Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Review: Miosolo by Bambino Mio

I am a lover of hand made, home grown and locally sourced. I love making, I love farm shops, I don't think you can beat a handmade card and I love supporting local business wherever I possibly can. So you can imagine my joy a couple of weeks ago when I discovered, not long into our cloth journey, that reusable nappy makers Bambino Mio were based right here in Northamptonshire, just down the road in Brixworth.

The joy and excitement multiplied several times when earlier this week a purple package arrived, and I am thrilled to be writing my first *official* product review of the Miosolo all in one reusable nappy along with MioLiners.

The first thing that struck me upon opening up my package was the amount of literature and information Bambino Mio supply. Information about products, information about where you can get help and support (from endless sources, it seems!) and also information about the nappy and how to care for it. There's simply no excuse for getting it wrong! That was a big tick for me, as I know how daunting the arrival of your first cloth purchase can be. 

First impressions of the Miosolo were good. The new Summer pattern is really cute, but remains gender neutral. That's really important to us - having put E into cloth quite late our stash of nappies will be used far more by any future children so we've been avoiding anything too girlie but this pattern definitely has cute written all over it. The stay-dry inner liner is possibly the softest thing I've ever felt; even my husband was lured into it's silkiness and gave it an approving nod. The poppers and velcro combination made it obvious that this nappy could really be tailored to any size baby, and even with the poppers undone we still have a lot of room to grow into. The clever pull-out tab absorbent core means that the nappy dries quickly (overnight in a muggy bathroom with no breeze!) but because it stays attached it's one less thing to drop as you remove the contents from the washing machine. I am excellent at loosing boosters somewhere between the machine and the line. Not this time! The pad is HUGE and there's enough space to add a booster in there as well for night time or heavy wetters. Bambino Mio make boosters - the Mioboost - that work with the Miosolo, available for £6.79 for three, but I don't see why you couldn't use a generic booster.

So, all was looking good and I was eager for E to wake up from her nap so we could put it to the test!

All our day time nappies are secured by poppers, which is fine until you have to contend with a wriggly toddler who is more intent on getting whatever she's just spotted out of the corner of her eye than having a new nappy put on. The velcro tabs made it just like putting on a disposable - really quick and easy. The velcro is soft but heavy duty enough  to be E-proof apparently... For now! The fit is great, the elastic around the legs is tight enough to avoid leakage but has enough give to stay flexible and not leave marks and the velcro fastening around the waist meant that there's no 'best fit' here, no gaps, no sagging. E was obviously very comfortable as she paraded about in her new nappy for ages before bottom bouncing down the stairs in it. A very happy test driver! The nappy didn't seem particularly bulky either. In fact, once she was dressed I don't think I could have told you whether she was wearing cloth or not.The nappy lasted a little over two hours before E needed a change. She is naturally an incredibly heavy wetter and in this current heat she is downing cups of water like it's going out of fashion, so in future I would definitely add a booster or two to the nappy to increase absorbency. I guess that's my only slight criticism, and perhaps I'd like the nappy to have come with an additional booster that gave me that flexibility... But it's a minor point and something that's very quickly remedied, and I'm really keen to dry the Mioboosts as I have read some excellent reviews about their absorbency. E was dry when I took the nappy off, the lining of the Miosolo had definitely drawn the moisture away from her skin. Although this time round the Mioliner didn't have to catch any mess, it was soft to the touch and stayed well in position despite a busy couple of hours. They're 100% compostable when wet and flushable when soiled, which to me is a great compromise if there's going to be a 'disposable' element to your reusable nappy. 

I did a little online research and the Miosolo is comparable in price to other all-in-ones/pocket nappies available. Priced at £15.99 (for patterns, £14.99 for plain colours) it's certainly not the most expensive on the market. Mioliners are £4.95 for 160, although there are deals to be had if you buy in bulk. Again, comparable to other brands and good value for money, in my opinion. Looking around I also realised that this is a brand of nappy that you can buy on the high street as well as online; pick them up on your Ocado or Tesco online shop or pop into Mothercare or Kiddicare. Go and have a look before you buy if you just don't believe that the liner of a reusable nappy could be so wonderfully soft... 

Overall, I just love the Miosolo. It looks good, it feels good, it fits well and it does the job! My only niggle is easily fixable. And best of all for me, it's a local business I can and want to support. I will be investing in some of these for our cloth journey. Top marks and a gold star from the teacher in me and thumbs up from this cloth convert family. Thanks Bambino Mio! 

You can visit Bambino Mio here, or visit them on Facebook or Twitter

Bambino Mio kindly supplied the above products for free for the purpose of review, however all opinions are my own and completely uninfluenced by Bambino Mio or any other party.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Expectant World

As I drove to work yesterday morning, the news broke that Kate Middleton was in the early stages of labour. I was relieved for her; heavily pregnant and probably overdue in this heat must be absolutely no fun at all. But I also felt awful for her. Did she really want the entire world knowing she was in labour? Everyone discussing her over their breakfast or morning coffee?

I thought back to when I had E. They made the decision to induce me when I was in hospital for the second time in 10 days on my due date with irratic high blood pressure, severe odema and a constant upset stomach. The plan was two sweeps to try and get things going and induction was booked for 40+4 if that hadn't worked. Family and my closest girlfriends knew what was going on. But the rest of our world, our Facebook communities, our colleagues remained blissfully unaware. I was even updating my Facebook status with mundane comments about having to buy birthday presents for the three hundred birthdays that were coming up in April because I just didn't want people to think of me in some slightly undignified position, screaming, pooing, whatever. And people seemed genuinely surprised when we made the announcement around three hours after she was born and they genuinely thought I was still beached like a whale on my sofa. Ah, fickle friends!

I do not envy the pressure the world has put on Kate and William, and their little baby. But my heart was warmed by how humble the family were as they stepped out of the hospital this evening. How normal they were. Overjoyed like every set of new parents, still with wobbly bellies (OK, much better hair and makeup) and excited for the new dad to be driving them home. I'm no Royalist, but I think Family Cambridge have done a huge amount to improve the public image of the Royal Family. Normal, everyday folk who are incredibly likeable.

Now I hope they announce his name and the media back off and leave them to settle into family life. We all remember how we hated the visitors in the early days, and I cannot imagine for one second she wants the entire world sitting in her back garden, waiting.

Congratulations, Kate and Will.

Couldn't resist cracking out a few of our first memories of parenthood.

Daddy and new E

Sunday, 21 July 2013

I'll shut up about this soon...

I. Am. Amazed.

Not only did our Little Lamb bamboo nappy look super cute (wish they didn't need a wrap though!) and angelic, with one extra booster it lasted ALL. NIGHT. 7pm - 6:20am. Amazing. With the wrap over the top it felt and looked secure and I much prefer the security of completely adjustable Velcro fastenings rather than poppers at night. They didn't lie when they said it was bomb proof.

I had to check the sheets I was in that much disbelief. There's only one brand of disposables that sees her through leak through and despite drinking HUGE quantities in the heat yesterday there were no leaks. AT. ALL.

Two successful nights. An extra two nappies saved from the bin and 28p in my pocket for the privilege. 

Did I mention I was a complete convert to cloth? Love. Love. Love.

These bad boys came in a trial pack of two with a wrap and some flushable liners, but that promotion seems to have ended now. Lots of other similar offers to be had! Go go! 

Silent Sunday

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Nappy Diaries

What glorious weather we're enjoying! This must be to make up for last year's wet wash out? I'm not going to lie, being at work at this heat is far from enjoyable, but the excuse to get out early and go swimming with E or get out in the garden is wonderful! With the good weather come pros and cons; the tomato plant has gone mad, the cloth nappies dry so very quickly... But my hay fever is getting me down and nothing seems to be touching it. Miserable Mama H. The good news is that E has spent a lot of time in her Charlie Banana swim nappy and it's safe to say that it definitely keeps the poo in! Hurrah! 

Aaaanyway, bunged up noses aside, we are settling well into cloth and it's safe to say I am 100% converted. Who'd have thought it!? This weather has definitely made the move easier, but I do wonder how I'll feel when nothing is drying quickly in the winter, but we'll go with it... The Little Lambs have had 4 or 5 washes now (even if we haven't used them all, like last week when we went away on Saturday morning we've shoved them all in to get them stripped as quick as possible) and there is a noticeable difference in their absorbency, which is great. E is drinking a lot in this heat and cloth is doing just as well as a disposable. I have ordered some boosters though, for car journeys and such and await their arrival. 

We seem to have gotten into the swing of them easily. My husband, who was skeptical about cloth to say the least had E up and wearing one before I'd even made it downstairs this morning, with no reminder. He even admitted that his image of cloth nappies was probably somewhat outdated and he hadn't realised how simple it could be! The first lot of disposable liners I bought were useless but today I tried some different ones which seem to stay in place FAR better. And are flushable. Double win.

Little Lamb had a UK sale on recently, so I ordered two bamboo nappies and a wrap in a trial pack to try at night. They've arrived today and are drying speedily on the line in anticipation of bedtime. There's only one brand of disposable nappies that's managed to see E through the night successfully so I am looking forward to seeing if they are as bombproof as they claim! I'll let you know how we get on! 

I've also been using washable wipes - it made sense if we had nappies going through - and I'm happy to report that although I don't seem to be able to clean up a poo with just one wipe, they're really no hassle at all! 

So all is well and E seems happy enough toddling about with a slightly bulkier bum. And she has the perfect weather to show off how cute her fluffy bum is because today is a strictly no clothes day!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Pick Your Battles

All things considered, I think E is pretty ace and pretty well behaved. But it's undeniable that as she gets older she is starting to assert herself a bit more, explore, and test boundaries. She usually only tantrums when she's hungry or tired, but there are a few things that she does that I don't seem to be able to 'nip in the bud' and I find myself saying "no" far more than I'd like to be saying it. I also remind myself that I need to pick my battles, but how do I know what battles to pick? I ignore that she won't let me brush her teeth and accept that sucking the toothpaste off and maybe brushing one tooth is ok for now. She's learning what that brush is for and I don't want tooth brushing to become a negative thing she associates with a battle.


But what about throwing food on the floor as an indication of being finished? Do I ignore it, I'm sure she'll grow out of it. Or do I tell her no? Or do I just catch her when its about to happen and remove everything from site, avoiding the situation all together?

She has stopped batting the TV and shaking the electric fire with repetitive counting to three and warnings. Do I take the same approach and deal with the mess along the way?

My mood and energy levels play a huge part in the decision I make in such a circumstance. I'm probably not consistent enough. Really it's not going to take her that long to realise that we adult folk do no not throw food at meal times. But she might assume that there's always a hungry dog to clean up after her...

I know her understanding is excellent, it's just selective at the moment, I feel. If she gets "can you go and find the book just like this one (noisy book with button) but about elephants instead of monkeys?" then surely "please stop dropping food on the floor" must make sense too? Or am I missing something?

Regrettably, I am constantly fretting about being judged. Although I am 26 years old I still feel quite in the depths of 'young mum' and when my toddler is smearing herself in something and throwing her breadstick on the floor of a pub and waving at each piece as she does it, I can't help but feel eyes on me and that everyone is thinking "look at that YOUNG MUM not disciplining her child!" What they don't see is how great she is at bedtime, nap time, how she eats virtually ANYTHING she's preserved, how she helps tidy up before bed. They probably are not thinking this. They probably think its endearing and are remarking on her big blue eyes (like daddy? No?! Oh...) but actually I'm not 100% cool with the stuff on the floor, however well mannered its departure may have been.

I realise that this is another post where I don't feel I can draw myself to any conclusion or have come up with any answers. I guess if its dangerours, if something could be broken or someone hurt, then thats a battle worth picking. Food on the floor may only benefit the dogs, but its not hurting anyone... So, much like the toddler and the knife scenario, I'll put it to you, dear reader, to suggest which battles I pick and which I leave alone.

Or maybe I just ignore her completely and hope that at some point she becomes self-aware enough to realise that wearing a yogurt pot and some of its contents on your head is simply not a good look. Ever.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Fluffy bottoms

I made the decision to make my daughter a part-time cloth bum this week. There are many reasons why. I say part-time because she's at nursery four days a week and nappies are included. And I'm going to get into the swing of it before embarking on night time too... But I have just ordered some reusable wipes! 

We plan on having another baby at some point in the not too distant future. I'm hoping that putting E in cloth will aid the potty training experience, and I'm hoping E will be on her way to dry at night by then, but also hoping that it'll save me a fortune in disposables and make me think more carefully about how I use the washing machine.

We have done our first weekend. I need a wet bag for out and about, but its been absolutely fine, and the nappies have washed brilliantly. I took advantage of this weekend's great weather to line dry and E looked super cute tottering about in the garden modelling her new fluff!

On recommendation from a friend, I bought 10 Little Lamb pocket nappies from Fill Your Pants (based up the road in Oadby, Leicestershire - remember I love to support local business!) for £68. Northants CC will let me claim £25 back too! I selected some different colours and they arrived the next day, which I thought was truly excellent service, and actually I recall it being the same when I ordered E's swim nappy from them. The nappies have two bamboo liners each and I can feel them getting fluffier with each wash. I understand it can take up to 10 washes for maximum absorbency. There are so many poppers on the front of the nappy it's impossible for them not to fit your baby. Aaaaaaand most importantly, it's really not the big deal I thought it would be. It's not stressful, it's not smelly and it might just give the bank balance a little break. Happy times! 

My fluffy friends always talked about how addictive this was... I'm already planning my next purchase!

I take it all back and eat my cloth-nappy... Nappy.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Behind the name

This is not the post I had planned for today. I shall save that. I woke up this morning feeling so disgusted about the clip I had watched on YouTube shortly before bed last night that I felt I needed to talk it through this morning.I'm sure my UK readers who are Social Networkers will have seen the clip in question: Ex-Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins discussing kids names on This Morning. Katie Hopkins, who I recall not liking all that much when she was on The Apprentice, leaving presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield furious, exasperated and speechless, because, in her opinion, names such as Tyler and Chardonnay are enough to be an "efficient way of working out what class a child comes from, and do I want my child to play with them." Giving your children names such as these, it would seem, ensure that they have no prospects and wont do their homework.


There is no doubt that as a teacher sometimes we chortle at some of the interesting names that pass through our doors. And, when choosing our daughter's name, as we both teach, we decided that she would have to be given a name that we had never taught as we found ourselves regularly saying this like "oh I used to teach a really naughty so and so" or "Don't you remember all the issues I had with blah blah?" My love for the name Joshua, for example was blighted in my first year of teaching by a lad I grew to have a soft spot for, but never the less used to fall asleep under desks, tell me that coursework was pointless and made me the subject of much humiliation over the year I taught him. Another to scrub off the list. But that's not to say that every Joshua is a bad lad. I teach a beautiful Joshua at the moment. But that one experience has meant that no son of mine will be called Joshua. So we've ended ended up a name that people have described as "unusual, without being too "out there"." Suits me just fine, although I suspect it's a name that's about to get popular. I had it first. There seems to be a trend of ususual naming these days. Each to their own, when it comes to their choice. I find usual names and think we could never pull it off. I have a friend who suggests usual names for her unborn baby and they screech cool. But sometimes, when I hear these names I do wonder if the kids will thank their parents later on...

However, unusual names aside, I think Katie Hopkins has got it wrong. And in her attempts to justify her "intelligent" names, she made herself look like a fool. She doesn't like geographical names like "Brooklyn" and "London" but her daughter is called India. Magic.

I am quite sure that out there there are children with 'names like these' who do come from poor, working class backgrounds, who don't do their homework, who might not get far in life. But there will be just as many who make a real success for themselves. As teachers, we can't write children off like that, and I'd be horrified if my daughter chose her friends by their name, or for that matter, children in her class (or their parents!) wrote her off because her names was 'too pretentious', 'that name is very common these days' etc. There will also but hundreds of Ophelias, Ilyanas, Tarquins, whatever "intelligent" names you fancy who don't succeed. The number of middle class kids I have taught who don't do their homework, think that life just gets handed to them on a plate... Enough said. I will judge the friends my children make by meeting them and making a fair assessment of them that way. Hopkins has openly admitted to being Mrs Judgey Pants on this one, and I suspect she wont be a popular mummy in the playground... Opinions like that are probably best kept to oneself. No one likes a snob.

I look forward to her intelligent, floral, geographically named children being really successes of the future. In the meanwhile I suspect that her children's classmates' parents will be thinking twice about whether they want their children to play with "those kinds of children". 

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