Reusable cloth nappies

I’m always aiming to be zero waste, and had thoroughly researched cloth nappies on the internet from probably my whole pregnancy! About 5 months before my baby was born, I spotted a cloth nappy bundle on my local Facebook selling group. It was the works – nappies, covers, liners and boosters for £45. In the few days it took me to arrange a time to meet up with the seller, she was so desperate to sell them as she was moving house – she’d dropped the price to £25! It turned out they were brand new, she’d bought them from another lady who’d never used them. Then she’d been gifted a year’s supply of disposables and never used them. I couldn’t believe my luck! All in all I got:

4 small Motherease Airflow wraps in white (RRP £12.99 ea)

4 medium Motherease Airflow wraps in white (RRP £12.99 ea)

4 large Motherease Airflow wraps (RRP £13.99 ea)

10 Motherease snap-in booster pads in natural (RRP £2.50 ea)

14 Motherease one size cloth nappies in natural (RRP £10.99 ea)

4 rolls of paper liners (RRP £7.99 ea)

TOTAL Price new £370.70

So, I’ll be saving money against disposables in no time at all! I also picked up a Tots Bots lockable nappy bucket (RRP £12.99) and 2 mesh bags (RRP £8.99), plus about 10 white Tots Bots Bamboozle nappies (RRP around £15 ea, which we haven’t even tried yet!) off eBay for 50p and got another on Freecycle. I use one for nappies and cloth wipes and one for disposables.

I did write in this post about how the cloth nappies weren’t working for us all in the first 6 months until weaning started. Motherease are meant to be one size, but you have to fold them over initially. This makes them incredibly bulky and my baby is very slim. They were absolutely huge on him in the first few months – really looking quite ridiculous on him. Looks aside, he couldn’t seem to bend his legs properly and every time we tried them, he wouldn’t sleep. We couldn’t cope with no sleep and it wasn’t doing him any good, so we stuck with disposables regrettably. I cringed every time I had to look at the plastic piling up in our bin. We had to request a larger bin 😦 It was a very hot summer here in the UK and he seemed to overheat in these bulky nappies, which I’m sure was a contributing factor too. All that aside, I can safely say that I wouldn’t have fancied having to scrape all that liquid newborn poo off them either.

Basically, we started using them at about 7 months; prompted by the terrible smell coming from the so-called ‘Pampers Pure’ disposables. They smelt like pine disinfectant straight out of the packet and worse once my LO had wee’d in them!!! When he got a combination fungal and eczema infection all over the nappy area, I decided it was time to try the cloth again and we haven’t looked back! We do still use one disposable every night, as it’s not recommended to put them in cloth at night, whilst they’re still having a night feed. So this may change in the future – although he seems to be a heavy wetter, so I think it’s going to take a lot of boosting.

I actually love the cloth now, they’re so easy to wash and require no rinse cycle at all. I just follow Motherease’s own instructions and wash them on a 60 degree ‘hygiene’ wash in my Miele machine. They come out perfect every time and I sometimes tumble dry them in the winter, to get them dry in time. We also live in a very hard water area, so I think if I didn’t tumble dry them sometimes they’d end up like cardboard, as the towels do. Although, I’ve just bought a heated airer which is pretty miserly on the old electricity, so I’m hoping this will possibly eliminate tumble dryer use.

14 nappies could last up to 3 days, but once they’re wet – 2 days worth is about all I can fit in one cycle in my machine. So we basically wash every 2 days. The wraps dry almost instantly. They come up perfectly every time; I wash using a spray stain remover where needed, Fairy Non-Bio (because it suits us and eco detergents are NOT recommended), 50ml white vinegar as a fabric softener and 1 tbsp soap crystals as a water softener and stain remover in wash.

We’ll have to see where this cloth nappy journey takes us over the next year or so!

How I got a free heated airer from John Lewis worth £100! Thanks to Swagbucks

Yes, I got this £100 heated airer free all thanks to the website Swagbucks! It’s my most recent purchase from John Lewis, to make my life easier with all the extra washing that’s around since having my baby. I figure that running an airer is cheaper than running the tumble dryer so much. It’s winter and there’s so little daylight, so much bad weather and with a North facing garden – it’s a waste of time putting washing on the rotary line. I’ve been relying on my indoor airer, but it just couldn’t cope with the volume of washing being produced, plus with everything needing 2 days to dry – it’s just impractical. I figure a heated airer will also reduce condensation in the home, making it healthier to live in too. From a zero waste point of view, it comes with a 2 year guarantee – quite a rare thing these days! It’s also mostly comprised of lightweight aluminium metal, except for the feet and top hinges. The whole things folds down for easy storage and it is surprisingly compact when up.

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Are you paying too much for your energy?

I think we all know that these days, we’ve got to make the effort to shop around to get the best deal. Often, there’s no point staying loyal to a provider – be it for insurance, energy, phone, broadband or anything else! I don’t know how many of you watched The Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV, but it should be on your must watch list. You can catch up via that link. I can personally credit Martin Lewis and his site MoneySavingExpert (MSE) with everything I’ve learned about saving money and making money since 2012. Again, I highly recommend you make some time to read all his advice. There is a lot of go through and I try to condense some of it onto my blog, but everyone is different and what works for me, may not work for you. However, everyone can benefit from checking whether or not they are overpaying for their household energy.

As MSE is impartial and a major consumer champion, they are not trying to sell your anything. Unlike going through a regular comparison site, who will take a cut – I believe MSE does not. So you should join and check out their Cheap Energy Club to see if you would benefit from switching. Most people on the TV programme were saving around £250 a year!

I have just done it and I am glad to say that my household is on the cheapest deal for us – a 1-year fix with The Cooperative Energy. We’ve actually been with them for 4 years now and they’ve consistently offered us good value and good service. They never try to sell us things we don’t need, they are very clear about how much we are spending and even contacted us to tell us we could get a better deal! I love being with a more ethical company and they are pioneering some great green initiatives too. I believe that a lot of the smaller companies are much better for their customer service. So why don’t you get checking and post back with how much you’ve managed to save?

Candlelight- an alternative to electricity?

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Does anyone live by candlelight as an alternative to electricity? My husband and I would be interested to hear from anyone who does! Or who has tried it. We are considering trying living by candlelight as part of our minimalist adventures. Our reasons are manifold; it will potentially save us money with the rising cost of electricity here in the UK. It might allow us to re-connect with the past- in the sense that families all used to live by candlelight. It will allow our natural circadian rhythms to kick in more and might even aid our sleep. It’s beautiful and atmospheric- candlelight is so soft and ambient and watching that flickering flame is fascinating. Plus, I love the smell and artistic nature of candle smoke- the way it snakes and curls and leaves trails in the air. I’m sure that a member of the Fire Service will be horrified by our suggestion, but we are going to give it a try.