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    How To, Lifestyle

    A Guide To Cloth Pads – How To Use, Wash and Keep Them.

    Ever since mentioned that I’ve been using cloth pads for years on my cloth nappy video I’ve had so many people asking me to do a video about these too. It’s quite funny really how much more receptive people are to the idea of reusables now. When I first started trying them out in 2014 the general attitude people had was – frankly – complete revulsion. Even I was a little grossed out by the idea at first, but one of my sisters had tried them recently and was raving about how much more comfortable they were, so I decided to give it a go.

    Well, it’s been five years, and I’m never going back! Here’s why:

    Like I mentioned in the video, I didn’t have time to include every single detail and question about reusables into the video without it being an hour long. So I’ve added everything else, along with recommended custom made pad makers, more detailed explanations and your questions down below. Also, the cheapies I mentioned in the video can be bought here. Please note that any links to Amazon are affiliate links.

    What Custom Made Brands Do You Recommend? 

    1. Lady Days: If you’re looking for meticulously well-made pads.

    2. MiniVivi: Who specializes in more heavy-duty pads aimed at incontinence sufferers.

    3. TCS Eco pads: Well made and very good quality.

    4. OneCheekyBee: I might be completely biased here because they’re made by my sister, but all the beautiful pads featured in the video above were made by her and I think they’re fantastic quality products.

    If you’re considering buying on Etsy there are a few things you need to do to make sure that you get a good product, because not all cloth pads makers are created equal.

    • If you have concerns about the hygiene standards of the products (because there are unscrupulous sellers out there) ask if they have insurance. At least in the UK, it’s a legal requirement for a business to have, and it’s a good indication of a standard of quality.
    • Like everything with the internet, check the reviews on whichever platform they’re on. That tends to be a very good indication and will at the very least warn you about anyone who is using old nappies to make “new” pads.

    Now For All The FAQ 

    • Can they withstand a lot of movement?

    I’ve found the cheap amazon ones do move around a little while I walk, and more than once I’ve had to adjust it discreetly. The custom ones don’t suffer from this problem as much, that being said, I wouldn’t go competing in a trampolining tournament with these. It really depends how much movement we’re talking about here. A brisk hike or walk, fine. But horseriding? That’s a challenge better suited to the menstrual cup.

    • Are there different ones for day and night?

    This depends entirely on your flow. If you bleed a lot I would suggest that you go for a custom pad which is designed to absorb a lot, the cheapies probably won’t cut it. If you have a light flow though you can go for the light pads, cheapies, or liner type pads (these tend to be smaller than the regular sized pads). If you’re concerned that none of those will do the trick then I’d recommend that you go for the pads which are more geared towards post-partum. Trust me, nothing is getting through those!

    • Is there such a thing as keeping them for too long?

    That depends entirely on how much care you take of them. Like I mention in the video, I’ve had mine for five years, and I can’t see myself throwing them away any time soon. If you think yours are too old and tired, then maybe it’s time to replace them, but again, that depends entirely on how well you keep them and how long you would want to keep them.

    • How do you make them?

    That’s a video I’m still trying to convince my sister to make with me. If you feel like helping me convince her maybe drop some not-so-subtle hints over on her Instagram.

    How To

    How I Adjust My Jeans To Fit Perfectly

    I remember promising to make a video about this the first year I started making YouTube videos back on my old channel when I did song covers and a few random videos. That was over seven years ago, and to be honest I’m quite glad I waited to do the video till now because since then my method had improved massively. My original trick was to cut enormous chunks out of the side – and that always made the bottom sag weirdly. But I did it that way for years until my sister – who is a professional seamstress – couldn’t take it anymore and showed me a much better way where I unpin, cut and then resew the jeans at the back, and any adjustments are easily hidden along the seams.

    I’ve listed what I used exactly bellow, but don’t think that you have to use exactly what I do. Really, all you need is a good pair of fabric scissors, a thread which matches as much as possible the thread used on your jeans, and a good firm needle. Although I didn’t use one in the video, I’d also recommend using a thimble too. I’ve done this enough times to get the hang of sewing denim by hand, but if it’s something you haven’t tried before it’s very, very easy to stab the life out of your fingertips.

    What I Used:

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    Lifestyle

    What’s In My Makeup Bag + A Small Declutter

    Annoyingly, I had filmed a decluttering video for my makeup, but I managed to lose half the footage (and one of my SD cards) when I was reorganizing the studio. I decluttered a tiny, little bit today, but for the most part, I wanted to show what I have and bounce around the idea of doing a short simple makeup series showing how to create a wide variety of looks using just the eyeshadows, lipsticks and products that I currently have.

    I did a £25 makeup challenge on my old KlairedelysArt channel years ago, I loved it then and I’d quite like to re-visit it in some way with a new series.

    What do you think? Would you like to see a makeup series like that?

    You can follow me here on Instagram. 

    Lifestyle

    Declutter With Me: The Art Studio

    This is one of those videos where I got a little cocky when I started and thought I would be done in a few hours. At this point I’d already de-cluttered the art room over three times since the previous year, so I thought I wouldn’t have much to declutter. Boy was I wrong!

    I must have just browsed over my art supplies the last few times and just assumed that if it was art I regularly used it and would want to keep it. I found so many spares! Spares of pencils I rarely use, don’t like or would never use up fast enough to justify having that much of a backup. After a few days I had a whole bag of supplies to go to my little sisters. Any spares I thought I might need within a years or two I kept, but I limited myself to only two spares. Twenty-seven spares of exactly the same pencil seemed a tiny bit excessive to me.

    At the start of the video I showed a stunning davenport/captains desk that I found on Facebook marketplace. I’ve been looking for one of thse for over a year now, almost two, and now I finally have one! Not only do I think these are absolutely stunning to look at, I love the efficient use of space and how it forces me to consider very carefully what I need and use. I know that I have an awful tendency to horde. Part of me is always scared of losing everything (it’s a long story) and a lot of this subconscious fear is expressed in a need to have backups for my backups, and then a bucker in the woods with even more backups. Over the last three years I’ve gotten much, much better at controlling this impulse. Now I’d say that nine times out of ten I can spot when I’m buying something out fear or because I would actually use and love that item.

    I also think it’s very important for me to try and design my surroundings so that they help me. Having a large table like I did not only took up far more room than I actually needed, but also made it hard to keep the room clear and didn’t help with that compulsion to fill up empty space. Not to mention that I share that room with my husband, and having so many large items of furniture in that room made it very claustrophobic.

    Another thing I realized during this declutter session was that it was very important for me to make sure that I didn’t keep any of my supplies in tins or boxes that made them hard to access. My Polychromos were a perfect example of this. I love those pencils! They’re an absolute dream to use and they make me so happy each time I use them, but I don’t use them as much as I would like because they’re an absolute pain in the neck to get in and out of the box. Sure, they look very pretty laid out on their rows, but they look even better displayed in my pencil rack, right next to the desk where I can see and use them.

    The room isn’t perfect yet. I still need to paint the whole room white to get as much light in there as possible – the windows in this house are tiny. I’d also eventually like to have a system for my computer which doesn’t have all my stuff crammed in the cubes underneath. Part of that is just going to resolve itself over time by using up my supplies, but if having everything out on display still annoys me in a years time I might look into making a cover for the front of the cube shelf.

    Food, How To

    How To Makeup Apple Cider Vinegar (From Kitchen Scraps)

    I wish I could take full credit for this amazing waste-reducing recipe, but I can’t. I found it on the Zero Waste Chef around a year ago, only two months after I’d thrown out industrial quantities of apple peels from that year’s dehydrated apple batch. I was gutted at the time that I hadn’t found the recepie sooner. I hadn’t even been able to put it in a compost bin at the time either since we lived in a flat with no composting facilities.

    Since we bought and moved to our own home I’ve made four huge batches of apple cider vinegar. I use vinegar for my skin, hair, cleaning the house, cleaning food, cooking and even for my cut flowers. I use it a lot! For the moment I get as many apples as I can from my parent’s or in-laws’s gardens, but eventually, the plan is to have a few of our own fruit trees.

    I’ll normally make the vinegar when I’m about to make a large batch of dehydrated apples. I could happily eat these all day, they are so very easy to make and now I can get use out of the peels and cores too before they go to the compost bin.

    What I use: 

        • Large Jars: So far these are the largest jars that I have, a 1.5 ltr jar and a 3ltr jar.
        • Apple Peeler: I bought this one in Claus Olson 5 years ago.
        • Dehydrator: My abuela used one, my one has one and I use one too. They’re expensive but worth every penny if you dehydrate food regularly.
        • Sugar: I’m sure you could use brown sugar without any problems, but I use white.
        • Water: Preferably filtered but tap water will work fine provided there isn’t too much chlorine in it.
        • Demijohn: I love drinking this cider and it comes in a beautiful glass bottle that I can re-use.

    How To, Lifestyle

    Declutter With Me: My Jewelry Box

    Every time I think I’m done de-cluttering something else pops up. I swear, it’s like a never-ending revolving door! That door has slowed down in the last year, but still, it’s turning. To be fair though, each time I have another de-clutter I notice that I’m a lot more efficient about the whole thing. I’m more aware of what I use, what I love and I’m less de-railed by my tendency to try to hoard for the worst case scenario, what-ifs, or keep things out of a sense of guilt. If anything I’m quite brutal about the whole thing now, and I like it!

    Today’s target was my jewelry box. Like I mention in the video, at some point soon I want to replace our MASSIVE chest of drawers into some small IKEA Alex units. One for Corazon and one for myself where they can both fit perfectly into the wardrobe, out of the way and with all the space we need.

    Once I get those drawers I’ll turn the top drawer into my jewelry box so that I can see everything I have in one go. I have a lot of jewelry that I really, really love – but I don’t wear it because it’s either at the back of the earring wheel, down the side of the jewelry box, or in one of the drawers that I forget to open. This way – hopefully – I’ll be able to use everything better and not get back into bad old habits.

    Food, How To, Lifestyle

    Homemade Nettle Tea: How to Collect, Store and Drink It

    If nettles were people I can imagine they’d be that kind of quiet, slightly aggressive personality. Happy to be left alone, but behind a defensive facade, they’re one of the most fascinating people you will ever meet. Nettles, in my opinion, are a severely underate superfood. They have a host of health benefits, but the main one for me has being able to keep my anemia in check.

    It doesn’t help that I’m not a fan of the shop bought nettle tea. I’ve tried it, even forced myself to get through a few boxes of the stuff, but I always thought that it tasted of old hay. Not a pleasant taste in my opinion, but the fresh stuff…it tastes fresh and alive! The colour of the tea is a clear mint if the leaves are freshly picked from the garden, and every year I make a point to try and collect as much of the plant as I can for dehydrating.

    If you want to try and give it a shot yourself, then this video is for you:

    How To Dehydrate Using The Oven

    One thing I didn’t mention in the video is how to dehydrate them in the oven. Like I mentioned, I either air dry my nettles, or use my Excalibur dehydrator, I rarely use the oven, but on the occasions where that was my only option, here is how I did it:

    1. Wash the nettles thoroughly and lay them out on a tray over some baking paper
    2. Turn your oven on at the lowest possible setting and leave the door cracked open
    3. Every 5-10 minutes turn over the leaves till they’re all completely dry and crispy

    Next year I’ll try and be more organized and make a much more detailed video showing the different stages for growth (the leaves in spring vs. the leaves in winter) and show the other different varieties of nettle. I’ve already pointed it out in the video, but I want to stress it again. The plant I am using is stinging nettle, don’t confuse it with dead nettle or any of the other similar-but-not-the-same varieties.

    Lifestyle

    Cloth Nappies – My Experience With Them and Why I Love Them

    I think if I hadn’t been using re-usable sanitary pads for myself for over five years now then I wouldn’t have found the switch to cloth nappies quite so easy. There is a bit of an initial ick-factor when you first consider the idea, after all, it’s blood or poop. I Why on earth would you want to wash that? It must stink! But the washable pads were amazing! Turns out I’d been having severe allergic reactions to the bleach in disposable sanitary pads for years and hadn’t even realized, they saved me a small fortune, and they were so much more comfortable. Allow me to emphasize this again, one felt like thin burning cardboard, the other one like a warm cozy pillow.

    Before this turns into a blog post all about cloth sanitary pads let’s just move back to cloth nappies.

    Like I mention in the video, I wanted to keep it reasonably short and to the point, so for this blog post I’ll be covering things in more detail that would just be boring if they were included in the video.

    My Washing Routine: 

    One thing I didn’t mention in the video is more about the poop. Specifically, once the baby has moved from breastmilk or formula and onto solids. As the word implies, solids present a lot more bulk in a nappy. Breastmilk poop dissolves extremely easily, but once the baby moves onto things like carrots, you don’t want to be fishing this out of the washing matchine after you’ve finished a wash. There are two different ways you can tackle this:

    1. After you’ve changed the baby’s nappy, head over to the bathroom and tip the nappy over the toilet. If you’re lucky and the baby had quite solid poos, it’ll all fall down and be flushed away. Simple, but let’s be honest, it’s rarely that simple.
    2. More likely you’re going to be looking at the world’s toughest cement mashed into the nappy, it’s sticky, semi-sentient, and it won’t be going anywhere without a fight. How I deal with these is grab some toilet paper and wipe it off the nappy. Not going to lie, I really hate this part, but somehow I’ve managed never to get poo on myself while doing this.

    If I follow these steps nothing lumpy manages to get into the washing machine, and the nappies come out of the wash white, clean and smelling like clean clothing should. Perfect!

    What Brands I Use: 

    This is where prices are going to vary wildly. In the video above I mentioned that I spent £364.39 in total on the nappies, liner, wet bag and a nappy bag. I went for the super cheap made-in-china brands. If I hadn’t, that initial investment could easily have been double or even triple what I spent. It’s going to be up to the individual person to decide what works for them, but I did try a much more expensive brand compared to the cheap ones and, honestly, I preferred the cheaper brand.

    A small note I want to add, the links below are Amazon affiliate links, if you’d rather not use an affilate link then you can type in the names into Amazon, eBay or similar websites.

    Nappies: 

    • Little and Bloomz: My favorites (other than the adorable newborn nappy my sister made me) and now that I have all the nappies I really have to pull myself from the screen sometimes and resist the urge to add to my collection. None of the poppers have worn out so far, any stains were easy enough to remove after sun bleaching, and they’ve easily handled the transition from baby to toddler.
    • Three Little Imps: I use these but I don’t like them, which is a shame because their customer support is fantastic! I don’t like them for two reasons; one, after 3 months of using them the poppers to adjust the size at the front had worn out so much that they kept coming undone on their own. I emailed them to ask if replacing the plastic poppers with metal ones (myself) would be possible, and they immediately offered to send replacements. I’d like to point out that they did not know about this blog or my You Tube channel when they did this. My second reason why I don’t like them though is because the pocket has a flap/cover which makes a poo-namie nappy really gross to deal with. I’ve included a picture below to show you want I mean. While baby hasn’t had any poo-explosions in a while, if he really fills that nappy up, then that flap gets covered in poo and trying to get the liners out without touching it is almost impossible.

    • One Cheeky Bee: Even though she doesn’t sell nappies, I am going to link my sister’s shop here just because the nappy she made is adorable and the cloth pads she makes are also beautiful. I’ll do a video all about cloth pads at some point, but for the moment, I’ll just link her shop.

    What liners I use:

    I’m going to rank these in order of my favorite to my less-favorite, but these are all liners which work beautifully for me.

    Easy Peasie Liners: These are longer and thinner than most liners, but in a flood, they’ll probably save your life. They’re super absorbent! On the downside, they can take an age to dry, I get around this by hanging it in the garden where there’s a constant breeze passing by the house. In the winter the only way I can get them to dry fast enough is if I hang them up right in front of the fire, so they can be a bit of work, but I think they’re worth it. 

    One Cheeky Bee: My sister doesn’t seem to sell these at the moment, but hopefully they’ll be back in stock soon. The reason these are the second on the list is because the edges tend to curl after a while. They’re lighter than the Easy Peasie liners, just as absorbent but dry faster.

    Earthtopia Liners: Just as absorbent, but two of them have come loose around the edges, which was quite annoying as they weren’t cheap. Still, a few minutes with a needle and thread and it hasn’t been a problem since.

    Lifestyle

    How I Store My Baby Clothes + Trying To Keep A Minimal Baby Wardrobe

    Since baby was born two things I’ve been keeping a very close eye on are this toys and his clothes. Both of them have the potential to get out of control, and as someone who really likes to keep things simple and minimal, I keep a very close eye on what I have, keep and use.

    I cannot handle clutter. Especially since I got really, really sick last year. It’s even more important to me now to try and maintain a certain order and simplicity to everything. So I have a very strict set of rules before the clothes even get into the drawer.

    1. Are they easy to put on? This rule is one I’m brutal with. I don’t care how cute it looks, if it makes me want to scream at 3am while I’m sleep-deprived and in pain, that thing is going in the donation basket.
    2. Once it’s folded does it take more than one row up in the drawer? I give myself a little leeway here since some items like grows or vests are used a lot more than jumpers or trousers, but in general, I try to keep to one row.
    3. One drawer per age group. Because baby is such an enormous boy (an 8-month-old wearing 18-month-old clothes) these can have quite big jump between each draw, but so far I should be able to keep everything from 0 months up to 3 years old just in this chest of drawers. And if he ever has a sibling I’ll already have the perfect capsule wardrobe ready.
    4. Label each drawer. This might seem really excessive, but it makes it really easy for any friends or family who might be helping to know exactly where everything is. It also makes it easier for my sleep-deprived brain to remember where I should put things.

    How To, Lifestyle

    The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Made

    It occurred to me the other day that a lot of the stuff I share online is quite polished, or at least, I try to make sure it’s as good as I think I can get it before I share it. Someone commented on an old video on my makeup channel the other day saying how they wouldn’t try to replicate the video because they’d just mess it up, and it made me a sad because they were under the impression that I didn’t mess up either. I do mess up, at lot! And normally when I do mess up that video never ends up on the internet. So, today I want to share this video which is just about the worst thing I’ve made in a long time.

    In my head it would be a sleek, tightly woken weave shade would soften the harsh light in the bedroom. Instead, I made a bedraggled looking nest which makes my son laugh every time he sees it. Nothing says “that sucks” like a 9-month-old laughing at your creation.

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