A NHM Readers Experience: Reusable Nappies

Amber sent me a very lovely email asking me if she could share her experience of Reusable Nappies with you all.

I jumped at her email! lol.

You can really tell how passionate Amber is about reusable nappies from her post below. I wish I had seen this post before my little one was born as I wanted to use reusable nappies but had absolutely no idea where to start.

If there are any topics that you feel passionate enough about enough to write a post that you think NHM Readers might be interested in, please drop me a line at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. Thanks!

Thank you to Amber for the excellent post below!

Reusable Nappies

When I volunteered to write this article I questioned why I had done that. I’m not a rainbow eco warrior mum that feels passionately about the amount of landfill that our population creates, nor a crazy corporate conspiracy mum who believes that disposable nappies are filled with harmful chemicals which are burning our babies’ bottoms.

No, I just enjoy (yes, enjoy!) using cloth nappies and I wanted to share my experience with other mums in the hope that others will have that experience too.

I had grand ideas of using cloth nappies with my first baby but when it came to it, the sheer upheaval of having a new small person in my life was too much and I bottled, resorting to ‘easier’, more ‘convienient’ disposables, and those are in inverted commas for a reason, more about that later.

However I was pretty disgusted that we had gone from a family which produced less than a quarter of a wheelie bin of rubbish a week, to one which wheeled out a bin containing more than double that amount, groaning under the weight of stinky, un degradable nappies.Nappies further wrapped in little plastic bags no less.

This was further compounded by the fact that this continued for years! Number 1 was potty trained during the day at around 2 years and I cringe at the thought of just how many of our nappies were just sitting, festering in landfill.

So when I found I was expecting number 2 I was determined that I was going to use, and succeed with cloth nappies. I started researching in earnest, in hindsight I think that was part of the problem with number 1, I just wasn’t prepared enough and when it came to it I just gave up.

As I started reading about the different types of nappies, I was truly baffled and I quickly became quite overwhelmed by the variety, let alone the different makes.There are 2 parters, all in ones, pockets and hybrids, to name but a few, and I had no idea which ones I really should be choosing.

Then I was recommended thenappylady.co.uk, Wendy Richards, she runs out of Farnham and has a fantastic website which sells everything cloth related but also has some invaluable advice pages and an advice questionnaire.

The questionnaire is very in depth and aims to help you find the best type of nappies, number required and cost for your personal circumstances.

She asks what drying facilities you have, how many times you’d want to wash per week, how you rank various properties of the nappies, what height and build you and your partner are, seemingly irrelevant information but it all goes in to determining which nappies would be best suited to help you succeed with cloth nappies.

My recommendation was for a brand called Bumgenius with their Freetime nappy, this is an all in one, birth to potty nappy, but I almost fell off my chair with the cost! Each nappy was £15.99 and it was recommended I had 15 of them!!!

It’s an enormous outlay and people often ask me if I really think I’m saving money this way when you factor in electricity, washing powder, washing machine wear and tear, hassle factor etc. There are many calculations out there which argue that it is, but actually that’s not the sole reason that I wanted to do it.

Despite having the nappy lady’s recommendation for my Freetimes I was still hesitant to part with the best part of £300 for something that I wasn’t sure was going to work, which is when I found the Basingstoke Real Nappy Library. This is run by a lovely lady, whose name completely escapes me, out of the NCT Coffee and Chat group in Brookvale Hall.

She’s there on the first Friday of the month with a selection of cloth nappies and she sits with you going through everything you’d want to know and ask and more. She said that it would be best to wait for baby to come along then she would pop round to my house, have a new baby cuddle and a cup of tea, and leave me with a selection of nappies which I could try for however long I wanted (within reason!). It is a voluntary organisation but she asks for a donation which I was more than happy to provide given how helpful she had been.

Armed with my selection of birth to potty nappies I went about trying them out on number 2. I had several reservations about cloth nappies and fit was one of these, it’s something that the nappy lady asks in her questionnaire.

I didn’t particularly like the ‘chunky bum’ look that was inevitable with cloth nappies and on a 4 week old baby, birth to potty nappies (these are adjustable using poppers, allowing them to be used, as the name suggests, all the way from birth to potty training) do look a little ridiculous but I had to look beyond this and at the greater picture.

I never thought I would like number two’s chunky bum but I really do now, I guess part of it is what you are used to, but disposable bottoms feel quite wrong to me now and that saggy nappy look is really not a good one.

As a result of trying out my nappy selection I took the plunge and bought my cloth nappies, opting for the ones suggested by the nappy lady and buying  10 (ouch!!), I still couldn’t manage to buy the number I needed to wash every other day.

I then found that there was a huge market for preloved nappies, initially I did recoil at the idea of using nappies which had been used on other babies’ bottoms however the reality is that if they have been washed properly the nappies are still in fantastic condition and I now have no reservations about buying preloved.

There are numerous Facebook selling pages where you can buy or swap them at a fraction of the new price using Paypal which does offer an amount of protection to the purchaser. I have gradually increased the number of nappies in my ‘stash’ using preloved and further orders from the nappy lady.

A year later and we are still using our cloth nappies and I do enjoy it.

That may seem to be a strange term to use but let me explain.

Every time I put a cloth nappy on it means that the only thing that I throw in the bin is a degradable liner to catch post weened poo and that’s going to continue until number 2 is out of nappies.

They are pretty, I’ve got a lovely selection of colours, some people are proper addicted to collecting nappies and pay extortionate amounts of money for limited edition prints but in my opinion at the end of the day they are there for collecting wee and poo! They have got to better for those delicate, peachy, little bottoms.

There are plenty of people who are convinced that the chemicals in the nappies are very bad for babies’ skin, I have to say that I believe that they will have been tested rigorously, however I do believe that is far better for the skin not to be next to be constantly next to something which has a large quantity if chemicals in it. Both my children suffer from eczema and number 1 had some awful nappy rash, something that has been limited to teething with number 2.

There is a phenomenal amount of research that goes into the development of cloth nappies, inner fabrics are super absorbent so will hold lots of wee, outers are  waterproof so contain all the wetness and most, mine included, have a soft fleecy layer which wicks away the moisture from the skin so they don’t actually feel wet. They really aren’t the outdated ‘terry towelling fastened with safety pins’ that some people think they are.

What about the other cons of using cloth nappies?

There are some, but I don’t find them an issue and the pros, for me, certainly outweigh them. Hassle factor – yes you do have to do a wash every other day/three days  but it has just become part of my routine and even in the early days I didn’t find it particularly bothersome.

My nappies dry very fast and in the summer on an average day they would be dry within a couple of hours, in the winter it is more like a day when hung inside. I have a sock hanger from Lakeland which allows me to hang all nappies out on one hook and there is something extremely satisfying about seeing lots of clean nappies hanging out to dry in the sun.

Dealing with smelly poo filled nappies – just like disposables they just get whipped off and shoved in the nappy bin or bag until wash day. Pre weaning all nappies went into the wash as is, poo and all, but post weaning I just remove the liners and bin those before putting them in the wash.

I do pay more attention to the cleaning of the washing machine these days to keep it smelling fresh, something which should be performed regularly anyway according to those ‘in the know’, but that only consists of running a super hot wash every now and again or washing an empty load with soda crystals.

Cost – the initial outlay, as I said, is hard to swallow but as I say I am using them for other reasons so I had to keep that in mind. I do hope to recoup some of the cost at the end of our use by selling them on the Facebook selling pages but that would just be a bonus.

I also went down the route of reusable wipes, which if using cloth nappies is a no brainer. These are like little flannels which are kept damp in a Tupperware box and are far superior for wiping bottoms than any number of baby wipes, they just get put in the wash along with the nappies for using another day. Inconvenience – after washing I do have to fold the nappies up, put liners in each and stack them ready for use, when I’m busy I do get irritated by this but in reality it takes a matter of minutes to do and then they are just ready to go.

When out and about I just take clean nappies with a wet bag which I can put the dirty nappies in, wipes are taken in a mini wet bag, it’s not much different from disposables.

Phew! That’s a lot of words, maybe I am more passionate about cloth nappies than I had first thought?

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!

Baby Love Photography: Baby, child and family photoshoots for just £100

Baby Love Photography – Baby, Child & Family Photographer based in Fleet, Hampshire

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and that couldn’t be truer than when you have a child. It seems like only yesterday my son Flynn was born, but it was in fact nearly eight months ago. Where has that time gone?! Now thanks to a lack of sleep and the dreaded ‘baby brain’, I can barely remember what happened yesterday, let alone cast my mind back half a year to what facial expressions he used to pull, the clothes he used to wear, or how his hair used to look…..

….Fortunately I have my photographs to remind myself of those little details.

My name is Emily Gregory and I am the owner of Baby Love Photography. I absolutely adore taking photos, whether it be of a newborn baby having not long entered the world, a six-month-old who is really starting to explore or a one-year-old well and truly on the move. I’ve spent many a shoot running after toddlers or gently encouraging dads in front of the camera, despite their protests of “You don’t want an ugly mug like me in the photo”. If it falls under the remit of baby, child or family, I’ll capture it!

I am a lifestyle photographer, meaning I take the most natural of photos in the most natural of environments. I don’t work in a studio – I shoot on location, so either in your home or at a location of your choice. I use natural backgrounds and light wherever possible, but don’t worry if your home isn’t blessed with windows galore – my camera is well equipped to cope in darker conditions.

For just £100, you will receive a 1-2 hour photoshoot and 10 digital images. These will be delicately edited and emailed over to you to use as you please, whether that be displaying them on social media for all to see, forwarding them to friends and family abroad or printing them out and giving them as Christmas presents.

So what are you waiting for? Book a photoshoot with Baby Love Photography now and allow me to create some beautiful lifestyle shots that you will treasure forever.

Website: www.baby-love-photography.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/babylovephotography2014

Twitter: @Baby_Love_Photo

Email: Baby_Love_Photography@hotmail.com

Telephone: 07891 908319

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Ideal Imaging Photography: Don’t just think outside of the Box; GO outside of it

I’m very fortunate to be able to start this guest blog with a friendly hello to many of my existing local customers. 2014 was a truly amazing year during which I met so many wonderful families that I feel rewarded on a daily basis in my chosen career. Your support has been incredible and I would like to publicly thank you for putting your trust in me and my camera to provide you with lasting memories from your lifestyle photography shoots.

For those of you who I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting, a warm welcome to Ideal Imaging.  Based in Old Basing, Hampshire, I specialise in family lifestyle and newborn portraits, along with wedding photography. Despite being my bread and butter, photography is my passion. I love what I do and that is reflected in my excitement over each and every couple or family that I work with. In fact, in my spare time, I enjoy … more photography – this time in the form of landscape photography. I’m always learning and have recently returned from an unbelievably satisfying week of one-on-one instruction in Italy with one of the top landscape photographers.

I believe that my love of landscapes enhances my ability to spot a great shot in a lifestyle shoot and this is one of the reasons that I take my camera and my creativity outside of the traditional studio setting to bring out the best in people. Don’t get me wrong, studio photography has a place. But it is a very different scenario to a lifestyle shoot.  To put this in to context, imagine that a studio photo shoot is about spending two hours trying to get one ‘perfect shot’ whereas a lifestyle shoot is about spending two hours capturing lots of great, candid images of everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves and therefore at their very best and ‘just being’.

Ask yourself the question; what do you love to do as a family? I’d be willing to bet that it isn’t the former scenario described above.  I’m a parent too; I understand the pressures of creating that perfect photo. The constraints of both time and space in a studio setting simply do not lend themselves to you (the collective you) being yourselves. Worries about children ‘warming’ to the photographer, ‘performing’ for the camera and generally being on their best behaviour mean that this is not conducive to creating a relaxed collection of memories to look back on. This is why I don’t just think outside of the box with my photography, I go outside of it.

With my old-fashioned approach to customer service I spend time getting to know you before I take a single photograph.  I want you to feel inspired to break free from the accepted norms.  I’ll encourage you to wrap up warm on a crisp, frosty morning and head to the beach for an invigorating walk, or to think of the warmth of spring and imagine running through a dreamy bluebell wood. You might prefer to consider a late afternoon frolic in the sunshine with the family dog or to feel the rush of the wind kicking up the autumn leaves and the glorious autumnal colour palette that season delivers. Whatever the time of year, we can work with the weather to provide you with a collection of stunning portraits that come alive with the personalities of each individual featured in the shot.

We’re programmed from a very early age to ‘smile for the camera’. I can give you a guarantee that you will never hear me give that instruction during my time with you. Not because I like to capture the enigmatic Mona Lisa pose, but because it just isn’t necessary as you’ll be doing the things you love, all with the bonus of having an expert photographer on hand to facilitate and capture the enjoyment that comes naturally to your family.

With my local knowledge, I have immediate access to many beautiful locations including Tylney Hall in Rotherwick, The Elvetham Hotel in Hook and The Vyne in Sherborne St John. All of these locations are steeped in history and make a spectacular backdrop to your personal portfolio. But lifestyle photography is all about you and if you prefer another location, or even your own back garden, we can tailor the session to suit you.

Without the constraints of time or the fixed limitations of four walls, we’re able to include more of what you love, and who you love. Bring the whole family along. In the past year alone I’ve worked with groups of up to 18 people covering the entire family tree. From newborns to great grandparents and every member of the family in between; including the person who is usually nominated as the family photographer!

Whether you’re looking for a piece of wall art to display, a timeless album to showcase your entire shoot or mounted prints and digital images of the highest quality, my flair for design and creativity guides you through the experience seamlessly to create unique galleries to last a lifetime.

After the shoot, a lot of my clients choose to stay and play a while longer.  After all, they’re simply having fun with the family! For me, giving you a fantastic experience is only half the job done and I set to work on creating a professional slideshow.  This is usually within about a week or two, for your review in the comfort of your own home. No trekking off to another studio and feeling the pressure of a sales pitch. The photographs that we’ve created together will speak for themselves allowing you to make relaxed decisions about how you’d like to remember your time with me!  I firmly believe that your images should be presented at their very best so that you can cherish and adore them for years to come. I work very closely with a couple of leading labs to bring you the finest selection of products, all made from the highest quality materials that will last in your family for generations to come.

As a thank you to you for taking the time to understand a little bit more about my approach to lifestyle photography, I have a special offer for all NHM readers. It’s for a Spring time themed family lifestyle portraits session in the grounds of Tylney Hall Hotel. A summary of what’s included appears below but for all the information, FAQ’s and to secure your package please go to: http://wp.me/p4A8xE-3gd

I wish you all a very happy 2015 and hope to meet you in the coming months.

All the best,

Alistair Jones, Ideal Imaging

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitterFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

My Sky Dive and another favour… ;-)

In the past twelve months I’ve discovered just how powerful and far reaching NorthHantsMum really is.

The Christmas Food Box 2014 appeal really brought this home to me. I was stunned and delighted to see how the NHM Community pulled together to help those less fortunate than themselves. We helped the team at Basingstoke Voluntary Action smash their previous Christmas box collection. I’m very proud of how many NHM Readers contributed to this appeal.

The NorthHantsMum Christmas Expo was also a resounding success and it was so fantastic to see so many parents and children having a brilliant time. A highlight of that day was when we went for dinner that night with friends who were visiting from “Up North”. Miss NHM still had her face painted from the morning and the waitress asked if we had been “at the event at Playdays”. I was so excited that she knew about it, I nearly hugged her! lol.

I have also seen several local businesses thrive because their Guest Post on NorthHantsMum has been so successful.

I know it’s a huge responsibility to have the influence that NorthHantsMum has and I do my very best to use this influence wisely.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to give back more to the community and also about my “word” for 2015.


My Sky Dive

This year I’ve decided to do a Sky Dive for charity.

It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and I’m not going to put it off any more.

The charity that I will be jumping for  is the Bluebells, which is in North Waltham (next to the Wheatsheaf pub on the A30), and part of Sebastian’s Action Trust.

Sebastian’s Action Trust provides respite holidays and vital support to seriously-ill children and their families. The Bluebells is a purpose-built holiday house that was opened in 2011 and is a place of laughter, love, noise and fun.  They aim to welcome 100 families for holidays and 500 individuals on day visits each year.

I first visited The Bluebells in 2013 and it had a massive impact on me. It brought it home to me, that you never know if your children might need a place like this.

We are very lucky to have such a facility like this on our doorstep. It’s not government funded and is maintained via fundraising and public support.

Everything that I raise will go directly to helping this facility continue.

A favour

If you would like to sponsor me then this is my fundraising page:

Anything you can donate, no matter how small, will make a difference to many children and their families.

My Sky Dive is scheduled for Sunday 24th May 2015. You will probably hear a lot about it in the run up to that date ;-).

Did I mention that I’m not a big fan of heights?

Babysitting in Basingstoke

Stephanie added a great comment to my recent Monday Night Date Nights post, asking if I had any suggestions about babysitting options.

I’ve had a draft post about babysitting for over 2.5 years! I just had no idea where to start. So I thought I better get on and get this post published!

I put out a plea on NHM on FB asking for suggestions. There are a LOT of people who are looking for babysitters or who would like to be in a babysitting circle.

So, in an attempt to help people, I’ve created a FB Group for Babysitting in Basingstoke:


This is for parents and for qualified babysitters to make contact.

It is also a place where people can put up their comments about wanting to be in a babysitting circle.

I have no idea if this will work but at least it’s a start.

Please add anyone else to the group who you think would be interested. There is such a demand for babysitting in the area, that I can’t believe someone hasn’t jumped on this business opportunity already!!

For those who are interested in creating a babysitting circle, why not organise a family catch up so that groups of families meet so you know whether you feel comfortable leaving your child with other people.

Good luck!!!

Disclaimer: I would also like to add a disclaimer that I take no responsibility at all for via this Babysitting FB Group. I’m just putting people in touch with other people. It’s your responsibility to vet people, etc.

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there!