags of different types. And there wasn’t loads of space on our table for putting them all out, which is something I need to bear in mind for next time. It would have helped if the weather had been nicer and we could have sat outside on the grass and the toddlers could have run around more, but never mind, we live in the UK and there’s nothing I can do about the weather! My next move is to get in touch with the local Children’s Centres to see if they could offer us a room.

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Andrew had already finished his treat before the others arrived! He quite rightly pointed to the Nappyness logo on the table and said ‘that’s a nappy!”

But I think the mums got an idea of the different types that I had and how they were similar to or different from the ones that they had tried from the library. A bit later another mum turned up with her three boys (it was half term so two of them didn’t have school) and brought some of her nappies to show around. This was helpful because she had some that were different from mine as well as some similar ones. But it wasn’t long before the toddlers and older kids were getting fed up of being inside and bored of the toys I’d taken, so we had to disband a little before 12 noon and head out into the wet park. There was a fundraising event for the Stroke Association going on, and one of their activities was a bouncy castle, so I let Andrew have a go to jump off some of his energy.

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Andrew’s chance to let off some steam after being couped up in a cafe – a wet bouncy castle!

All in all it was a great start to the meet-ups. I’m glad it wasn’t just us and that people seemed to enjoy it. I’m still working on building up the library to have at future meet-ups, and have very kindly been donated some more nappies recently so we are making good progress. I’ll keep you updated.

I’ve set the date for the next meet-up on Monday 10th June, 10.30am-12.30pm at Living Stones Cafe, St Andrew’s St, Cambridge. I thought I’d try a different day, location and time to see if that suits others better. I’m experimenting with these to see what works best for everyone.

Hope to see you soon!