The TRUTH about cloth nappies.

This week is ‘Real Nappy Week’ (23rd to 29th April) so I have decided to dedicate a post to my experience using reusable nappies and maybe expel some myths.

“Cloth is too expensive!”
Yes, it is true that the initial cost of reusable nappies is expensive and not everyone will be able to throw £200 on a bunch of nappies, liners, and boosters. Thankfully, some councils offer incentives to families purchasing real nappies. You are also able to buy cloth nappies second hand at a cheaper price. Some friends and family may also put money towards your stash if you ask.

Furthermore I have done some number crunching. Obviously this is not an exact figure. I took the price of Aldi’s 84 pack size 4 Mamia ultra dry nappies of £4.49. I guessed an average of seven nappy changes per day so one pack will last 12 days. Assuming baby is in nappies for exactly two years, then you will spend £269.40 on disposable nappies. If you buy a more expensive brand of disposables then they will cost more. Smaller pack sizes also cost more per nappy and different nappy sizes have different prices so I tried to use middle ground figures. Newborns and heavy wetters also need changing more often.

So in conclusion it does depend on your baby whether cloth or disposables end up costing more. BUT if you have a second, third, fourth, etc child then you will definitely save money as you can reuse the cloth nappies! Even if you only use one cloth nappy per day or only use them on one day per week you will save money.

“Cloth is messy!”
Changing cloth nappies on a baby is just as messy as changing a disposable nappy. If baby has an explosive wet poo then it won’t be glamorous in either situation. The downside I first discovered with cloth is that you cannot roll the dirty wipes up with the soiled nappy. You need to be near a bin, which is not always available depending where you are. This problem can also be solved if using reusable wipes too because those can be thrown into the nappy bin/wet bag along with the cloth nappy.

“Poo in cloth nappies is messy!”
Newborn poops are usually small and easy to contain and chuck away. It is when baby starts having solids and the poos become less runny but also not quite solid which are less fun to deal with. When the poops come out in a solid lump then there is such a good feeling being able to just flip the cloth nappy over and dump the poop into the toilet to flush away!

“Cloth nappies stink!”
Reuseable nappies will smell if they are not washed quickly enough or well enough. First problem is solved with regular washing and second problem is solved with a strip wash. If you wash nappies correctly in the first place (not too much detergent, not too high temperature, long rinse cycle) then hopefully you can avoid having to do a strip wash.

With regards to storing dirty nappies, they smell just as bad as disposables. Cloth nappies are usually stored in a plastic tub when they are waiting for wash day and this tends to keep odours in. I do not store any soiled disposable nappies in a special pail, they go in an open bin so if they linger too long in the bathroom then there is a definite pong! In this case, cloth nappies actually stink less!

“Cloth nappies are not convenient outside of the home!”
Honestly, cloth nappies are a bit of a faff when you are out and about. Cloth nappies are much bulkier than disposables so they do take up much more space. Secondly, you need to continue carting them around after changing baby and wet nappies expand so they take up even more space afterwards. Once you get used to it though, it doesn’t matter as it is just part of having a baby.

I have read that some people use eco nappies on days out or for traveling because they have the convenience of a disposable, but the green credentials of being biodegradable. Unfortunately, eco nappies are even more expensive than cloth nappies… but planet Earth is worth it!

“Washing and tumble drying cloth nappies is worse for the environment!”
Firstly I’d like to address the tumble drying comment because most manufacturers do not recommend tumble drying nappies, and if a parent must do so, then it is done on a low setting. Tumble drying can shorten the life of a cloth nappy so it is generally avoided and therefore not a worthwhile argument about energy usage.

With regards to washing cloth nappies, Eve from Baba+Boo wrote an interesting article about the amount of water that is used during the manufacture of disposable nappies. Disposable nappies are ‘made of pulp and plastics’ and overall use ten times more water during production than during 2.5 years of washing cloth nappies. That figure is astoundingly horrific and makes me feel much better about washing my reuseables. It is also worth throwing in towels and sports wear into the nappy wash to fill out the drum and ensure you are not doing a small wash just for six nappies. Modern washing machines are also efficient at weighing out the load and using the appropriate amount of water for the wash.

“It’s too much effort to use cloth nappies!”

There is no difference between using cloth and disposable. You put them on at the same time and in the same way. Yes there is the extra step of washing and hanging out the nappies to dry but surprisingly it’s a step I do not mind. I do not feel like I am doing lots of extra washing.

Furthermore, you know when you have to change baby’s nappy but it’s about one hour before bedtime and you know you will want to put a fresh nappy on overnight? Well with cloth you need not feel like you are wasting a nappy as it’s simply washed and reused. When using a disposable for a small amount of wee and then chucking it in the bin, you are adding to the thousands of nappies at the landfill. Think about how many nappies you use in a week and imagine that pile sitting around for hundreds of years before they finally decompose.

Hopefully I have swayed you into agreeing that cloth nappies are not so bad to use. It’s totally worth giving them a try! Have you had any good/bad experiences with resuables?

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Review of Tots Bots Easyfit Star Nappy.

Tots Bots are pretty big in the cloth nappy world. No matter which style of cloth nappy you prefer, they probably have a kit that suits you. Today we are talking about their ‘all in one’ pocket nappy. I say it is an ‘all in one’ because everything is sewn together and you do not need extra bits. The absorbent nappy is there, the waterproof wrap is there, and even a booster is there. I also call it a pocket nappy because you can stuff another booster in there if you want to.

The Easyfit Star looks similar to the Bambino Mio Miosolo all in one nappy. At first glance I thought the Easyfit seemed inferior. After taking it out of the packaging and comparing it to the Miosolo, the Easyfit did not seem as thick or as substantial. I was, therefore, worried about potential leaks. Thankfully I did not need to worry. It even holds messy poop in well!

Plain colourful nappies are priced £16.99 and the patterned fabrics are £17.99. I really adore their new prints and am tempted to get the ‘bee kind’ and ‘kaleidescope’ nappies. The Easyfit Star is an all-in-one that fits 8-35lbs. There is also a Teenyfit Star in the same prints for young babies that fit 5-12lbs. The Teenyfit are cheaper at £11.99. At these prices I do think the Easyfit is a little pricey but I know there are brands out there at the £20+ mark so I guess the Easyfit is more of a mid-range nappy.

Each Easyfit comes with a bamboo core, which is the best material for absorbing babies’ bodily fluids. It comes as a long ‘tongue’ that you can tuck into the nappy. If necessary, it is also possible to pop a booster in. There are four rows of poppers on the front of nappy so that the fit can be adjusted as baby grows. The nappy is closed using hook and loop (like Velcro) fastenings so fit can be adjusted for each baby.

Like I said earlier, I thought the Easyfit would leak compared to the Miosolo because the seams and gusset do not seem like they would have good containment. Fortunately I have been proved wrong (apart from one disastrous poop but I don’t think any nappy would have kept that one in). On the Miosolo I would often find marks on baby’s back as the nappy seam would appear too tight but the Easyfit generally avoids this. The bamboo is nice and soft. It does not seem as thick as the Miosolo but in my opinion feels much nicer to touch. The fact that the Easyfit is less bulky than the Miosolo is also a bonus if you struggle to fasten bodysuits over cloth nappies. They are by no means slim, but are definitely not the chunkiest nappy out there.

Washing is the same as for other cloth nappies and drying time is great because you can pull out the inner core for faster drying. The fold back laundry tabs are not that great. They are a bit flimsy but they do the job.

Overall I think the Easyfit is a good beginner nappy. They are simple to use and will be easy for carers or family members to adjust to. I personally prefer hook and loop fastenings because you can get the perfect fit. The Easyfit looks great and does not appear too bulky. Drying time is speedy so if you wash often enough you do not need to buy too many.

Have you ever tried the Easyfit Star or any other Tots Bots nappy? I have also bought the Peenut nappy to try and am excited to get that review out.

Cruelty free household cleaners.

Having a baby around the house means you will probably want to keep the place clean so your tiny human does not get messy and dirty and contract diseases. Okay, that might be a bit farfetched but obviously you will want to clean up after cooking in the kitchen and keep mould at bay in the bathroom. Thankfully there are a lot of ‘natural’ eco-friendly brands appearing in supermarkets and you can easily get hold of a cruelty free brand at any price point.

Astonish – their whole range is 100% cruelty free and vegan, with both the Cruelty Free International leaping bunny and the Vegan Society logos on their products. Their prices are super wallet friendly and you can find them in places such as Home Bargains, B&M, The Range, Wilko, as well as Asda, Morrisons, and Booths and many more retailers.

Ecover – has been around a while and is the first eco brand I heard of. They have the leaping bunny on their products and they source their (mostly plant based) ingredients ethically and their packaging is recyclable. Their range is easily accessible in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Morrisons. In some independent stores you may even be able to find their refillable products.

Method – is a US brand that has recently been acquired by Ecover and can be found in Waitrose, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s. Their packaging is bright and simple and their products smell lovely! They also operate a refill system for some products (laundry liquid, liquid hand wash and washing up liquid) which saves on packaging.

Seventh Generation – sell their products in packaging which is 100% recyclable or biodegradable which is great for the environment. Their website says they are taking a break from selling in the UK but you may be able to find them in Tesco, who stock them exclusively.

Kinn – a brand that is exclusive to Waitrose and one I have not tried yet but their chic packaging is really drawing me in. Their products are eco friendly and formulas are based on aromatherapy and stemmed from wanting non-toxic products to use on babies. Kinn also have a range of skincare products.

Faith In Nature – has a great ethos. As well as being vegan and cruelty free and avoiding ingredients such as parabens, SLES, fragrances, phthalates etc. they also ensure their ingredients are sourced ethically.

Earth Friendly Products – is found in smaller independent stores and also Holland & Barrett. Use their store locator on the website to find your nearest stockist. It is amazing that they are a carbon neutral company throughout the whole product life cycle. Their products are friendly to humans and to the earth.

Have you made the switch to eco friendly cleaners? Do you want to switch to more natural cleaners since having a baby?

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?

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?

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?

Review of Baba + Boo reusable minky nappy.

Baba + Boo are a small family owned business and from reading the blog they sound like they truly care about the environment and sustainability (check out Eve’s reasoning on not giving out Black Friday discounts). They are a brand I’m totally happy to get on board with.

Baba + Boo do a smaller newborn sized nappy as well as a “birth to potty” size. I really love their “elf town” print but it’s always out of stock so I nabbed one from their “hygge” winter collection. It has a minky fabric outer which is a bit like velour to the touch. The inside has a layer of microfibre and a big pocket on the inside for the boosters. Each nappy comes with two bamboo boosters so you can use one or two depending on how much your baby wets.

This it the first reusable nappy I have used that doesn’t fasten with Velcro. There are several sets of poppers on the front to adjust the fit so it is possible to still get a snug fit. I didn’t find the poppers as quick as Velcro tabs but you get used to it. My baby is pretty wriggly and hates having his nappy changed so Velcro is definitely faster. I was surprised that the fit was pretty good as poppers mean there is a ‘set’ size. Furthermore the poppers mean the nappies don’t get stuck together in the washing machine if you forget to fold the tabs. I found the front part of the nappy sat a bit low but did not experience any leakage.

Baba + Boo nappies are a pocket style nappy which means there is an opening at the back of the nappy where you can stuff inserts which absorb the urine. You get two bamboo inserts with each nappy but you can purchase more (or use some from another brand if you already have some). I’m sure I could get away with just one insert sometimes but I’m too afraid to try!

As with all cloth nappies, you should wash these on a low temperature without too much detergent and air dry. Now and again you may need to do a hot rinse but that is true of all reusables. Since you can take the inserts out, these nappies dry extremely quickly. The inserts actually take a bit longer to dry since they are made of bamboo.

Baba + Boo nappies come at an excellent price point for reusables. One standard sized nappy is £12.95 (some seasonal prints will go on sale) or you can buy starter kits which work out better if you want several nappies to start off your stash. The newborn size starts at £10.95 but they obviously will not last you as long. Baba + Boo have some of the cutest prints I’ve seen (moonshine, toadstool). I also think they discontinue some prints each season so best get the one you like before it’s gone!

As a family we are also trying to get into the habit of using reusable wet wipes (when at home at least), not only for money saving reasons but also because they go into landfills (and sewers?!) as much as disposable nappies, so I added a pack of their bamboo wipes to my basket. They are lovely and soft and we just chuck them into the nappy wash or the regular wash. When they come out we keep them in a tub with a homemade solution and they are ready to go. We also use them in the bath or as wipes during a meal. I’ve enjoyed them so much I am planning to get more. They cost £5.95 for a pack of five, which is not the cheapest out there but they are great quality.

Although you can find Baba + Boo on various cloth nappy websites, I ordered directly from the Baba + Boo website. For orders over £40 you get free delivery, otherwise it is £3.95 for standard delivery. I paid for delivery and my order came in less than 48 hours! It came in a sturdy paper bag so could be recycled and there was no nasty plastic in sight. Their commitment to being earth friendly is 100%. I also got a lovely email from the owner Eve thanking me for my order. Now, do you want to hear the best thing?

My friend lives near their listed company address so I figured I could place an order and pick it up from them when I visited her. I emailed Baba + Boo asking if I could do this (I wanted to avoid a delivery charge) however they said it wasn’t possible but they would refund the delivery charge to me after placing the order. How great is that? It gets better though… So I really took my time placing the order. Like four months and they STILL refunded the delivery charge. Such *excellent* customer service. Please support this company if you’re thinking about starting a cloth nappy stash!

In conclusion, these are a great cloth nappy for first time users. They have adorable prints, are a good price point, are easy to use, dry fairly quickly, and the customer experience is wonderful.

Have you tried Baba + Boo nappies? Do you like their prints?