Category Archives: Photos

Review: TigerPig

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Those who read this will know that I like my wraps. Erm- our wraps. Not that the toddler contributes financially to them of course, but he does use them with us.

I recently thought I’d reached being “stashified” but my most recent purchase wasn’t really working for me.

I’m not a “serial churner”- some people like to try all the wraps, so they buy, try and sell on to fund their next wrap. I’ve been trying to find a little bit of everything so have plumped for a few different lengths and a few different blends. I now have 100% cotton (6), cotton/wool/silk blend (3), cotton/linen blend (4), cotton/hemp blend (4) and then a cotton/silk blend mei tai and I am now the proud owner of a cotton rebozo scarf too. That doesn’t include things I’m trying to sell or anything I’ve lent to the sling library! However I changed the hemp blend I owned. Initially I bought a didymos indio as I really wanted to try a an indio. They always shimmer so beautifully and the diamond weave is stunning. However, the hemp had not been “broken in” and the fabric was still very stiff. I worked on it- wearing, pulling htrough rings, plaiting, steam iron and leaving it in a warm car- but although it was softening up, the diamond weave dug into my shoulders. Amazingly my “ISO” came up- the wrap I was in search of a few months ago- a Natibaby Cogs Acero. It was woven as a an exclusive for a Polish forum group and is a soft shimmery blue and silver blend. The lady that sold it to me was very sad to let it go after having broken it in so beautifully, but it’s found a happy home here!

Indio is parcelled up and ready to go to it’s new home, and cogs is here to stay!

So onto the review- I decided I wanted a little something that I could use out and about when I wasn’t able to have the small person wrapped on me. The fabrics of the wraps are so beautiful that I wish I could have them on me every day. I contacted a few different small companies that use wrap scraps to make items- bags, hairbands, necklaces etc and the quickest and friendliest response by far was TigerPig. I knew my friend Sling Sally had bought at least one item from her before, so we struck up a conversation. So much attention to detail was paid in terms of the fabrics, the linings, the extra features, with lovely photographs sent to me so that I could choose exactly what I wanted. The invoice was sent over before pay day and Hillary kindly waited until I had been paid and was back from holiday and able to access my paypal. The best surprise was the bag arriving- I hadn’t even realised it would be ready so quickly, so it was a great surprise. It came beautifully wrapped up and was instantly stolen by my son who wanted to wear it (and very fetching it looked too). And the bag is stunning! So beautifully made, and exactly as expected with all the photo communication about the fabrics and trim. I can’t wait for a night out now!

Thank you TigerPig!

Review: Riverford Organic Veg Box

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Review: Riverford Organic Veg Box

Time for another review.

Although my small person is pretty fussy with food, it hasn’t stopped us trying to ensure he gets a good variety of healthy, home made meals. Our diet is in no way perfect- neither of us eat enough fruit and veg most days and we both enjoy a drink. We don’t really believe in faddy eating- detoxes, diets, sugar free, “paleo” or “carb free” eating. However we do believe in home made good hearty food. We drink full fat milk, and enjoy cheese and real butter. We eat carbohydrates with most meals and balance that with protein, vegetables and grains. We don’t eat much “processed” food- from jars or packets, and as a consequence happily add sugar and salt to recipes where required. We probably eat “too much” meat, and definitely too much processed meat, though if I were more confident in my cooking I’d cook more fish and more vegetarian dishes.

When we moved in together we decided we needed to at least try some kind of organic veg box. Initially it didn’t work out for us in our last property due to our lifestyle amongst other things but we started back up with Riverford 5 years ago and have been enjoying seasonal treats and cooking challenges ever since.

From Riverford’s website:

The Riverford box scheme began when Guy Watson started delivering vegetables locally to 30 friends in Devon. We now deliver around 47,000 boxes a week to homes around the UK from our regional farms.

Things I like about this kind of vegetable box scheme:

  • It supports small scale local businesses not just the huge supermarket chains
  • Attention is paid to all kinds of ethics across the company from freighting options to packaging to staff and animal welfare
  • Prices are comparable with larger businesses
  • Personal touch of notes from Guy and new recipes every week
  • The challenge of a new vegetable

Riverford offer a huge range of different size and style of vegetable boxes, plus they do fruit boxes, meat, dairy produce, recipe boxes and much more. This means that you can just supplement your usual weekly shop with a box delivered to your door, or if you choose can get the majority of your grocery and some store cupboard essentials all directly from Riverford. Most boxes contain onions, potatoes and carrots (or another root vegetable) but you can also get their “less root veg” box which doesn’t contain the above if you prefer. They also do fruit boxes for workplaces, veg & meat combination boxes or you can just make up your own order. The system remembers you order and places the order each week/fortnight depending on the regularity you’ve selected and takes the payment directly from your account.

We used to get a “Seasons vegbox” but a couple of years ago Riverford changed around their offerings. We now get a “Large Fruit and Veg box” plus 1litre of milk and 6 eggs every fortnight at a cost of £21.95 (£10.96 per week). This is quite comparable to the box we used to get, as most of what you receive from Riverford is seaonal anyway. Most of it is grown on UK farms any anything from abroad is grown in fair trade co-operatives and never air freighted.

Riverford describe our large fruit and veg box as follows:

Eating a healthy, wholesome diet is easy with our large organic fruit and veg box. Packed with 7 different varieties of veg and 3 varieties of fruit, all of our produce is freshly picked and full of seasonal flavour. We only give you what’s ripe and ready for eating in our fields so box contents change throughout the year, giving you enough variety to keep everyone in the family happy. From crisp sugar snap peas to tart, tangy rhubarb, this fruit and vegbox is a winning combination of seasonal fruit and veg at its best.

We don’t use Riverford for all our fruit&veg needs, but for our family of three it builds the basis of our meal planning for about 3/4 of the fortnight before the next box arrives. This means that we’re guided by the items in there but not limited to them, the best of both worlds I say! Either when the box arrives, or before it arrives if I’ve got to do a shop, I take a look online to see what we are getting then purchase what else we need around that.

Our last veg box arrived 8 days ago, and we’ve eaten about 3/4 plus of what’s in the box.

In our veg box last week was:

  • bunched carrots
  • corgettes
  • broad beans
  • potatoes
  • globe artichokes
  • some kind of cabbage
  • complimentary basil leaves
  • mixed lettuce leaves
  • cherry tomatoes
  • bananas
  • nectarines
  • blackcurrants

I thought I’d show you what I’ve done with some of it!

I’ve made a few salads, drizzled in balsamic glaze or with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes.

I’ve drunk tea when working at home or at the weekends and had a cheeky post-workout banana

A make-it-up-as-you-go-along saussage and vegetable stew with potato and carrot mash which was approved of by all the family, including the fussy eater

There have been breakfasts- eggs on top of marmite on toast before a workout or porridge with fruit for long days at work

There was a slow cooker curry into which lots of green things were thrown

And I conquered my nemesis- broad beans by making a bean-puree, which was mixed with a kind of home made pesto using the basil that came in the box too, served with chicken legs on a bed of mixed grains.

And finally I’ve been nibbling these lovely cherry tomatoes like little sweets.

Not bad at all for 8 days of nutrition.

There’s still the globe artichokes to eat- I’ve learnt my lesson with them in terms of which bits you can and can’t eat, and have a wonderful lemon and artichoke pilaf recipe I hope to use again this week. Apart from that there’s a few potatoes and some carrots left, plus a a handful of  blackcurrants which were so wonderfully tangy I could only eat them in small amounts.

Are there negatives?

I think it depends on how adventurous you are. I love to cook and love cooking for my family, and thoroughly enjoy the challenge of looking at the veg box and working out a)what everything actually is (you can check online for anything you’re not sure about) and b)what on earth I’m going to do with it.

Something that’s helped with this enormously is the white board we have up in the dining room where we try to plan and write onto it our meals for most days of the week (alongside working days, childminder pickups, shoppings lists and social activities). Riverford also produce useful recipe cards with every box, they have a great recipe book which I own and they also have a whole page on their website dedicated to recipes.

If you are not adventurous or are very limited in terms of what fruit and veg you like, this might not be for you, however I’d recommend trying it as you might be surprised. There are very few vegetables that we don’t eat and I’ve managed to tackle a few of them- including broad beans (recipes like this Broad Bean Dip) and make something I like. I’ve learnt so much about different seasonal fruit and vegetables- I make a mean celeriac and blue cheese soup, I can make great coleslaw and I know how to tackle the different kinds of green cabbage type things from pak choi to spring greens and spinach.

Some people think this kind of thing is expensive, although Riverford have a great Price Comparison Page showing how their organic fruit and veg measures against most the large UK supermarkets and they tell you their method for working it out too. Having said that one reason we don’t order meat and so on is because (although it is lovely as we shared a large order with a friend before) that does work out quite expensive as far as I can tell.

There are other Veg Boxes avaialable including Abel and Cole and also some more local companies in some areas. Other people have looked at more than one company- Jorg&Olif have a comparison review on their site and good old Mumsnet have a discussion thread (though the first comment already had me remembering why I left such a catty, silly forum). All I can say is that we did have Abel and Cole in our old house and there must be a reason that we switched but I can’t think what it was now!

22 months

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So we are but a summer away from turning two over here. And what’s going on?

Well there are actual (almost) sentences going on. He knows who he is, and some of his friends’ names (or just one name on repeat). He can demand to go to the P.A.R.K (People’s Democratic Republic of Korea as we call it) or to see MAMNALS (Pets at Home on a lazy day, a local farm on a weekend) and is growing ever more sure of himself. We’ve even had a wee in a potty today (though three poo’s on the floor in the last 10 days….). I’d add we’re not potty training per se- but maybe potty encouraging (the concept of training a toddler or baby makes me feel uneasy!).

We are still going to Buggyfit (woo!) once a week, he attends Tumble Tweenies with the childminder and sometimes we make it to Sling Swing on a Friday. I’d like to do one proper class a week (preferably swimming) but the only suitable location (walkable) only has one lesson on a day we can make and it signs up too fast which is a shame.

He’s still going “up” in a wrap when tired which is really useful to help get him to sleep but also means we can get things done (today it was a 4 mile walk, but it y’know, could be housework!).

Up

Up

National Breastfeeding Week

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National Breastfeeding Week

Chink of light

Yes it’s National Breastfeeding Week, so I thought I’d celebrate by sharing my favourite proper pictures I took of him feeding.

Beads

It’s such a huge and important part of my (our) life and a very unique bond that documenting it is really important. A lot has changed since the first “proper” photo I took of him feeding…….

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Nothing really more to say here!

Nopoo

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Been meaning to post about this for a while! Need to find a use for my night feeds.

For no real for reason at all (though there are plenty of great reasons to do it), I’ve decided to attempt to go #nopoo I.e shampoo free. Reducing unnatural chemicals which build up the hair causing the overstimulation of oil glands, hence ‘needing’ to wash one’s hair every other day (more if exercising)!

I’ve read a lot about it and there a plethora of information on the web -like most subjects, some more helpful than others.

I’ve gone for the most simple though potentially slow method of bicarb ‘washes’ with Apple cider vinegar ‘conditioner’ to balance the pH. I’m doing this about twice a week at the moment with water washes when needed.

My hair has taken it… OK. It had an identity crisis early on in week 2 when it decided I had huge bouncing curls for one evening. I’ve not been through any awful greasy stage though I’m currently experiencing a waxiness that is likely due to us being in a hard water area. So this evening I made a cooked Apple puree that nopoo-ers call Applesauce which I cling filmed to my head for half an hour before washing out.

My new hair texture means that it takes approximately forever to dry now so waiting to see if my first Apple saucing has worked! In busy trying not to get sucked in to buying a squillion ‘natural’ products to try to find the perfect balance for my hair- much happier with store cupboard contents!

Here is a short photo  journey of the last almost-four-weeks!

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Stating to look wild in week one

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Nutty curls that sprang up one evening

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Week two, bit lank

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Crazy volume during week two

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Looking a bit dry

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After a vinegar ph balance

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End of week three

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Today at 25 days in

Let’s see where it goes next!

Another sling post

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Another sling post

I’ve been playing. I’m trying to get up ten minutes earlier in the morning and practice a different carry or finish in the sling!

Two days in (plus a play on sunday) and I’m getting there with techniques for distracting the wriggling small person and taking the time to get it right! So much to remember!


Not bad! I need to work on getting my back carries higher and tighter, and using the leg passes to pin the seat, but the pretty finishes (that take pressure off the shoulders so they’re practical too) are coming along.

What shall I try tomorrow?

(huge thanks to Wrap You In Love for wonderfully helpful tutorials without any irritating voiceover! 🙂

Playing with slings

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Playing with slings

And there’s another on it’s way! Lets hope small stuff lets me wrap him.. I don’t want to always have to wait until he’s asleep!!

Been having fun in preparation for the new sling library if we get it up and running! First sling meet next week so I need to brush up!

With my 3 I can do:
-Poppins Hip Carry
-Robbins Hip Carry
-Kangaroo TUB (Tied under bum)
-Ruck
-Half Jordans with leg pass (kind of)
-no sew ring sling

With my 7 I can do the above plus
-FWCC
-BWCC

And at some point I’ve managed both a saltwater finish and a candycane chestbelt but need to work on both!

So many more kinds of carry to learn!

ION I’ve lost my sling rings. They were on the sofa, then they weren’t!! I have a witness that they just DISAPPEARED! Help!