10 months.

New year, new monthly update. Christmas has flown by! We were so excited in the run up with all the decorating and gift wrapping and BAM just like that it’s all over. Hope everyone enjoyed the festive season whatever you choose to celebrate.

Much to my dismay I will be finishing maternity leave and returning to work next week. It’s been a bit of battle because I have ended up changing locations and days at the last minute so had to rush around and find a nursery since I had childcare sorted out with my mum. Anyway it’s all done now and Emery seems to be coping well when we have popped into nursery. Fingers crossed this carries on.

SLEEP. Our biggest achievement this month has probably been with sleep. We made have made some breakthroughs and even had nights where Emery has slept through for twelve hours!!! I think I will do a blog post all about our sleep journey so it’s documented. We do sometimes have one or two wake ups during the night which require a small bottle feed of 3oz but hopefully these will decrease over time.

WEANING. Don’t think anything exciting has been happening with food. Emery seems to be better with being spoonfed now but he still enjoys finger feeds, even if a lot of it ends up on the floor. When I do cheat foods and buy premade stuff he copes fine with the 10 month selection that is lumpy.

I have batch cooked a lot of finger foods ready for my mum’s freezer. Hopefully I can keep this up and do at least one meal each week and that provides five or six portions that can be used later on.

We’ve had two top teeth break through. Emery keeps sticking his tongue out and touching them. Perhaps that is why he was sticking his tongue out before as he could feel them ready to erupt. Touch wood but he hasn’t seemed too bothered by his teeth coming out. For some reason Emery doesn’t want me to brush his teeth anymore. He will open his mouth for me but after two swipes he no longer wants the brush in his mouth.

MOBILITY. Crawling is still a favourite activity. Emery was given a push along style walker which he does use but not always properly. Sometimes he walks on his knees and pushes the walker!

He’s very confident pulling himself up and surfs along the sofa or other low ledges but no signs of walking yet. Husband says Emery has been able to stand and support himself a few times but I don’t think he is that close. Perhaps I need to hold onto his hands and encourage him to stand. Although when I do Emery often just bends his knees.

SKILLS. Emery surprised me one day during a swimming lesson. The teacher was taking each child and saying “bye” to everyone in a circle. After one baby did an actual wave Emery sort of started waving. He also surprised my parents and brother when he did it at their house. Now I can’t remember where he did it first, but Emery must have liked the reaction as he has been doing it more often now. He understands “bye bye” more than “hi”.

Clapping hands is another movement he has mastered and enjoys the reaction he gets from that.

Emery has also learnt to point with his index finger, usually the right one. He also uses his index finger to touch things like in the “That’s Not My…” books. He can see which area is textured and pokes at it with his finger.

My husband thought Emery was left handed as that’s the hand he usually waves with but I think that is because of the way I carry Emery and it’s easier for me to help him wave his left hand. He points more with his right hand so I think that may be the dominant hand.

OTHER. I think Emery received more Christmas presents than everyone else combined but don’t think anyone minded. Obviously Emery enjoyed playing with the wrapping paper and the sparkly bows but he has also enjoyed playing with new toys that make different sounds and have different textures.

We have recently graduated to using the actual bath tub for bath time instead of filling up a small plastic tub and lugging it into the bedroom. Not sure which is worse for my back! Emery loves splashing about in the big tub though and he has a few more toys to play around with.

Lately Emery has been even more annoying during nappy changes. For a while I could get him to stand up against something but now he sometimes refuses to do that and crawls away super fast. Lying down on his back is a no go unless there is company and Emery is surprisingly cooperative.

We have had some settling in sessions at nursery to prepare for the big day. The first time we went in and I plopped him down Emery immediately bawled. I sat with him for an hour and he came out of his shell quite quickly and enjoyed playing with all the new toys. The second and third time I left him alone for longer periods and he doesn’t seem phased by it at all. Hopefully when he is in for the whole day he will love it and get tired so I can have a great night’s sleep!

Is anyone else putting their baby into nursery soon? Or is your child already in nursery? How did they cope? How did you cope?

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Cruelty free skincare in the UK.

Becoming cruelty free may be one of your new year resolutions. If so, good luck and feel free to message me for advice on cruelty free shopping and I’ll do my best to help. One of the things I found tougher to buy (cruelty free cosmetics was easy peasy) was facial skincare. After doing some research I’m pretty happy with the options out there. There are LOTS.

If you want to pick something easily from the high street then have a look in Lush, Marks & Spencer, or Superdrug. Their own brand skincare is all cruelty free. M&S has a lot of different ranges aimed at various skin types. Lush always has a smiley salesperson who is willing to help you out.

The brands listed below are not sponsored or affliated. I have not used them all so cannot comment on every single one. I will mention stockists but obviously you can buy them online. Most (if not all) have the Cruelty Free International ‘leaping bunny‘ logo on their products and they avoid using ingredients such as parabens, pthalates, SLS etc so there’s no need to worry about nasties.

A’kin – Australian brand where all the products are 100% vegan and cruelty free. They don’t use any ‘nasty’ ingredients and are committed to reducing their carbon footprint. Find them at Holland and Barrett, Superdrug, Waitrose.

Balanceme – tried a sample of one of their cleansers in a Birchbox which I enjoyed. The price range is mid to high and you can find them in Sainsbury’s, M&S, Waitrose. Join their mailing list to receive promotional offers.

Bee Good – UK brand that aims to source all their ingredients from home soil. Power to the British bees! I have only seem them in Waitrose.

Bryt – products with fun packaging and also do a range for men. I have only seen them in Waitrose but have read good things online.

Bulldog Skincare – British mens skincare brand that you can find easily everywhere! Prices are low and products are suitable for vegans. Check them out at Boots, Tesco, Superdrug, Asda.

Burt’s Bees – US brand that has been around for ages and their lip balms and salves are great. Can find them in lots of stores; M&S, Debenhams, Boots, Holland and Barrett, Superdrug, John Lewis. Note that their parent company (Clorox) is not cruelty free.

Dermalogica – higher end brand that is found at Selfridges, John Lewis and Harvey Nichols. As well as being recognised by CIF and PETA, they also source palm oil in a way that does not affect local wildlife.

Liz Earle – their hot cloth cleanser has won so many awards and you know it’s good when Aldi does a copycat version of your product! Prices start fairly low. Shop this brand at Boots or John Lewis.

Man Cave – obviously a brand that is aimed at the less fair sex. British company where ingredients are sourced on the isles. Pick them up at Boots or Waitrose.

Neal’s Yard Remedies – aromatherapy specialists with a great range of skincare too. They have their own stores in bigger towns and cities but are also found in John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.

Nourish – not only are all their products cruelty free, they are also organic, ethically sourced, and vegan! The range is produced by a scientist so it’s got lots of research and knowledge behind it. I have only seen them at Waitrose.

Pixi – UK brand by a makeup artist. They do cosmetics as well as skincare products. Cute chic brand that you can find in M&S or Liberty of London. They are available on ASOS and you may be able to get a discount sometimes.

Urban Veda – holistic company where all products are vegan and also certified by the Vegetarian Society. Packaging is recyclable! Find them at Waitrose or Holland and Barrett.

There are sooo many options for cruelty free skincare and you don’t have to comprise on the ingredients or price either! After doing this research I can’t wait to go shopping for my new facial cleanser but I think I have made it too hard for myself now as there are so many choices in front of me.

Have you got any cruelty free skincare product recommendations? What are your favourite cruelty free brands?

Review – Little Ones fragrance free baby wipes

Brand: Sainsbury’s Little Ones

Pack size: 64 wipes

Price: 60p per pack (0.01p per wipe) / multipack offers available

You may have previously read my other review of the fragranced version of the Sainsbury’s own brand wipes. In it I discussed how my baby had a bout of nappy rash when I tested them (could have just been a coincidence) and the store kindly swapped that half used pack of wipes for the fragrance free sensitive version.

Like the fragranced version these wipes are a good size and have a good amount of moisture in them. They also have that foamy texture that I’m not keen on but may not bother other people.

Packaging wise, each packet has the plastic lid to seal in moisture and to prevent the wipes from drying out. The wipes nor the packaging can be recycled. These wipes have the ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo on the back to state they are cruelty free.

Unfortunately, when we started using these wipes Emery began to have a bit of redness on his bottom, even though the wipes are marketed as sensitive and fragrance free. I didn’t want to let it get as bad as last time in case it was wipes causing irritation so I stopped using them.

It’s a shame that these wipes didn’t work well for Emery because they are a good price point and are a certified cruelty free product which are easy to get hold of (who doesn’t have a Sainsbury’s in their town?). I would suggest trying these for your baby and if they do not suit him or her then take them back to customer services. Sainsbury’s have a brilliant refund policy for their own brand goods.

Have you tried these wipes from Sainsbury’s? Did they work for you?

Review of Splash About Happy Nappy.

Most baby swim schools will require your child to wear a Happy Nappy. It is a special containment swim pant by the company Splash About. You still need to put a disposable swim nappy underneath. Splash About also do a reusable nappy and swim liners.

Swim schools often have a stash of these nappies and will help you choose the best size for your baby at their first lesson. Don’t be surprised if they are tight and difficult to pull on. They are designed to fit snugly. Note that the Happy Nappy does not contain urine, it is used to secure poo leakage because it is not hygienic to have any brown things floating around the pool. These incidents always end in pool closure and no swim school wants to lose money from cancelled classes.

I bought the Splash About inner layer as I liked that it was reusable. I found this to be of poor quality. The Velcro just doesn’t hold together very well and after washing the tabs are no longer aligned and curl over and look like they jab into baby. Although his skin was red from the Velcro awkwardly pushing into his belly, Emery never complained so perhaps it looks worse than it feels. Luckily we haven’t yet had to deal with a code brown situation so cannot comment on how it holds up in those situations. You can also purchase a liner to go inside the wrap but I read reviews saying the liners were like a dried out baby wipe so I did not buy those.

The outer Happy Nappy seems to be of good quality. The main part is made of neoprene which feels comfortable enough. Then there is stretchy fabric along the waist and at the leg openings. These are the tight areas that contain any accidents so make sure your nappy layer is underneath the waist band. The Happy Nappy comes in a variety of colours and prints and you may find the cuter styles to be more expensive but keep in mind that your baby will eventually grow out of it and you’ll need to get the next size up.

Our first Happy Nappy had a navy blue body and red and white stripes on the bands. Very nautical. I have no complaints apart from the colour fading after washing. The fit stayed the same and although it does dry fairly quickly, I have used this when a little damp and Baby had no complaints.

You probably have no choice about buying a Happy Nappy if you are planning to take your baby to swimming lessons but feel confident that they will do a good job and are not a waste of money. I’d skip on the inner layer and the liners though.

[[ since writing this review a new version of the Happy Nappy has been released which is supposed to contain the inner nappy better if you are using disposable swim nappies. We will purchase one next term and review it in the new year ]]

Are you planning to take your baby to a swim school? Have you tried any other swim nappies?

Minimal baby wardrobe.

On my quest to accumulate less and to waste less I’ve tried to keep Emery’s wardrobe quite simple. I have also attempted to buy mostly gender neutral items since if we are lucky enough to also have a little girl then I won’t waste lots of money buying new things (also I am not keen on the boring baby blue items). Being thrifty I will try and buy things for the next age group in the sale and therefore save a few more pennies.

It’s important to check your stock as I have found myself with too many body suits in the 6-9 month category. But hey, if you do find a tee or some leggings you really like then go for it. Make sure it *sparks joy*.

Super minimal.

7 x bodysuits

7 x sleepsuits

( 2 x cardigans and 1 x hat if it is cold )

Even with poop explosions and food mess, you will have enough clothes to last a few days assuming you do laundry washes often. Babies don’t know what pyjamas are so sleepsuits work great during the day time. And if your bedtime routine involves a bath then any change of clothes will be normal. I like babies wearing baby clothes and sleepsuits are great as you don’t need to get gloves or socks.

Option two.

7 x bodysuits

3 x sleepsuits

4 x leggings/trousers

4 x long sleeve bodysuits or tops

( 2 x cardigans and 1 x hat if it is cold )

If you like your baby wearing outfits then his might suit you better. I do enjoy a pair of fun leggings on Emery. I imagine they are comfy too. They are also easier to change than a pair of jeans but means you need to invest in socks to keep baby feet warm.

Have you tried to keep your baby’s wardrobe quite minimal or have you gone to town shopping for them? What’s been your favourite clothing purchase?

Review – Child’s Farm fragrance free biodegradable baby wipes.

You may have heard of Child’s Farm from social media. Earlier this year there was a Facebook post about a baby who had tried many prescription eczema creams to no avail but the mother tried moisturiser from Child’s Farm and the baby’s skin improved drastically.

Brand: Child’s Farm

Price: £2.50

Pack size: 64 (0.04p per wipe)

These wipes are a bit smaller than the ubiquitous Mamia wipes but they are adequately wet so you don’t need to use a lot when tackling a “code brown situation”.

The opening is a resealable plastic sticker which did not loosen at all during my testing period.

Although the packet states “fragrance free” (they also have a grapefruit scented version in an orange packet) the wipes did have a scent to me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. In the end I decided I didn’t like the scent but others may find it pleasant. It wasn’t overpowering but I was aware of it. It didn’t seem to have any effect on the skin and no redness or sensitivity occurred.

The wipes themselves are biodegradable so you can feel good knowing that at some point they will disappear from the landfill. The packaging however is not and it is not recyclable either.

Overall these are great quality wipes but they do come with a premium price tag. However you can feel good knowing that the wipes are biodegradable. The only gripe I had was the scent. I may try the grapefruit ones and hope I can cope with those. I would definitely suggest trying these out because everyone reacts differently to scents.

Cruelty free handmade soaps.

To be frank, I have never been keen on solid soaps as I think they leave a funny ‘squeaky’ texture on my hands. (That was a strange word to use but I’m not sure how else to describe that feeling!)

Anyway. Whilst on the search for cruelty skincare gifts I have come across several soap shops and I have just been in awe of how pretty some of the creations are. The mixture of colours and layers and textures are truly a work of art.

It’s great that many handmade soaps use natural sustainable ingredients and oils that are kind and beneficial to your skin. The mixture of scents that people have concocted sound divine. I also like how there is fuss free packaging which is better for the environment so I am going to make an effort to use solid soaps in future. Below are some creations I have found on Etsy.

Barnes and Fonseca – the designs of these soaps are just stunning! The gingerbread one looks just like a cupcake and the Himalayan pink salt of the rose and bentonite spa bar look so luxe.

Olive Leaf and Honey – from reading the blog you can see how much passion and thought goes into these soaps. I love the combination of ingredients used which are all good for the skin somehow.

Studio M Apothecary – the ‘girls and diamonds’ soap looks stunning. How do people come up with formulations like that? If you’re not vegan try the soothing and calming lavender goats milk soap.

That Charming Shop – they have a gin soap! The Earl Grey one and the lemon poppy soaps look interesting too. Based in London they also do a range of cruelty free candles and bath bombs.

Soul and Soap – it’s the cherry cake slice and the apricot cake slice soaps that first caught my eye but the shop is full of delicious sounding skincare. Awesome looking cake candles too.

The Soap Co. – if you’re not keen on solid soaps then this brand also sell their soaps in liquid form. The great thing is their packaging is made of recycled materials and you can purchase refills too. Ingredients sourced from around the UK.

How do you feel about using soap bars? Have you been converted?