Review of Close Pop-in reusable nappy.

You may have heard of Close as they make baby carriers as well as cloth nappies. In fact we used the Close Caboo carrier with Emery for eight months until he got a bit too heavy for my poor shoulders. Emery enjoyed being close and snug in that sling but that’s a review for another day!

The Pop-in nappy is on its second version “gen V2” and comes with super absorbent bamboo or quick drying minkee fabric, so you trade longer wear for slower drying times. The prints on the Close nappies may not appeal to all. I don’t want to say “abstract” or “macabre” as those words are too extreme but I quite like the darker prints they do.

The Pop-in is an “all in two” style of nappy so the nappy insert and booster are clipped in. The poppers are cleverly colour coordinated so you won’t put them on back to front.

The nappy is secured at the waist using Velcro tabs so the fit can be adjusted perfectly to suit all babies. Initially I didn’t think there were any fold back tabs for the Velcro to prevent the nappy sticking to things in the washing machine but on the second wear I noticed the tabs are supposed to be tucked into the nappy which is a nice touch.

Pop-in is a birth to potty nappy and the front of the nappy has rows of poppers to alter the length of the nappy as baby grows. Close also do a newborn size nappy for smaller babies.

When I first received the Pop-in nappy I didn’t think it would fit Emery as it looks quite small compared to all the other nappies I have tried but it was surprisingly roomy when I came to put it on him. This also means it is a slimmer looking nappy therefore you probably will not struggle to get clothes to fit over the nappy. In fact, after using the Pop-in I felt like other brands were too baggy. I also liked being able to tuck the liner into the flap but that is not a reason to buy the Pop-in.

Drying time on these bad boys is reasonable. You can detach the insert and booster to create a bigger drying area. The boosters are not too thick so they dry fairly quickly but they soak up adequate amounts of urine.

The Pop-in retails for £18.95 but you may be able to find deals online. You can also buy them in a starter pack which will save you some money. I do find that “all in twos” seem to cost more but I think the Pop-in may be my favourite cloth nappy so far!

Have you ever tried the Close Pop-in nappy? Do you prefer the bamboo or the minkee? What are your thoughts on their prints?

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Decluttering my makeup collection and starting a ‘project pan’.

This post is a bit of a ramble. It is mostly for myself to justify my actions but I’ve thrown in a few decluttering tips in. If you are also doing a project pan then please connect with me and we can encourage and support each other!

For those who are not aware, a ‘project pan’ is a personal challenge where you select an unspecified number of makeup items and use these often enough so that you eventually see the silver pan holder at the bottom. Some people also pick haircare or skincare items to use up. My two main reasons for starting a ‘project pan’ is because I do not want to waste the products I have spent my hard earned money on and also I do not want to be a mindless consumer who buys every new release that a beauty brand comes out with.

When I was about 15-19 years old I loved buying high end and luxury beauty products. This started off as lip glosses since they were cheapest and I gradually worked my way onto foundation, blushers, eyeshadow etc. Then at some point in my early 20s my makeup spending slowed down as I preferred to buy makeup when I visited Hong Kong or Japan, which you can imagine wasn’t that often but I would purchase enough to last me until my next trip. I used to be very good and only repurchased an item if I ran out. I would walk around with super pink cheeks as I would overload on the blush so it would run out quicker and then I could get a new one.

You may not believe it but I would have one eyeshadow quad and would use this to death and only purchase another once every single pan was empty. I happily carried on this way for a long time but since I started watching beauty vloggers on YouTube a couple of years ago my strict regime has fallen to the wayside. I used to only watch Michelle Phan or Bubz Beauty every now and again on YouTube but now I subscribe to a few “beauty gurus”. It is their job to promote products so admittedly I have been lulled into buying some of their recommendations.

This year I am going back to my original policy and do a ‘no buy’ unless I use up something in my collection. I am starting a new Instagram account to record my progress and hopefully connect with likeminded people. Here are some reasons why I want to do this.

  1. I have too much makeup. It will be a waste of money if I do not use the products I have bought.
  2. Makeup expires so I want to make sure I use it before this happens. Again, it would be a waste of money if it goes off without me having used it enough.
  3. I do not want to just throw my makeup away because there is already so much waste going to the landfill. I got sucked into the consumer culture and want to try make use of the product before it goes in the bin.

Before my project pan, I did a makeup declutter. Compared to most people I think my collection is already small but I still have more makeup than I need. I only have two eyes so I cannot use too many eyeshadow palettes. Secondly, I am not a makeup artist and not that adventurous with my looks so there is no point in me having too much choice as it would overwhelm me. I also have quite a professional occupation so i am not able to do “fun” looks with makeup for work. Here are a few ways to declutter:

  1. Take out all your products and arrange them into categories eg. blushers, bronzers, highlighters, lipsticks, nail varnishes etc.
  2. Remove and throw any items that have expired.
  3. If there are any items you no longer like then give them to friends/family or donate them. In the UK you can send lightly used products to Give & Makeup London or Wales. If you don’t like it, you won’t use it.
  4. If you are transitioning to cruelty free then this is a good time to start a project pan or to give away any non-cruelty free cosmetics.

Since I am on a ‘no buy’, I have some ways to prevent me from buying more makeup that may help you too:

  1. Read/watch reviews for everything before committing to a purchase. Never buy anything on impulse, no matter how good a deal it is. You can always go back to the store or order it online. If I leave without buying something and if I keep thinking about it then it means I really want it. If I forget about it then it means I do not really care for it. Everyone reacts differently to products but items with consistent 5 star reviews are a good place to start. Test them instore before buying.
  2. Declutter who you subscribe to on YouTube. Are the vloggers you watch honest? I avoid watching people who get paid to go on brand vacations. I know beauty gurus make money by promoting products and talking bout free PR but they should tell you when they are reviewing something they received for free.
  3. Before buying something new, have a look in your own collection and see if you already have anything similar. Is it really necessary for you to own it? Is it different enough to stand out from everything else in your stash?
  4. Think of new ways to use your items. For example you could use a bronzer as eyeshadow or lipstick as a blush. You may be surprised how different one product can look if used differently.

Some people may struggle with a ‘project pan’ as they may feel limited or bored. If this is the case then I suggest ‘shopping your stash’ which involves pulling out items from your collection that you may not have used for a while. You could also do a ‘one palette one week’ challenge so you become more creative with your looks.

Do you enjoy buying cosmetics? Do you think you have too much or do you think your collection is just right? How much do you spend on beauty per month?

How to save money when you have a baby.

We all know babies are expensive to raise. As much as we love them and want to buy that fancy £1000 pushchair, it might not be sensible if it pushes you into the red. Also, would your baby know the difference between a £250 pram and a £1000 pram? More importantly, you need to make sure you can pay those bills and put food on the table. If you can afford it, then buy whatever you want and as much as you want for your baby but not everyone is lucky enough to. Here’s a few things I did and some I thought about that may help you out. Not saying you need to do them all if something doesn’t suit you but might give you a few ideas.

Breastfeed – I know this isn’t possible for everyone but over time breastfeeding saves so much money compared to buying formula. If you pump, then you will also need to buy bottles, steriliser etc. but you do save a lot of time breastfeeding as you do not have to prepare any bottles, you can just whip out your boob and that is GREAT during those sleepless nights. Furthermore, when you go out, your bag will also be much lighter without all the bottles.

Don’t buy too many baby clothes – as cute as some baby clothes are, your baby does not need a huge wardrobe. With tactical washes you can make a small capsule wardrobe last all week. Secondly babies grow into the next size really quickly so there is no point buying a really expensive outfit unless they will get lots of wear out of it.

Buy baby clothes during sales – the best time to buy baby clothes that only last 3/6 months is during a sale! If I see something I like online, I will keep checking on it to see if the price drops before purchasing. If you have enough room, then you can also buy clothes to wear in the future. For example, in the boxing day sale you can buy a Christmas jumper in a bigger size for the following year. You can also try buying second hand clothes at baby sales, car boots, or charity shops. Some childrens’ centres also do clothes swaps. This tip also applies to toys, high chairs, books etc.

Exchange gifts you do not like – this sounds ungrateful but if you receive an outfit you don’t like then you are less likely to put your baby in it and it will be a waste of the purchaser’s money. They would want you to have something you like. Most stores are pretty good with exchanging baby gifts.

Buy items in neutral colours – you may be expecting a girl and want to buy everything in pink but what if you have a second baby and it’s a boy? It wouldn’t bother me if a boy sat in a pink car seat but others might not like that, therefore buy a shade like black or grey or brown and you can reuse it. Gender specific clothes are not so bad but big ticket items like a car seat or a pushchair can cost a lot so being able to reuse a gender neutral one for a second or third child definitely helps.

Use reusable nappies and/or wipes – the initial cost can be hefty but in the long run you can save a lot of money. You are also helping reduce waste! Washing can be a pain but once you get into the swing of it, you will know how many fresh nappies you need for the following day. Ask friends and family to put money towards the cloth nappies as some may be stuck for a gift.

Make your own baby food – when it comes to weaning then preparing your own food in batches and freezing it will definitely be cheaper than buying packaged baby food. It can be time consuming but it is worth it. Also have a look in the ‘whoops’ discounted section in supermarkets for food that will be expiring that day. As long as you can cook it that day (or freeze it immediately) then the food is fine for consumption.

Sell unwanted things online – if you are on maternity leave then it is a great time to sell items on eBay, Gumtree, Shpock etc as hopefully you have a bit more time to take photos and post listings. Once you get into the groove you won’t be able to stop. After years of saying I wanted a new dining table I eventually posted an ad online at the end of my maternity leave and used the money towards a new one. I also went to my mum’s house and sold things I had stored there for over eight years.

Do not buy things you don’t NEED – if you have one changing bag already, do you really need a second one (as beautiful as it may be)? For some people priorities also change after having a baby. For example previously you may not have thought twice about buying a new handbag but then you realise you would rather buy something for your baby instead.

Shop at discount stores and stick to your shopping list – you can get great things at pound stores these days but do not let yourself get sucked into the deals. Make a list of things you need to buy and try hard not to go crazy and fill your bags. You walk in planning to get a roll of bin bags and come out with two bags full of shopping.

Check if you are entitled to any benefits – check out Gov.uk to ensure you know your maternity/paternity rights, whether you can apply for tax credits, information on healthy start vouchers, locations of Sure Start centres, help with childcare, and more.

Be savvy with ‘little luxuries’ – it is still nice to be able to go for a meal with your partner or get your haircut but just keep an eye out for deals such as an early evening meal offer or 20% off cuts. Check places like Groupon or Wowcher for experiences and dining out. Also when you go out for the day, take your own home made lunch to eat or order water at a restaurant. Small things like that can make a big difference at the end of the day.

Do you have any tips on how to be savvy with money when you have a baby? Is there anything you wish you did or didn’t do?

Is it worth ordering Colourpop to the UK? Review of Colourpop You Had Me At Hello and Lippiestix.

If you’re a beauty junkie then you may have heard of LA based brand Colourpop. I’ve read a lot of good things in terms of quality for the price point so thought I would check them out, especially since they are cruelty free. I very rarely order internationally but on Cyber Monday I took a chance since I’ve been eyeing up their “you had me at hello” palette since its tease and release.

My order was placed on 27th November and shipped on 2nd December. Due to Black Friday deals I guessed dispatch time might be a bit longer than usual so I didn’t mind. On 12th December I got a card through the post saying I had to pay a £13 fee, £5 was customs duty and £8 was a Royal Mail handling fee. (Sidenote: I don’t get why I get charged a handling fee, isn’t the whole point of Royal Mail, Parcelforce etc to handle post?!) All in all it took 16 days from ordering to delivery.

My order was around $30 and international shipping was a flat rate of $9.99 (it can be free over $50 but I didn’t want to spend that much on a brand I’d never tried). So in total that’s nearly £45 I spent on one eyeshadow palette and three lipsticks and a lip primer. To be honest I would say it’s NOT WORTH IT. If shipping was free and there was no customs to pay then it would be okay. Even when they have 20% off it’s not really worth it, I would rather just buy Makeup Revolution or Elf. For £45 you could buy Anastasia Beverly Hills‘ fan favourite Modern Renaissance palette and have some change leftover.

In terms of the eyeshadow palette I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the packaging. I thought it would be cheap cardboard but it feels sturdier than that. I was actually slightly disappointed when I heard the palette came with a mirror (Colourpop palettes do not normally have a mirror included) since I was planning to de-pot the pans into a magnetic palette. However the packaging is actually pretty solid and doesn’t feel too cheap so I will keep it all intact. I love the designs Colourpop comes up with. The cover is so cute. Colourpop released so many palettes in the last quarter of 2017 but “You Had Me At Hello” really drew me in with its mix of neutrals and mauves and pinks.

Finger swatches of Colourpop YOU had Me at Hello

The mattes in the palette are very pigmented. There is some fall out but that does not bother me too much. The shimmers look beautiful on application but I have oily eyelids so they do not last all day on me whereas the mattes last a bit longer. Overall I’m fairly pleased with the palette and the colours are not too bold so I can wear them at work.

I’m probably in the minority but I enjoy using lipsticks that are shaped like pens or pencils. I think I can apply it haphazardly without it going completely wrong. The three colours I ordered are Bossy (matte), Aquarius (creme), and Bound (satin). I know matte has been super trendy but my lips are dry no matter how much I exfoliate or use lip oils so I prefer a wetter finish.

Bossy is described as a “classic red” and looks great on the lips. It does transfer but also managed to stay on all day through two meals without leaving lips looking patchy. The matte formula did not feel drying and this was a pleasant surprise. My baby did poke me in the mouth and I ended up with red on my cheek but that’s the fun of having a 9 month old.

Button is a “satin peachy pink” which looked quite pink on me. This one transferred as well but again and is the patchiest of the three. This one is my least favourite.

Aquarius is the final Lippiestix I got and is a “soft pinky nude”. I was surprised at how much I adore this colour! For me it’s definitely a “my lips but better” shade and the crème finish is perfect. There is less transfer with this colour and doesn’t become patchy when it fades. Would definitely repurchase if I didn’t have to pay shipping or customs.

All in all I am happy with my order and I am surprised I prefer the Lippiestix over the eyeshadow palette. After customs it definitely wasn’t worth ordering internationally so I’d suggest getting something from Zoeva, Sleek, Elf, or MakeUp Revolution as mentioned earlier (good prices, good formulations and cruelty free) as they are readily available in the UK. Also check out Burt’s Bees for nice natural lip products.

Have you ever ordered something for international shipping? Did you think it was worth it? What was your experience?

Review of Good Bubble cloudberry bubble bath.

I am very excited today to share with you a Leaping Bunny certified baby brand! Please can I introduce Good Bubble! Found these guys when I attended the baby and toddler show last year and I just love the ethos of the brand. And so did Deborah Meadon from Dragons Den!

Not only are they committed to formulating gentle products for babies without ingredients such as sulfates or parabens, they also manufacture within the UK and are committed to reducing their carbon footprint by using recyclable packaging and responsibly sourcing ingredients. Their products have the seal of approval, not only from Cruelty Free International, but also the Vegan Society. I also love how it is a family business.

Good Bubble do a nice range of bubble baths, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, coconut oil, and wash mits. The two “favours” they have are dragonfruit and cloudberry. How exotic! I can tell you they both smell DIVINE. The coconut oil also smells very fruity and delicious and would be great for people suffering with dry skin.

Prices start at £3.69 which is great for a product which is practically classed as totally organic.

The item I bought to try out is the cloudberry bubble bath and it definitely puts lots of bubbles in the bath tub. The scent might be too sweet for some people but I really like it and Emery didn’t mind it either. Packaging is cute and attractive to little people. The bottle is kind of chubby and bulky but that lends to its appeal.

There isn’t really much I can say about a bubble bath! It was gentle and didn’t cause any redness or any sort if irritation. A little goes a long way so a 400ml bottle should last you a while.

I wish I had also picked up something with the dragonfruit in it. I love that I can add another cruelty free brand to my baby list. The only downfall is that the brand is not stocked (yet) in major stores but you can easily get Good Bubble online.

Have you ever tried Good Bubble? Do bath products with scents draw you in or put you off?

Review of Treaclemoon bath and shower gel.

Treaclemoon is a brand managed by “blue orange”. They do a collection of bath & shower gels (pictured above), body scrubs (£3), hand cream (£2), shower mousse (£3), and body butters (£4) in a wide range of scents to suit all tastes, from ginger to watermelon.

You can find them in Tesco, Waitrose, or online. Bath gels come in at £3 for a generous 500ml but look out for offers at your local supermarket! I picked up a bunch of these as Christmas stocking fillers. They also have gift sets with mini sized products so you could try a few different ones before you commit.

Before purchasing I contacted the company to confirm their cruelty free status. The reply was quick and was told they (or a third party) do not test their products or ingredients on animals, nor do they sell in a country where animal testing is required by law. With regards to becoming certified with the “leaping bunny” logo they said:

“Our on pack bunny symbol is our own design and not that of the Leaping Bunny Organisation (BUAV). We have discussed possible accreditation with BUVA and are still considering it. However whilst our products comply without issue we do need to consider the lengthy and additional administrational requirements on both us as a small team and our supplier to satisfy.”

I understand their decision but hope they make steps towards certification in future as I know some cruelty free folk will only buy certified products.

Having only tried the bath and shower gel products I can say that I am satisfied with them and makes me interested in the scrubs and body butter as well and look forward to using those but I have other products to try out first.

The gels smell absolutely divine, especially the plum custard one which is a limited edition flavour. If lather is something you look for in a bath gel then this gives you sufficient bubbles. Honestly what else can I say about a shower gel? Give them a sniff next time you are in Tesco or Waitrose. I promise you won’t be able to walk away without one!

Do you ever want to eat your shower gels because they smell so good? Which of the scents pictured appeals to you the most?

Which style of reusable nappy is right for you?

So you’ve made the great decision of choosing reusable nappies on your precious baby and you go to research brands and the colour drains from your face because there are SO MANY options and you think you might just stick with the disposables that everyone knows about.

I know the feeling. There are so many types of nappies and they seem to run into each other. All in one? All in two? Pocket nappy? Sized? Organic? Bamboo or cotton? Which is cheapest? You can get an all in one organic bamboo one size nappy or an all in one sized microfibre nappy.

Whilst I am no expert hopefully this post will shed a little light and make the world of cloth nappies a little easier to navigate. Also note the terms “reusable”, “cloth”, and “real” are often interchanged.

Real nappies have these basic parts:

1. Waterproof outer, most often made of PUL (polyurethane laminate) but other materials also found. The outer usually has fun prints.

2. Inner absorbent “nappy” part, usually made from bamboo or cotton or microfibre. Mostly plain but some, such as Totsbots Bamboozle, may have prints.

3. Liner (optional), used to catch poo and may be flushable, disposable, or washed and reused. Fleece liners also help remove the feeling of wetness.

4. Booster/insert (optional). If you feel your nappy doesn’t provide enough containment you can add one or two (or more if you don’t mind a bulky bum?!) boosters for extra absorption. Can be made from bamboo, charcoal, hemp, cotton, or microfibre.

5. Velcro or poppers. Some nappies are made with Velcro tabs for an adaptable fit whilst some brands use poppers. It’s up to you which you prefer. Some “birth to potty” nappies have poppers to adjust the size from small to large but close at the waist with Velcro.

6. Wet bag (optional). You will need a wet bag if you plan to go out and about with cloth nappies. You’ll have to bring soiled nappies home so best to keep them in a special nappy bag! You could also use a wet bag at home instead of a nappy bucket to store used nappies until you wash them.

ALL IN ONE.
This is the easiest kind of nappy to use as it is just like a disposable. The inner absorbent nappy is sewn onto the waterproof outer and you put it on baby as you would a disposable. You can add a liner or booster if you wish. Since all the pieces are sewn together you may experience longer drying times.

Bambino Miosolo – prints
Tickle Tots – cute prints
Tots Bots Easyfit Star – plain or printed
Bum Genius elemental or freetime* – plain or printed
Grovia* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea all in one* – plain or printed

POCKET NAPPY.
Pocket nappies look similar to all-in-ones but there is an opening at the back on the inside half of the nappy. You can stuff boosters into this pocket to adjust the absorption level to your own requirements. These are quite user friendly as well and dry fairly fast as the boosters can come out.

Baba + Boo – plain or printed
Little Lamb – one size or sized
Milovia – lots of prints
Wonderoos – plain or printed
Bum Genius original* – plain or printed
Sweet Pea pocket* – plain or printed

ALL IN TWO.
The absorbent part of the nappy can be attached and detached from the waterproof layer using poppers. The absorbent pads can be made from different materials to suit your absorbency needs. Once boosters are attached the nappy is as simple to put on as a disposable. Drying times are fairly fast since you can separate the two parts. These can be cost effective as sometimes you can reuse the outer and just replace the pad at changing time if the outer is not soiled.

Bambino Miosoft – prints
Close Pop In nappy – prints
Tickle Tots
– cute prints
Tots Bots Peenut system – plain or printed
Bambooty Basics* – mostly plain colours

HYBRID.
This style is just like an all-in-two but the inserts are disposable so there is less washing to do.
Charlie Banana* – covers and reusable or disposable inserts
Flip by Bum Genius* – covers and various inserts
Grovia hybrid – covers and reuseable or disposable inserts

SHAPED NAPPIES.
This is a two part nappy. You need to buy a waterproof wrap as well as the actual absorbent nappy part. The nappy can be made from bamboo, cotton, or microfibre. Bamboo is most absorbent but takes a long time to dry. Microfibre is least absorbent but dries quickest. Cotton sits in the middle but can feel crunchy in hard water areas.

Bambinex – bamboo or microfibre
Little Lamb – available in various materials
Tots Bots Bamboozle Stretch – bamboo material in different prints

PREFOLD.
These are similar to Terry squares used by your grandmother. They are squares of material that are pinned together. You will require a waterproof wrap to go over the top. They are the cheapest cloth nappy option and dry easily but from what I have heard, are also the trickiest. I have never used prefolds so cannot really comment.

SIZED VS ONE SIZE/BIRTH TO POTTY.
Just like they sound, sized nappies come in sizes for example 7-18lbs or 18-35lbs. One size or ‘birth to potty’ nappies come in one size and tend to have poppers to change the sizing. Sized nappies cost more as you will need to buy a new set of nappies when baby gets bigger but this can be useful if you have two young children close in age. One size nappies should last throughout the whole nappy period but some nappies may not fit well on younger babies and you may need to use disposables until baby is bigger. You can get sized and one size nappies as shaped, pocket, all in one, or all in two styles (ie nappy size then nappy type).

Baba + Boo – pocket nappy for 5-18lb
Close Pop-in newborn – 5-12lb
Tots Bots Teenyfit Star – all in one for 5-12lb

I hope this blog post has made things a bit clearer for you! Any links to brands are not sponsored or affiliated. I have tried to include mostly UK or EU based brands. Any links with an asterisk * are brands based outside UK/EU.

What is your favourite type of reusable nappy? Do you have a few different ones in your stash? If you have never used them has this post helped at all?