Friday, 27 March 2015

Time Flies ::

Oh my time is slipping away from me at the moment. I just wanted to pop in and apologise for this weeks silence. I had grand plans for blog posts this week, some Easter crafting, a join as you go granny square post and a little baby led weaning update, but somehow it's Friday already and Milo has now finished school for the holidays. Life has been a little hectic this week and there may well be changes in the works, but I promise to deliver all the above mentioned posts within the next week (now I've promised it, I have to do it see?!).

Here's my, later than planned Monday Mini Movie, inspired by Xanthe Berekely, from last weekend's happenings.

March 21st from vicki brown on Vimeo.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Finding Inspiration :: Easter Crafts for Kids ::

With spring equinox yesterday and the sunshine starting to warm up, I'm getting super excited for Easter now, with only 4 days of school left until the holidays begin we're thinking about ways to fill our days with springtime themed crafts. I've been spending a lot of time over on pinterest gathering ideas for activities for Milo and I to get stuck in to and decorate our home. Here are some of my favourites ::

Spring chicks made from egg cartons, by Typically Simple ::

Pom Pom tree by wayaiulandia ::

Pom Pom tree

Salt Dough Eggs by Design Mom ::

Pom Pom Chicks by Crafts Unleashed ::

Shaving Cream Easter Egg Cards by Little Wonder's Days ::

Egg Carton Wreath by Homemade Serenity ::

DIY daffodils by Mend and Make New ::

Hatching Chicks from Little Foundations ::

You can see more Easter inspiration over on my Easter board on pinterest.

Friday, 20 March 2015

6 Months ::

Half a year! What a fabulous half a year it's been. She has changed so much this past month. Very much a world away from that newborn stage now. She's chatty and smiley and inquisitive and generally a pure delight.

We started experimenting with food this past month. Sooner that I would have liked, but she was so eager. I'll write more about how that's been going soon, but needless to say it's fun and messy in equal measure.

I feel like we're finally getting somewhere with sleep now. The main trick I have discovered is not to feed her to sleep. This seems to be a recipe for disaster as then transferring her usually results in a tired, grumpy, wide awake baby. However if I put her down whilst she's awake but showing signs of tiredness she'll gurgle at her mobile, snuggle her cuddly bunny and drift off to sleep. I also realised that by bedtime she was much too tired which was making it tricky to get her to sleep. Now I'm enforcing an afternoon nap and we're having much better results. Also a bedtime routine is now firmly in place, whereas before it was a bit haphazard. All of these are obvious solutions really but sometimes you need a bit of a nudge to get there.

She's just approaching that fabulous stage where she can't move anywhere yet, but is plenty happy to just hang out with some toys. Making my days a little easier and my ability to get stuff done much better. Fingers crossed this lasts a little bit longer as next month my maternity leave ends and I'll need to start trying to do some work again.

Don't think there's much more to report this month, still no teeth but buckets of drool. Fingers crossed they make an appearance soon.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Springtime Surprise Project ::

Back at the beginning of the year Lucy of Capture by Lucy, launched the Springtime Surprise Project, inspired by Oh Comely's Perfect Strangers Swap last year. The idea was simply to gather some lovely things to ship out to a stranger to make them smile. We were given a few details about our swap partner and a £5 budget, with the emphasis not on spending lots of money, but gathering thoughtful things.

I loved taking part in this so much! My swap partner was The Boy and Me. The little bio I received about her told, me she liked chocolate, reading and crochet. So I made a special trip to Waitrose to hunt out some fancy chocolate, as a chocolate lover myself, it was difficult not to blow my whole £5 on chocolate alone, but I resisted. I then purchased a couple of postcards and that was pretty much the whole £5 spent. However, I had lots of bits and pieces already at home I could add. I made a crochet hook (you can see my tutorial on how to make your own here), included some hand cream I got as a freebie, a little notebook I already had, some buttons and crochet patterns that had come free with magazines and set about wrapping them all up.

It was so much fun to put it all together and I loved doing it, but of course, this probably isn't even the best part, because you then receive a little package all wrapped up lovely from your swap buddy in return!

The Boy and Me did a fabulous job of putting together such perfect little gifts for me, all wrapped in purple inside a sparkly gold box. There were beautiful buttons, a whole bag of them, plus a little box of bottles all filled with yet more buttons, a gorgeous little notebook, I've already begun filling with plans and ideas, a pair of stork scissors and these wonderful little frames, I have no idea what to use them for yet, but my mind is buzzing with crafty plans. Also, not pictured with everything else, because I had already proudly put it on my desk, is this lovely flower covered stone. I absolutely adore the little flower and leaves, so perfect and thoughtful.

Obviously this round is all finished up now, but I think Lucy may be organising another in the future, so if you'd like to take part you can sign up here.

G Nappies :: A Review ::

When it comes to nappies, we're pretty much stuck in our ways I'll admit. I tried so many different cloth varieties when Milo was a baby and one thing I learned quick, is that pretty doesn't usually mean efficient. We love motherease one size, which I tend to pair with Tots Bots wraps, this combination came to be as when I bought my stash of motherease off eBay, they came with a couple of Tots Bots wraps, they worked, there didn't seem much need to mess with that system. I have all manner of all in ones and pocket nappies, we use them occasionally but I'm always wary of leaking, because they so often do and nobody wants leaky nappies. There is one downside of my beloved motherease, they are massive! Especially on my wee little dot, as she grows they'll of course become less bulky, but at the moment, she does look a little bottom heavy.

I've had my eye on the gorgeous gNappies for a while now, so many of the lovely mama's I follow on instagram use them and they look so slim. I also really loved the look of the soft cloth cover. So when they offered to send me one to try out I jumped at the chance.

gNappies work as both a disposable or a reusable nappy, depending on the type of the insert you decide to use, the outer (the gPants) are reusable and you get two types of insert, disposable and washable. The benefit of using disposable nappies this way is that they're compostable, there's a lot less washing than full cloth and to be honest if you're not doing nappy washes anyway I have no doubt you can just pop them in the wash with the rest of your clothes. So far I've not had any incidents where the pants part has been especially dirty. Then you can simply compost the disposable part (wet only). This is fabulous, because anyone with a compost heap knows the best way to get that compost heap composting is by adding some wee to it! So I'm hoping adding the nappies will have the same effect!

I haven't used the cloth inserts so I can't comment on them, therefore my all my opinions relate to the disposable inserts.

When the nappy arrived I was thrilled with the look of the pants, I know it's silly to be concerned about the aesthetics of a nappy, but people really really do get quite emotional about these things. I opted for green and it's a lovely shade. The feel of the outside of the nappy is lovely and soft. I was surprised at how massive the disposable inserts looked compared to the pants, I couldn't see how it would be possible for them to fit. But they do, and perfectly nicely too. With the pants part of the nappy you get an outside layer, which is soft jersey type fabric, with two fastenings on each side, these do up at the back of the nappy and the two little bits of velcro are fabulous. One thing I find really tricky with Effie's one size nappy wraps is getting them tight around her leg but not super tight around her tummy. The two tabs on the gNapppies make this problem much easier.
Then within the pants part you have a kind of hammock, I guess we'll call it, which is plastic, this is where the insert goes. Overall the nappies are super easy to use and put together. This hammock is also removable and you can buy extras, which would be super useful and save you a lot of washing.

As for wearing, the nappy fits perfectly, I guess this is the benefit of having sized nappies rather than one size, and it's so slim. Barely any bulkier than a disposable. It's also quite a lot lower on her tummy than lots of the cloth I have.

It took me 3 attempts at her wearing it for me to get a photo of her doing so, because she managed to fill it all 3 times almost immediately after I put it on her! I was really wary of leaking, because the first ever cloth nappies I purchased for Milo back when I was pregnant with him, were the Mothercare ones, which also came with a disposable insert option (I don't think they do these anymore). Those were terrible for leaking and almost put me off cloth for life. However so far, even though she's tried with all her might, the gNappies have not had any leakages for Effie. I'm so impressed with them. The little hammock bit does a fantastic job of holding it all place.

Overall I'm massively impressed with these nappies, I would definitely recommend them as an alternative to disposables. We're still using disposables overnight and I'm seriously considering switching to using these instead, they'd also be great for going away. In terms of cost they're definitely not the cheapest option, the disposable inserts work out at just over 22p each, plus you have the added cost of the gPants, which come it at 14.95 each and you'll need to add to your stash as your baby grows. However as with most cloth nappies I expect they have good resale value. For comparison purposes, the Naty nappies by Nature Babycare which are 70% biodegradable (but not compostable as far as I'm aware) come in at just under 22p a nappy and you don't have any added costs. However if you don't like the idea of adding more unnecessary waste to landfill but don't feel you can take on the washing cloth nappies involve, this is a fantastic solution. I shall definitely be adding some more gPants to our stash and trying out some of the washable inserts.
**we were kindly sent a pair of gPants and some disposable inserts to review but all thoughts are our own.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Circle Centred Crochet Granny Square :: A Pattern ::

Crochet this classic granny square with a circle centre, using this free pattern.

As I've been working on my crochet granny square blanket, as part of my series on how to design your own granny square blanket, I've got this particular granny square well committed to memory now! My heart centred granny square pattern is one of my most popular blog posts, so I thought you may like the pattern for this square too.

Crochet this classic granny square with a circle centre, using this free pattern.

The main square has 4 rounds and I've been finishing all of mine off with a round of regular granny square in white and joining them as I go, more on this soon. It's a nice, simple square, that looks classically granny, but with a little bit of a twist on the traditional square.

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