Review: Jacq & Rose Tri Tanote Teal

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Back when the weather was colder and wetter…..Oh wait. No. Back when the weather was colder……..Nope still not right. Back in November 2016 when the weather was much like it is now, I had the pleasure of hosting Tri Tanote Teal by Jacq and Rose. In my new “just write and let the words come” phase of review writing I decided this wrap deserved to be written about. Not that Jacq and Rose need reviews. They have become hugely successful in their short time in the wrap manufacturer world. People have cottened on to just how brilliant these wraps are already, but I would like to write down what I thought of the visitor.

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So, Jacq and Rose Tri Tanote Teal. Part of their Tri Oceanic range this wrap is 100% combed cotton and weighs in at 280gsm. That’s the facts. Oh apart form that it’s warp is ecru. Now you know everything. Except what makes this wrap so special.

At the time I was given Teal I wasn’t carrying much. Just the 20 minute walk to Nursery 2 days a week (thankfully that has changed in the following months) so I was worried about how much I would actually get to use it. It was handed over at Winter Wovenland. Brilliant. The only other time I got to carry was when in town. But at just over 2 years old the twins, more than ever, just wanted to walk. It was late, we were hot, I didn’t have the energy to be mum and put my foot down (hahaha. That made me laugh!) so we all walked.  From the Northern Quarter to the Christmas Market in Manchester’s Albert Square. On tiny 2 year old legs thats a long walk. By the time we arrived Henry was resting his head on my arm as he walked holding my hand. As I ordered my lunch he fell asleep in my arms. I hobbled, balancing food in one hand, Henry in the other and a bag dangling from my arm to the covered food court and dumped everything on the floor.  Why am I telling you this? Because finally asleep, I could get him in the wrap. And wrapping a sleeping child is a very different experience, especially in a crowded market under the gaze of strangers eyes.

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With Daddy off chasing girl shaped twin I was left to sort out Henry on my own. Wrapping a sleeper, like I said is very different and for me normally much harder. I always end up having to retighten because of how relaxed and slumped baby is initially. But with this…….I still think of it as possibly one of the best wrap jobs I’ve ever done. One of the most comfortable certainly. Surely this was some kind of amazing blend? I’ve never been one to think it couldn’t be supportive but for some silly reason I was suddenly questioning the mighty cotton!

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she lasted another 10 minutes

I don’t profess to be an expert in textiles. I can finally, confidently tell you which way the warp and weft go. I think. And I’m learning a little about weaves as I go along. But basically I know what I like and don’t like. Certainly back then I couldn’t have said that maybe it was the well thought out weave structure that made this wrap, with its lovely diagonal stretch so beautifully mouldable with a lovely balanced bounce and recoil. That perhaps it has a looser weave that gives it a blankety softness and amazing cush with not one dot of dig with a heavy sleeping toddler on my back. That these combined have created a wrap that is soft, bandage tight with very little effort and incredibly strong.

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The thought doesn’t stop with how the wrap has been constructed. It continues in its triangle design. The smaller triangles flowing in to larger (or the other way if that’s what floats your boat) is a beautiful design but it is also functional. It splits the wrap in to sections giving a beginner wrapper a visual aid to distinguish the the top and bottom of the wrap. But this isn’t just a wrap with triangles on it. Their placement is considered creating something visually different every time you look at it. It’s brilliant and beautiful.


It turned out I got to use this wrap several times over the week I had it, each time with a different carry and a different twin to properly test it. It passed the ruck test, the one shoulder test. I took it to our Sling Library where it was hugely popular with squish to toddler. We loved it so much that when Tri Diadema was released we snapped it up. The visiting Teal was a versatile size 4. For the library we went for a scary for some size 3. Could this wrap work as a shorty? In a word, yes. Yes yes yes!

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I was lucky enough to see and stroke some new design ideas while at The Wrap Show in London earlier this month. Very different but just as striking. I can’t wait to see what comes next from the amazing Jacq and Rose.

Additional Photographs

Further Info
Like everyone Jacq and Rose have a Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/jacqandrose/

And a lovely Chatter Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1576048922691036/

And a website
http://jacqandrose.co.uk

I also have a Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/millyshugs/

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Sycha Slings Retrobots review

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I recently played host to Sycha Slings Retrobots Spring Sky. Part of her affordable Main Line range (with a percentage going to charity) this 100% organic all cotton wrap has a weight of 235gsm and is 75cm wide. I was already aware of the lovely maker from her Facebook page Sling Sally so I was fully aware of her passion for babywearing and was really interested to see how I would feel about this wrap.

Retrobots stay was a short one but it was fun. I will admit I hugely underestimated this wrap. But in light of the amazing all cotton beauties that have been produced by several new wrap makers over recent months I shouldn’t have expected anything different from this one.

Not as soft and blankety as some of my recent visitors, this wrap has a tough skin but it hides a very gentle nature. With a tight, dense weave, it’s lovely snap should have been my first indicator of how well this wrap would perform.

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I had a quick go, just with a demo doll, at our Sling Library’s Wrap Geekery session so couldn’t get a proper feel for how it would preform with my toddlerbots.  But I did’t hate it so I guess it was off to a good start. As I didn’t have a willing traveller I decided to explore the wrap through photographing it. Looking closely the colours, which can’t help but jump out at you, changed. It wasn’t just a glaring, juxtaposed blue and green. These colours sit beautifully with each other and really show off and enhance different aspects of the design on both sides. The green robots on blue is subtle, softer than the the opposite side which invites closer inspection as it brings different details in to focus.

The fun design, though initially not to my taste really grew on me and it’s refreshing to have a wrap maker think about what might appeal to the traveller as well as the wearer.

So now the carrying of an actual child bit! How did it do? We walk to nursery. Well, I walk. If we all walked the 20 minute journey would easily take an hour. So I walk with one twin on my back and one in a buggy.  On this day it was boy shaped twin’s turn but not before some ooos and ahhhs from them both.

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I went for a ruck, my preferred carry of late, with a Tibetan finish. And here again I was surprised by this wrap. It moved beautifully in to place, moulded well around Henry. With just a little bounce it held impeccably on the 20 minute walk down to nursery with absolutely no sag. That snap….. it makes it strong! I had a little dig on my left shoulder just before reaching our destination but that was totally down to me and my arms during the process of wrapping and not the cloth itself. The ruck is a misunderstood carry, I think partly because we are taught it as an easy beginner carry. But it’s intricate and takes time to get to know, just like each wrap we use. And Retrobots and the Ruck work perfectly together.

It’s a fun journey, (we chat, we laugh, we do bin slalom) and on this occasion this wrap couldn’t help but make it even more so. It’s design, it’s comfort, it’s colours which perfectly matched my little boys wellies!

I feel bad about how many times I have written about my surprise at Retrobots. It deserves more. But actually sometimes it’s nice to be surprised by something. To have your expectations and “set in your ways” way challenged. And on this occasion I was happy to be surprised.

Additional photos

 

Further information

Visit Sycha Slings on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/sychaslings/

And join her chatter group for even more and a chance to test the wraps for yourself
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1724753687800194/

And for all you non Facebookers there is also a website
https://sychaslings.com

And whilst you are looking at all these pages why not head over to mine for a quick peruse!
https://www.facebook.com/millyshugs/

 

 

 

 

 

Ruck n Roll Handwovens Sparkly Artemis Review

We are lucky enough to have some amazing handwoven wrap makers in the UK. One of those is Jo-anne from Ruck n Roll Handwovens. And I was lucky enough to have the amazing Sparkly Artemis here for a few days and wanted to tell everyone about just how good it is.

The Arrival
It arrived just in time for Salford Sling and Meet’s Saturday Wrap Geekery session having been kindly sent at very short notice by the lady behind the loom (or is it in front of it?). I picked it up from the post office and couldn’t even wait to get back to the car before ripping open the packaging.

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I am always a fan of a wrap that comes with a little bit extra. That something that makes the receiving of it an experience too. It doesn’t need it. The wrap speaks for itself in terms of quality and style but in this case it’s a thoughtful gesture and it was lovely to open the post bag to find an amazing Ruck N Roll bag. The bag turned out to be very useful on the nursery run so it had practical uses and was by no means just a gimmick.

Inside the bag, tied up with ribbon was one of the plumpest and softest wraps I’ve felt. If I had to pick a word to describe it that word would be smooshy! I instantly wanted to wrap myself in it, or at least rub it against my face (like something out of an a advert for fabric softener!) But the twins wouldn’t let me. They were instantly all over it and the seal of approval from them really is something. What caught Matilda’s eye? The beautiful blues and purples gradually blending  into each other. A fan of Frozen she overlooked the ice white with its gentle shimmer and the sparkle of the stellina. 

My (and the twins) initial exploration of the wrap was really positive. Made up of 75% Merino, 20% Silk and 5% Sparkle Magic (totally true) with a Tencel warp I was pleased to discover it was uber soft but with none of the scratch I feared as a wool hater. It was floppy and draped beautifully over the edge of the drawer unit it was opened on. So after taking several thousand images I packed it back in the bag and headed to the geekery session where someone might actually get to wrap with it.

The Geekery Session
We have some brilliant wrappers in our group and they were eager to give Sparkly Artemis a go. There were lots of comments on it’s softness. But also a lot of comments about how well it wrapped, how easily it slid in to place, how well it held. I was left disappointed that my children wanted to paint and play with balloons (we run at the same time as a craft session) rather than go up! 😉 


The Nursery Run
Finally it was my turn to use it. To actually see how it wrapped, to see how it held my 2 and a half year old girl twin, smaller and lighter than the boy shaped one but much more bouncy! He tests for weight, she tests for wriggle. And to see how I coped with wool. This is a blend I had never tried before, not being a fan of wool (or so I thought) and I am completely new to Tencel.

Artemis is heavyweight, something that was noticed at the Geekery session. But it’s 347gsm weight is disguised and hidden beneath it’s airy fluffiness and is forgotten as soon as you start to wrap. 

So on to the wrapping. I went for a Double Hammock finished with a Kia Belt with girl shaped twin. It’s odd, the softness of this wrap meant that the pleasure from using it started instantly with the tactile sensation of just picking it up. It felt cosy and familiar so I wasn’t worried about having to get to know it and it’s wrap qualities. I hope that makes sense! To use the normal descriptors, the second hammock pass slid in to place beautifully, it wrapped like a bandage, incredibly mouldable, it was so easy to tighten, it had amazing grip. I already said that Matilda likes to wriggle and bounce and this wrap allowed for that but with a rock solid hold. There was no dig, no slippage, just the right amount of bounce and recoil. But it was also so much more. I keep coming back to this word. Cosy.   

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Fresh instead of sweaty

 

And what about the blend? I have always believed that wool is hot. Everything wool I have ever tried has been hot. And itchy. Of course I had no idea that there were different types of wool. I never understand that actually its temperature regulating and I think that combined with the breathability of the Tencel makes this wrap just outstanding. Normally by the time I get my traveller all wrapped up I’m sweating and more than a little rosey cheeked but with this I still felt fresh when I finished. And it was a pretty warm day. 

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As well as all of that this wrap is also fun. It’s bright, it actually sparkles and it can happily hold a dancing toddler while her mummy sings “Oh the Grand Old Duke of York”. Repeatedly!

I was totally won over by Sparkly Artemis. I’m normally team mono but I have a soft spot for a pop of a nice blue and the tones of this work so well together especially with the contrasting black that I fell in love. That in addition to it’s amazing wrap qualities and I was totally smitten.

Additional Photos:
My “I don’t want to send it on but maybe it will be OK if I take another 1000 pictures to remember it by” photos!

 

 

Further Resources:
Head on over to Facebook to find out more about Ruck N Roll Handwovens.
https://www.facebook.com/rucknrollhandwovens/

My Facebook page, Milly’s Hugs Babywearing Consultancy
https://www.facebook.com/millyshugs/

Salford Sling and Meet
https://www.facebook.com/salfordslingandmeet/

Tencel (a few blog posts)
http://kangaroomamas.net/post/121074926003/tencel-the-latest-blend-trend

https://www.poewovens.com/blogs/bonjour/16780552-lets-get-tencel

What next?

So I’m back staring at that blank page again, struggling with what to write next. I have several posts I want to write so what’s stopping me?

I could write a list. It wouldn’t be a long one but the few things I would put on it would probably not be true. Well not entirely true. In truth its confidence. Plain and simple.

But I’m working on that and hopefully my page and book will be filled soon.

Xx

The Salford Sling and Meet origin story. 

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Our Story

So where did Salford Sling and Meet come from? In early January 2015 I was chatting to Sam in the Vine cafe at a regular Friday parents coffee group. She said she had been talking to one of the mums about revamping the small sling meet that said mum, Michelle ran and turning it in to a more structured organisation. There were some fantastic libraries around back then in Stockport, Bolton, Warrington to name just a few. Salford, however had nothing really local and already Michelle and Sam could see the need for a Sling Library.

I had met Michelle in 2014 when the twins were just over a week old and she showed me how to use my Close Caboo. I had then gone on to buy a buckle carrier. It was while wearing Henry in the carrier and pushing Matilda in the buggy that I ran in to Sam one rainy day in December in the queue for a cash machine. She was also wearing one child and pushing the other. It was the first time I had seen anyone local baby wearing so while we then queued for coffee in The Vine we got chatting.

But back to January 2015. By that time I was keen to learn more about the world of babywearing and was just starting to learn to wrap so I was quick to offer my very limited services in any way I could. At the same time Sam was also getting to know the very lovely Hayley, also with a new baby, also a babywearer, and also keen to be involved.

So two very quickly became four and we starting making decisions on how to proceed. Do we run as a charity, an unincorporated association, a full business? You know, all the fun stuff! And all stuff I will admit it took a while to fully understand. Then location, days to meet, how often to meet, how do we start building a library of carriers with no money, what carriers do we buy?

Sam quickly set about rebranding and with her ideas and her husband’s expert design skills the Salford Sling and Meet brand was born.

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Our first meet was on a Wednesday morning in The Vine Cafe. We had a handful of carriers and lots of tea, coffee and cake. Now we just needed some parents. And we got some! We weren’t overwhelmed but we had a good few turn up for that first session. Most already had a little experience, a few were complete beginners. Everyone got the help they needed and we all got a chance to chat about our shared interest over coffee and cake. We were all buzzing.

We very quickly outgrew our first location. It was great to see so many new people come week after week and we wanted to be able to offer them a bigger space. Obviously our biggest concern about a move was losing such easy access to coffee and cake! We quickly found our new home at Salford Elim Church and were relieved to find that there were two kettles and that not only did the local Aldi have lots of cake but that there were a few not bad bakers among the group. Phew.

People come to baby wearing for many different reasons but what they take away from it often reaches further than they ever expected. For this reason we are not just a sling library. We are also a social meet. A place people can come if they need to chat, if they need company, if they want someone else to hold their baby for five minutes while they drink a cup of tea AND eat a biscuit at the same time!

Thankfully in our new location we continued to grow, seeing an endless stream of Mums and Dads come through at different points in their baby wearing journey. Some come just once, some still come now. Lasting friendships have formed between parents and first friendships made among the children.  So once again, after several months of growth and two fundraisers we were ready to move on to another location. Now down at SAYF Salford with a library of 100 carriers, what our current location has in common with all the others is that it is right in the heart of our community.

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Why do we do it?

I talked briefly about the “boring” stuff about setting up a library. Business, charity, unincorporated association? What was always important to us was the community.

Support within the local community is essential for new mums and dads. Whether it’s a parenting support group, a stay and play or a coffee morning, the more opportunities for parents to find the help, support and sometimes just company they need the better. I have lived in this area for 16 years but didn’t feel part of the community until I became a mum. With Salford Sling and Meet I get to give back to that community that embraced me when I most needed it.

This belief in the much needed support system was one held by us all so when it came to how we would run there was never any question. We would be a volunteer run organisation. We charge a donation based entry fee and we have a hire fee, but none of us take a wage. The “profit” we make goes back in to the library. To increasing the range of carriers we offer, to paying for training for us and our growing group of amazing volunteers so we can offer the best advice we can. We decided to do this because we wanted to help people.

The Future

So where to now? Myself and Sam recently did our consultancy training and will be joined in February by Hayley. What does this mean? It means we have had extra training, more in-depth training. It means we will be able to offer one to one sessions and group workshops. It will mean more me, more Sam and more Hayley focused on you. Babywearing, the carrying community and the people that visit Salford Sling and Meet  have helped me realise that my future lies in baby wearing education and this has led to the creation of my consultancy.

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Community.

One of our group recently described Salford Sling and Meet as her village. People often talk about finding their “people”, their family not though blood but through the bonds of friendship.  Not just within parenthood but all walks of life.  To hear that is just amazing. I guess it means we are doing and achieving exactly what we wanted to.

Our village (Additional Pictures)

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/salfordslingandmeet/

https://www.facebook.com/millyshugs/

https://www.facebook.com/olliandellibabywearing/

Review of Barbarian by Coco-N

I’ve never reviewed a wrap before. I know a lot of wrap lingo – weave, bounce, cush, stretch, picky etc. – and even what most of the words mean. Sometimes I even use them in the correct context (self high five!) but generally I worry that I will use them wrong and seem foolish. But I’m going to give it a go. With or without the use of the correct terms is yet to be determined!

So, Coco-N Barbarian. Coco-N is a new brand from the people behind the lovely Mokosh. When I received this wrap they were still in the testing stage but Barbarian has since been released. The lovely Ellie messaged and asked if I would like to be among a group who would get to host this intriguing beauty. (The more I get to know it the more intrigued I am!) Never one to say no to trying a wrap I was quick with my yes.

It arrived just as we finished loading the twins in to the car and had the key in the ignition to head out for their birthday picnic. The postman, even if he doesn’t know what’s in the parcels, has clearly come to the know how happy they make me as he almost pounced on the car to make sure I didn’t leave. Thank you kind kind man! Obviously it came with us.

No fancy unboxing this time. The packaging was ripped apart in the boot of the car. A quick “Ooooo” at the white bag in the matching Celtic inspired pattern as the wrap itself. Another “Ooooo” followed by a “that’s lovely” at the black ribbon with the silver pendant attached to it. All tossed aside (carefully 😉) so I could get my sleeping boy shaped twin wrapped and up the hill (we were running late!) to consume mountains of food and cake.


I have always loved thin wraps. Big fan of all cotton initially and over time got to know, appreciate and then love blends. But always on the thinner floppier end of the spectrum. I don’t have particularly picky shoulders but as the kids have grown I have needed more Cush. How am I doing so far with the wrap language?!

Thanks to a lovely friend I have had the opportunity to try out some lovely wrap brands. Her taste and needs lean towards thickness and having the chance to try these as my babies grow has been a real eye opener for me.

So while I knew Barbarian had a high GSM, a dense weave and was thicker than I am used to using on a daily basis I was pleasantly surprised by how light it felt in hand. Thick but not scary “I’m not sure I can wrap with this thick.” It had a lovely texture but an equally lovely smooth softness to it that surprised me. And then of course the colour. That beautiful deep green almost juxtaposed but working perfectly with the teal/green/blue mix of the “wrong” side.


So my first “up” with Barbarian was the a Double Hammock with a candy cane chest belt. Henry (the boy shaped one, 2 years old, 24ish lbs) was fast asleep and remained so while I wrapped him. Wrapping a sleeping child is a very different experience. I have done it many times but it doesn’t always go perfectly. I can sometimes tell the quality of the wrap by how successful a process it is and if by the end baby is still asleep. This time was a successful possibly because of the fantastic qualities of this wrap. I was pleased by how easily it slid in to place, how tight and snug I managed to get the chest pass. There were chunky handfuls of wrap but it wasn’t unwieldy or difficult to wrap with. Sometimes wrapping a sleeper leads to sagging which leads to digging. But I didn’t feel any at all. The wrap held in place perfectly, the texture and pattern giving it a lovely grip.

 

Henry woke soon after reaching the top of the hill and that normally requires quick removal from the wrap so he can play. But not today. Today there was an absolute refusal to being removed. I take that as a sign of a good wrap rather than the mood he is in. He did eventually come down and remained down for the rest of the day. Too nice to throw into a bag it became a lovely if somewhat oversized scarf!

As the twins have grown and tandem carrying had become harder I have become more of a weekend wearer when there are two of us around. But after selling my unused double buggy and getting a single I have had much more opportunity to wear and walk to the places I would normally drive. So I was pleased to be able to give Barbarian another go.

Up Matilda (girl shaped twin, also 2, 21ish lbs) went in a Ruck Tied Tibetan for the 20 minute walk down to the local stay and play. She’s a fairly dainty compared to Henry but at 2 she’s not squish light. I was incredibly impressed by how comfortable Barbarian was in this carry. I don’t hate the Ruck but it’s not a go to which is why I really wanted to try it.  The wrap had just the right amount of bounce to stop it being diggy but not so much that it became saggy. It stayed in place perfectly and she was as high at the end of the journey as at the start. For the 25 minute journey home (it’s uphill all the way!) Matilda was replaced by a heavier Henry in a simple ruck and I will admit to some slight digging by the time I got home but with new buggy envy he was not the most willing wrapee on this occasion!

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So after a week and more chances to wear than I had hoped for I was sad to have to pack up Barbarian. Perhaps not one I would buy I was still not looking forward to saying goodbye. Having missed out on the unboxing I decided to document my reboxing before sending it on to the next person to enjoy.

To look at, Barbarian wouldn’t be my first choice in terms of design. I’m not a huge fan of geometric, repeating patterns but the intricacies in this on closer inspection were really lovely. For me the lower contrast “wrong side” softened the pattern and it really looked beautiful. It’s the wrap qualities that really make this a great wrap. I don’t know enough to know if that’s because of the blend, the weave, the design (or just my awesome wrap skills!) but maybe that doesn’t matter. Beautiful grip and glide, lovely subtle bounce and a decent amount of cush. What more could I need?

The wrap: CocoN Barbarian 65% ELS cotton 15% EF merino wool 10% Tencel 10% Pima cotton
The Wrapee’s: Henry and Matilda twinlets. 2 years old. 24lbs and 21lbs
The carries: Double Hammock CCCB, Ruck Tied Tibetan, Ruck

More photos

 

 

Unwrapping a wrap

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I’ve never owned an Ali Dover. I have tried and loved several but don’t have one to call my own (yet). On release day I tried for Sweet for my amazing friend while others tried to get a Steel for our library. We were all unsuccessful. When I managed to grab one of the cancellations on Monday I was as excited as if I had scored for myself! Never mind the adrenaline rush of a fastest fingers release, this had my heart beating even more. Knowing there was only 2. Knowing that I wouldn’t be the only one with notifications switched on. I was shaking when the success message came up!

Then the wait for it to arrive. It wasn’t long, less than a week, but it felt as long as the last few weeks of pregnancy. Or like waiting for Christmas Day. Basically a lifetime! I was upstairs folding laundry when it arrived. My husband called up “I think a wrap is here” Thundering paws down the stairs, I snatched it from him and told him I needed time to open this one!! As I write I am thinking how ridiculous this must sound, especially as this wasn’t even for me! It’s just a piece of fabric right? (Obviously we all know that’s not the case. No matter the wrap or the company it came from it’s never just a piece of fabric).

I took the brown paper package upstairs and cleared the top of my bedside cabinet ready for photographs. Inside I found a small brown paper bag and inside that Steel. An Ali Dover luggage label held in place with a string bow. Perfect in its simplicity.

And then the three stripes. The three monochrome stripes. The beautiful thick dark grey stripe perfectly just off centre. So far this wrap was made for me.

I quickly decided that the dark wood was not right for this wrap beyond this initial surface exploration so moved to the clean white and dusky grey of the nursery and continued my journey.

After obsessing over the string and luggage tag for several (possibly too many!) photographs I was finally ready to untie and then noticed the sneaky slither of orange tempting me in.

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Unfolding revealed more waves of coloured stripes, the bold tones beautifully complimenting the greys and creams. I had seen lots of spam but I wasn’t prepared for how amazing it would be in real life.

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It seems silly to get so excited about opening a wrap. Surely the memories are made with the wearing of it? A beautiful package doesn’t a good wrap make and a wrap that arrives in a plastic postage bag doesn’t make it sub standard. But it’s the small, thoughtful and personal touches that stick.

Was the wrap meant to be revealed this way? Did Ali fold each wrap the same with the reveal in mind? Maybe this was the only one folded this way, maybe they all are but my expectations and the hype surrounding the brand has changed my experience of it? Who knows? Who cares?

So the wrap is revealed. Now to photograph the crap out of it!

It’s impossible to take a bad photo of this wrap. Folded, rolled, thrown in a heap on the floor. I thought I did’t like stripes but Ali Dover stripes are not normal stripes and Steel’s stripes are just wow!

Remembering that this is a wrap for the library with punters ready to hire it, I put it in the wash and hung it to dry on my mums long washing line. And there was Steel in all it’s glory, described by someone as an Ali Dover flag.

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Like I said, I don’t own an Ali Dover but I’m a fan. I see the effort and thought that goes in to her process, the ethics that her company is built on and this shows in the way this wrap looks and the way it wraps (I did eventually wrap with it!). What an amazing experience!

Why I started baby wearing

“So Twins!”

WHAT?!!!!!

After experiencing some cramps at about 7 weeks and being a very nervous person (and incredibly impatient) we decided to go for a private scan at 8 weeks.  As the sonographer swept across my stomach and showed us our beautiful baby with it’s amazing heart beat me and Saul turned to each other with cliched tears in our eyes and shared a moment. Look what we had made, how amazing!

“So twins!”

What we had missed while gushing at our teeny mustard seed was her continuing to sweep and say “and there’s another heartbeat”

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My tiny “twin a and twin b.” I was hit by instant panic and 8 million thoughts about how we couldn’t afford twins, how I wouldn’t be able to cope with twins. My happy tears turned in to panicked tears. Not unhappy. I was still over the moon. But now I was also panicked. Where would we fit two babies? We would have to move, we would have to decorate before we put the house on the market, Oh My God…..packing! How would I ever be able to leave the house again with two babies in tow?  Did I mention the panic?!

As my pregnancy progressed and I got more used to the idea of two babies, we filled our house (that we decided not to sell) full of twin stuff including a giant Bugaboo Donkey pushchair. This thing was enormous! It wouldn’t fit through the front door, and there was no way it was going to fit in the boot of my beloved Fiat 500 (I now drive a Vauxhall Zafira FYI!). Along with every other clueless soon to be first time mother I had my checklist of “must haves.” I also had a pregnant Sister in Law who was 4 months further in to her journey than me. She told me about the Close Caboo she had bought so of course I went out and bought two of them. I didn’t really know why I was buying them.

One of my biggest fears about being a twin mum was how I was going to get out and about with two babies (after 2 years this is still a worry to me). I was sure I was going to be house bound.  Going out with two babies and a huge double buggy was going to be next to impossible, especially to places like Manchester’s very busy Christmas Markets which I love.

Then in what seemed like the blink of an eye I had two babies! Saul took four weeks off and we went out with our giant buggy. It did’t fit through the door of the local cafe but we forced ourselves in and were welcomed like old friends.

Then one day at a lovely group at The Vine Cafe (said local cafe) one of the mums showed me how to use the Caboo. After 3 weeks the carriers had just sat in their boxes unused. I think it was Matilda that had first go. They were easy going babies in general but when I put her in the Caboo she rested her head on me and fell asleep. A week later it was Henry’s turn. I had gone home after my first go and told a skeptical Saul how amazing it was. He was sceptical! I had tried a few times in the week, one attempt fairly successful, one not so much! So with Michelle’s help I tried again. Head down, fast asleep and a closeness that made my heart skip a beat, just like the week before with Matilda. Again I headed home elated. This time Saul was less skeptical.

So we decided to head out and about and give the caboos their first public outing. A vintage fair, in an old Victorian Warehouse, not easily accessible for a double buggy. We were not however ready to go buggy free so we lugged it up the stairs. After a mooch we sat down for coffee and cake and decided we were brave enough to give it a go.

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That was the moment we became baby wearers. We didn’t look back. There were bumps in the road (turned out I didn’t like the Caboo so got a Beco) but I wouldn’t have coped without carrying the twins. I never managed to carry both at once when they were tiny but when I was alone and needed it it saved my sanity several times. It made going out alone manageable and made going out as a family easy and enjoyable. We went to the Christmas Markets every weekend!

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What baby wearing gave me was a freedom I never thought I would have. It gave me the confidence to venture beyond the 4 walls of my living room and then beyond the safety of my neighbourhood. What baby wearing means to me now, 2 years later…… well that’s for another post.

Staring at the first page of a sketch book

So. It seems that starting a blog is like starting a new sketchbook. Staring at that empty first page without a clue what to put on it. Then deciding maybe it’s best to leave that first page blank for now and come back to it later. Take some pressure off! Then staring at that blank second page, still without a clue what to write.

In fact I am not even starting a new blog. I started this one 3 years ago and even did a post about a very hipster cafe in Edinburgh. And then I panicked. I had my first page filled and realised I now had an entire book to fill.

So here I am, 3 years later still unsure if anything I write will be interesting enough for anyone to want to read but I’m going to do it anyway. I don’t have a diary so maybe this is my alternative.

So where to start? Perhaps with a little bit about me? I’m Melinda. Three years ago I was just Melinda, working in Starbucks, newly married after 16 years with the amazing Saul. So I suppose 3 years ago I was Melinda, Starbucks worker and wife. Now I am Melinda, wife and mother. I list Melinda separately as, although I am wife and mother I am still desperately trying to hold on to Me(linda). So you know the wife part, the mother part is my nearly 2 year old twins Henry and Matilda. I no longer have a paying job but I co run a community volunteer led sling library and am about to do a baby wearing consultancy course so perhaps self employment is in my future.

In other news, I love TV. Love it! Buffy, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, anything by Aaron Sorkin and have just started binge watching The Gilmore Girls. I have a eclectic taste. I read, though not as much as I did 2 years ago unless you count Stick Man, That’s not my cat and Max at Night? Big fan of music. I’m vaguely crafty. I am passionate about baby wearing. It is a very real possibility that this blog will be mostly filled by baby wearing! Oh and I like to take photos. So that’s me. And that’s all I have to say for now. See you all in three years!

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