Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

Cloth nappies, dairy-free living, reviews and parental ramblings!

Eco Living starts from an early age!

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eBay. It can be THE most frustrating place in the world. You see something you like… you bid… you hope… and then at the last minute some REALLY ANNOYING PERSON pops in and outbids you, just as you were getting your hopes up.

Well, that’s mainly been the experience that I’ve had but the other week I hit the jackpot.

I know, I know – I’m going to use this post to crow about the bargain I got, but actually I want to share it with you as it was truly amazing and I’m sure that there are bargains just like this one to be had near you.

I bid on this doll’s house for our son, with a starting price of 99p for a local-ish pick-up.

I watched the item with bated breath. NOONE else was bidding on it.
I waited until the last day, fingers at the ready to up my maximum bid – determined that I’d win this thing, ready to pounce if someone outbid me.

No one did.

Not a single person.

I watched as the app processed the whole thing and I’d only gone and won it for less than a quid. I was astounded. I quickly messaged the lady and arranged a time to pick it up and actually paid her quite a bit more than I’d won it for as I felt so guilty for getting SUCH a bargain!

This house is beautiful – it’s not girly in the slightest, and that’s why I wanted it.
Its a Wonderworld Eco House which – to my utter delight – was one of the Independent’s top 10 eco toys and has won quite a few awards. Kind of suitable for us, really!

Small world play is so important for toddlers and young children. It gives them a chance to copy what they see in the world around them. To act out everyday life and to make sense of it. To mimic Mummy and Daddy. To go through their own day’s events in a more concrete manner by acting things out with the dolls.

Our little man loves it!
His little wooden family do absolutely everything that we do.
He’s just at the start of potty training so the little boy doll is often on and off the toilet, with lots of clapping and cheering.
He spends lots of time taking the family up and down the stairs carefully, copying how we’ve asked him to be when doing the same in real life.

But, the cutest thing about small world play that I found when I’ve worked with young children is that you can get a real insight into the child and the way in which their family operates. This is coming through really clearly in my son’s play.

When it comes to bedtime, he puts all of the family into one big bed! A co-sleeping bed!

‘Tuck Tuck eberybon’ is what he says to them!

Just far too cute!

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Splish, Splash Splosh! Cleaning Product Review.

When I look around my house and look, in particular, at the waste that our house creates there’s something that never sits well with me.

It’s the amount of plastic we use.

Now, I try my best to reduce it by buying things that are packaged in a more environmentally-friendly manner and obvious recycling but in this day and age it’s REALLY hard to avoid.

Everything comes in plastic. Wrapped in plastic. Then often wrapped AGAIN in plastic.

It’s slightly bonkers.

So when I heard of Splosh cleaning products, I was really interested. There’s been a buzz about Splosh in the cloth nappy groups that I’m part of on Facebook and all I was hearing were good things.

I thought I’d better find out more and had a chat with the lovely man behind the company who really kindly sent me over a box of their products to have a play with.

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The concept of Splosh is really simple.

You buy a starter pack (these start from around £10)
These come with empty plastic bottles and sachets of concentrated cleaning liquid.
You add water from your own tap (thus avoiding paying money to companies for water!)
Then you’re ready to go.

It sounded almost too simple!

So I set to work and made up my bottles. This was really good fun and Monkey watched in fascination as the sachets dissolved.

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I have to be honest, I was a little sceptical about the handwash as it didn’t seem – well – goopy enough but it soon thickened up and I was proved very, very wrong!

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I got sent four different products and I have to say that they all smell absolutely gorgeous! My favourite has to be the Pomegranate and Melon kitchen cleaner that even Mr Clothbum has commented on (which is a first!). I also got sent a Blackberry hand wash and Cotton Flower laundry detergent and stain remover.

We’ve been using the Splosh products around the house now for nearly a month and I honestly think that they are fantastic. The laundry detergent has been brilliant on my son’s nappies, plus all our other clothes and both the kitchen cleaner and the handwash do their jobs really well.

What I love about Splosh is that not only are the cleaning products themselves environmentally friendly due to carefully-sourced and developed ingredients, but that all I have to do is go online and order some more refills that will be posted out straight to me.
No more throwing away of plastic bottles.
No more unnecessary waste.

I just hope that they bring out more products soon!

daisytheclothbummum was sent a starter pack of four bottles from Splosh to review but did not receive any payment for this review. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.

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We went and had tea with a Gruffalo!

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Monkey took a walk through a deep, slightly dark wood.

Monkey saw a whole host of gorgeously-carved Gruffalo sculptures and they were GOOD!

For Father’s Day, we decided to take our lovely little man out to have tea in Thorndon Country Park, down in Brentwood, Essex.

Now, I’m not from this part of the world so I’d never heard of this beautiful place, but I’m so glad that I found out about it.

Thorndon is gorgeous! We had a lovely couple of hours wandering around the relaxing woodland and our little man was unbelievably excited.

The brilliant team there have had some wonderful painted wooden sculptures made of the main characters from the brilliant books by Julia Donaldson.

These are scattered around a toddler-friendly trail (you can buy a map from the visitor’s centre) that took us about 40 minutes whilst walking a leisurely pace and having those typical moments where the toddler walks back on himself, goes to hide in various bushes and has a few little sit downs on the ground!

If you’re local to Thorndon or if you’re around the area visiting, I would really recommend paying a visit. The look of sheer delight and amazement on my little boy’s face made it so worth it and we had one of the best afternoons of his little life so far!

daisytheclothbummum has written this because I feel like sharing! We had a WONDERFUL day and would like to thank all the staff at Thorndon Country Park for creating such a great experience for little ones.

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Ecover: Message in a Bottle Campaign

Whenever someone finds out that I use cloth nappies on my little Monkey, I usually get asked why. Now, whilst part of me wants to rail against that (I doubt many disposable nappy users get asked why…) I will quite happily list off the reasons that led me to using these amazing nappies.

My three main answers are:

I always wanted to
They are so much cheaper (I can’t see the point of throwing hundreds of pounds into the bin)
The environmental impact is so much less (Ugh to putting all that plastic into the ground)

So, when Ecover contacted me about their ‘Message in a Bottle’ campaign, it really caught my attention. I’ve always used Ecover products around the house (not exclusively, but I do love them) and as someone who has ridiculously sensitive skin, their natural plant-based ingredients really do make a difference to how itchy I can get when using products.

But what I particularly love about Ecover is the way in which they package their products. They have come up with a really clever way to turn raw sugarcane into a 100% recyclable, renewable and reusable petrol-free green plastic, which is rather damn amazing stuff. It makes me shudder to think about just how many plastic bottles, containers and bits of packaging I throw away every week so having products that can help to reduce that impact on the environment is a great thing, in my opinion.

I’m one of those people who do the whole recycling thing. We have our main bin and then all the other boxes and bags. But there are so many people out there that just can’t be bothered. Whether it’s due to lack of education or just not actually stopping, thinking or caring, I was quite shocked to learn that only about 30% of plastic bottles actually go to UK recycling plants and only 50% of all bottles used are actually collected for recycling in the first place. Shouldn’t the bottles be made of a plastic that can actually be recycled? You’d think so, wouldn’t you – but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Have a look at the ‘Message in a Bottle’ Campaign to find out more. It’s such a great idea and something that I hope more manufacturers will take onboard in the future to help lessen the impact of their products on our world. Thank you, Ecover, for making such a great and inspiring start!

Cleaning the seas, one bottle at a time

Cleaning the seas, one bottle at a time. Visit The-Splash for more information and to read our pledge.

daisytheclothbummum was not paid for this blogpost. All thoughts, words and opinions are my own.

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Best for Breast! Bamboobies

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If you’re a breastfeeding mum, there’s certain things that you probably can’t be without. Breastpads are one of them. I only know of a couple of mums who’ve pretty much managed most of their breastfeeding time without using pads but most ladies I know have found them essential, especially in the early days when you can soak through a bra in a heartbeat if you forget them.

Now, packets of good quality disposable breastpads are NOT cheap and you can get through quite a lot. I remember having to wear two pads in each bra cup at the beginning to ensure that I wasn’t soaking through. It wasn’t fun and, with being on maternity pay, every penny counted.

So I invested in some washable, cloth breastpads from a high street shop. The only problem with the ones that I bought was that they were, to be frank, rubbish. They didn’t really hold much liquid and the milk wicked through quite quickly. I resigned myself to paying for disposables for the rest of my breastfeeding journey.

Then as I discovered more and more brands of cloth nappies, I also discovered better made, better quality cloth breastpads that actually work! Recently, I was sent some Bamboobies from the lovely Ailsa at Bambooty nappies, and I just wish that I’d had them earlier on.

Bamboobies are gorgeous, soft and ultra-thirsty breastpads that come in two different thicknesses. They are the kind of soft that make you want to rub them against your cheek (yes, I’ve been guilty of doing that with a lovely, squishy new nappy – which cloth bum mum hasn’t done it…) and that softness is perfect. When a breastfeeding mum has got painful nipples through early latching on issues through to biting from an overzealous toddler, it really does help that the pad isn’t going to cause any other problems.

Not only are Bamboobies really nice to wear, they really do work. Brilliantly. I’ve not had a single leak from them, they wash really well and dry quite quickly, which is so important when you need to get on with using them again. I’ve worn them at work (which means that I was away from Monkey all day and not feeding him between 7am – 7pm) and they didn’t leak once. I’ve also worn them overnight, a time that is usually very leaky for me – but, again, no leaks. I really love these pads and they’re working very well for me!

At the moment, Bamboobies aren’t on general release, but if you’re interested in them – drop Ailsa at Bambooty a line at ailsa@bambootyrealnappies.co.uk

daisytheclothbummum was sent two pairs of Bamboobies for the purpose of this review. I received no payment and all words, thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Project Wild Thing

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Every now and then I hear of something that makes me nod furiously in agreement. Something that I think is so important that I want to shout about it everywhere and witter on to random people in queues in shops (sorry if I’ve ever done that to you, by the way!)

Project Wild Thing is one of them.

I heard about this fantastic documentary/campaign (which is backed by Channel 4, the NHS and the National Trust) fairly recently and, being someone who’s worked on outdoor activity holidays and now works at a Forest School, I felt that I just had to share it with you all.

Project Wild Thing is a film documentary that is due to play in cinemas from early next year. It’s really caught my attention because, over the years that I’ve been teaching I’ve seen quite a decline in the amount of time that children are spending outside. Whilst, of course, I absolutely adore my gadgets and technology, it’s really rather sad that so many of them are choosing to spend time inside rather than out in our beautiful world.

Now, I know that many of us have gardens and that we may take our kids out to local parks, but there’s a lot of children out there that have never experienced what nature really has to offer us. As the makers of the documentary/leaders of the campaign state,

“The film is all about our changing relationship with the natural world, in particular our children’s lack of outdoor time. Increased traffic, lack of space, fear of ‘stranger danger’ etc etc has all conspired against our children to the point where parents feel they are safer kept indoors, or kept on a tight leash. Fewer than 10% of children play in wild places, compared with 50% a generation ago.”

That’s really quite sad, isn’t it.

There’s something so magical about making dens outside, lying on your back in a grassy field and cloud-spotting or doing a spot of orienteering through a wood. Some of my best childhood memories are of playing in our ‘dens’ and creating nature trails, so it really does sadden me that some children aren’t getting those experiences.

If you head on over to the Project Wild Thing website, you can make a pledge to help the younger generation reconnect with nature, by matching online screen time per day with Wild Time outside. You can read the manifesto and sign up here

Once the number of people making the pledge reaches 5000, one lucky person will win a week’s holiday in the beautiful Swaledale, Yorkshire.

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On the website, there are lots of great ideas to help people get out and about. There are links to many other groups, projects and places that you can go to and Project Wild Thing are also producing various Out and About Packs that are for particular age-ranges. The first pack is for mummies with newborn babies and is really worth a read!

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They also have a fantastic wild thing app where you can put in how much time you have to spend.
It then comes up with a whole range of great activities that anyone can do, which is a fantastic resource to have at your fingertips. There’s even an area where you can share your ideas with others and read what people have been up to.

You can follow Project Wild Thing on Facebook via their page or via their Twitter feed @wearewildthing

So, go ahead. Get involved and make that pledge and get reconnected with Nature!

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