Recommended: Cheeky Wipes

One of the things I am focusing on for January Joy and 2018 is reducing our waste so today I thought I’d share one of my favourite changes we made last year – we switched to Cheeky Wipes. I’d heard of Cheeky Wipes when Bea was still in nappies but didn’t give them a lot of thought and as I became more interested she was nearing toilet training and it didn’t seem the right time to invest. We have never branched into reusable nappies, but although I was pretty economical with the wipes when changing a nappy, it horrified me to see Pete going through multiple wipes each time or the amount that got used cleaning up after a meal for example. So I decided to take the plunge once I was thinking of moving on from cottonwool and water for Cora’s bum.

I should add here that Cora suffered with quite a sore bum when she was little and we found the best way to manage it apart from making sure her nappy was changed promptly was using cotton wool and water to clean her as even water wipes did irritate her skin, which was another factor that attracted me to cheeky wipes. If you haven’t already heard of them, cheeky wipes are essentially reusable (i.e. you wash them,) wipes, not just for bums but you can use them for faces after meals too. The ‘wipes’ are little squares of cotton, bamboo or microfibre – like flannels and you can get them in kits which come with clean and mucky boxes. Essentially you soak them in water and a little essential oil, wring them out and leave in the ‘clean’ box to use as required. Then you have a ‘dirty box’ and a mesh bag hooked inside, pre-filled with water and some oil again for freshness, where you put the used wipes to soak. When you’re ready to wash them you simply lift the bag out and throw it into the machine. They wash as normal at 30 degrees with the rest of your washing and work their way out of the bag during the cycle, ready to be soaked and scented in the clean box again – no drying required.

So here’s the nitty gritty. Do they really work? The answer is yes and I absolutely love them. We bought natural bamboo velour which have a softer smoother side and a more textured flannel side but with the softness of bamboo. Because they are textured the grip for cleaning is fantastic and even sticky or thick poo’s (Sorry, TMI!) can be easily removed with just a couple of swipes. I rarely need more than one wipe to be honest and I feel like Cora almost gets a proper wash every time she has her nappy changed which is a real bonus as she doesn’t get bathed daily because of her dry skin. In terms of cost, a full kit (with the two boxes, 25 wipes, and the oils,) comes in at about £40 but they currently have £10 off the kits and you can save any time using this link: (which as a previous customer I got sent to share with friends) Get 15% off any order over £40. We weren’t particularly heavy wipe users but it still doesn’t take long to have a cost benefit over disposables and I feel good every time I use them that I’m not adding to landfill or putting damaging waste into the water system and ultimately our waterways and sea’s.

We also invested in the hands and faces kit as we were about to embark on weaning. I love having the rainbow microfibre cloths to hand (you keep them damp in a box in just the same way and instead of having a dirty box just throw them in the washing machine ready for the next wash) especially as we do baby led weaning which is more than a little messy! They are super soft and pick up all the bits of food in every little chubby finger crease, even weetabix which gets everywhere and dries like cement! They are even still in regular use at Bea’s age so I can see them being incredible value.

You might be wondering what happens when you go out. Of course you could still use disposable wipes for convenience but we decided that if we were making the change for environmental reasons we needed to commit to it. The kits come with 2 bags to take out and about with you. You simply pop a couple of damp wipes in the fresh bag and when they’re used put them in the dirty bag which is lined with a mesh bag like the dirty box, that zips out and throws in the machine too. So it’s really not difficult to eliminate disposable wipes completely. And if you want to extend your environmental efforts Cheeky wipes now also do Cloth Sanitary Pad kits, Reusable Make-up remover kits and even toilet paper alternatives.

I’d love to know if you use Cheeky Wipes or something similar, or if you feel inspired to make the switch! I’ll happily answer any questions you’ve got too!

Rebecca x

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January Joy 2018!


Snow Scene

Well, hello 2018!

January Joy came about because I love to celebrate the start of a New Year but also to try and improve what is a bit of a depressing month. Poor January gets a bad rap I think, but it can’t be denied that the weather, lack of festive fun and annual dose of guilt we pile upon ourselves after Christmas excesses doesn’t exactly make for a fabulous start to the year. Previously January Joy has taken the form of a series of prompts to bring some Joy to your January but (in keeping with one of my themes for the year,) I’m going to change it a little this year. We all have very busy lives and as my life has evolved I imagine many of your lives have too. I don’t have time for daily or even weekly prompts so I’m going to focus on a few themes that I’ll be working towards all year instead and I have several posts lined up for you this month that fit within those themes. I always like to start the year with a bit of reflection and goal setting! So what are they, I hear you ask?


Tortoise BuJo spread

Slow Down

So often nowadays I feel like days, weeks and months are rattling past at a frenetic pace. We are quite a social family, we like to go out and do things, keep the kids busy, travel, and whilst we don’t do as much of this as before we had kids, it still all too often feels like we are rushing from one thing to the next, stressed preparing and organising for these things, instead of enjoying them. More often than not such a packed schedule adds more stress due to double booking, forgetting things and one of my biggest stresses currently, not keeping up to date with everything at home. The washing, the tidying, the stuff for school and work and so on. I want to feel more in control of all of this but also to just slow down and savour my girls while they are little. Having children has taught me to be more present, in the moment, not just to watch but to participate and I want to have time to do that, not through a series of day trips or experiences, just in our own home together. I’m hoping that making a bit more time available will allow me to take some time for myself, and I can introduce some mindfulness and self care, so I feel better able to tackle the rest of life’s chaos. A key part of this is getting more organised and I’ll be sharing my BuJo experience so far as part of that.


Talking about re-using and recycling made me think of this post a wrote a while back about Recycling your old scented candles.

Reduce

This year we want to continue to make changes to contribute towards reducing our impact on the environment. Waste has become a real bugbear of mine and so reducing it in a variety of ways is something I constantly thinking about. I’m talking food waste, plastic waste and landfill in general so look out for some blog posts on changes we have made as a family that really help.

Complete

Probably the biggest project we will be managing this year is the extension, while it’s not a resolution or a goal per se, its going to occupy huge amounts of our time and effort, both mentally and physically. The building work has already started with clearing the site and its pretty depressing looking at the mess and destruction, which looks 1000x worse in grim freezing damp January! I can’t wait for it to be finished but beyond that I’m determined to have the whole house finished by the end of the year. (Well, maybe not the top floor but we can just ignore that, right?)


Bauble iPhone wallpaper download

Connect

Lastly, I want to reach out a bit more via the blog, to make new connections with other bloggers and give Florence Finds a little more love again! Hopefully that will mean bringing some inspiring content to you guys too.

So now it’s your turn. What are your goals or resolutions, themes or inspirations for 2018? Are any the same as mine? Are some the total opposite? Please do drop me a comment and share!

Happy New Year readers!

Rebecca

Featured and Quoted…

Happy New Year readers! Whilst I’m trying to finish January Joy and a post on my return to work, I thought I’d pop in quickly to share something exciting! Last year an image I submitted as part of the #MyFaBHome competition with Farrow and Ball was selected as one of their 50 most inspirational rooms and included in their digital booklet. Apart from the fact that I’ve been slightly out of the blogging game of late and it’s fun to do a little trumpet blowing, I LOVE the booklet. The rooms featured are incredible and so inspirational, so I wanted to share it here as a little bit of New Year interiors inspiration for all of you.

There’s such a great range of modern spaces, heritage backdrops and quirky styling – it really shows how you don’t have to be decorating a country pile to use Farrow and Ball. I’ll certainly be spending some time pouring over it’s pages while I’m planning the interiors of our new extension… which incidentally started today!

Whilst I’m trumpet blowing, if you’re over here because you saw my review of The Watergate Bay hotel when they shared it earlier this week then hi! Welcome. And if you haven’t read it yet… you can find my whole review here. I’m working on a review of Another Place (the WGB sister hotel in The Lake District) too, so if you don’t want to miss that then please do follow along on Instagram or Facebook for post updates!

Right, back to January Joy… it’s coming ;)

Rebecca

Starting Advent Traditions…

I don’t know if it’s the political climate, the trend for more considered and authentic celebrations, or having a young family, but this year, instead of stuffing the advent calendar with chocolate I felt the need to do something more thoughtful. (Strike that, as well as the chocolate! You can’t leave out the chocolate!) Part of it was wanting Bea to enjoy the build up to Christmas more than just wanting daily chocolate, and part of it was a desire to start creating new family traditions and making memories. So I decided to fill the calendar with prompts for fun and celebratory things to do in the lead up to Christmas.

I thought I would share them here (we were a little late starting due to a sickness bug doing the rounds,) and you could perhaps take inspiration from the idea for the future or just pick a few to enjoy this year.

1. Light the Advent Candle
2. Write a letter to Santa (post before the 8th for a reply!)
3. Buy a Christmas Tree
4. Read ‘The Night Before Christmas’
5. Decorate the Christmas Tree
6. Sing some Christmas songs/carols
7. See some Christmas lights (We are going to an illuminated Christmas trail at Dunham Massey)
8. Make some Christmas cards
9. Put up some Christmas lights
10. Make some Gingerbread
11. Decorate your bedroom
12. Take a festive family photo
13. Decorate a Gingerbread house
14. Watch a Christmas film (Our Favourite is The Polar Express)
15. Go to a Christmas Party
16. Make some Hot Chocolate
17. Deliver some Christmas presents
18. Wrap a Christmas Present
19. Play some Christmas music (on the piano with Daddy)
20. Do something kind or charitable in the spirit of the season.
21. Eat a mince Pie
22. Hang up your stocking
23. Go to the theatre
24. Put out the carrots and mince pies for Rudolf and Santa!

Before you dismiss the idea as being too hard work, I need to let you into a little secret here – make the prompts work with you, not against you! For example, on Mondays and Fridays Pete works late which means I do solo school pick up, dinner, bedtime and all the tantrums in between. So on those days I’ve put in really simple things that don’t require much effort or input and that I hope won’t aggravate an already tired 3 year old. I’ve also manipulated the prompts to include some activities that we already have planned – for example, on the 6th it’s Bea’s school Christmas sing-along, and she has been invited to a party on the 15th. We are going to see The Snowman on the 23rd, and to a light show on the 7th. On the 17th we are seeing family we won’t see at Christmas.

I’ve also included some things kind of twice – buying and decorating the tree for example – as we didn’t feel ready (or able, as Cora has been ill this weekend) to put up the tree today but wanted to buy it. And making and decorating a gingerbread house seemed a bit ambitious for one day!

I’m planning on using my diary to keep a note of upcoming prompts so I can include Gingerbread ingredients in the weekly shop for example, and so I can get the decorations for Bea’s room put into a box ready rather than scrabbling about for them on the evening we need them. More than anything I’m just hoping to make some memories and savour the build up to the season. Particularly as I’m on maternity leave and it’s Cora’s first Christmas (although this is heavily biased towards Bea!) I’m hoping it will go well enough to become an annual tradition.

I’d love to hear if you already do something like this, if you can think of any prompts I could include in future years (I’m thinking ice-skating…?) or if you are inspired to include some in your calendar. If you do join in with any of them, no matter what the order, please do share and tag your photos with #FFAdvent and I’ll have a peep at what you are all up to!

Rebecca x

Found: Your Super Model Smile

I don’t often write about make up because in all honesty, I don’t mess with mine much. I’m seriously loyal when I find something I like, and don’t get the time I would like to play with my look or get dressed up so much these days. Quelle Surprise.

However, what I do like, is beauty that works hard for me. I’m lazy and leave the same item in my bag for the school run, lunch with a friend and (once in a blue moon,) date night. And if it’s not too much to ask I want that product to function as a lip balm too, because despite owning about 500 Burts bees lip balms, I can’t ever quite manage to keep one to hand. So the good news is I have found a serious wonder product that I want to share with you all, because I think it suits EVERYONE.

It’s actually a product that came in the (2016) M&S Beauty Advent Calendar, the Rosie for Autograph Lip Glossy. There are a few colours but the one to go for is Supermodel Smile. It’s an amazing glossy nude that looks incredibly natural. (I should add it’s nowhere near as pink as it looks here.) The colour seems to work just as well slicked on when I’m casting about in my bag for something to moisturise on a cold sprint to nursery first thing in the morning, as it does with a smokey eye for an evening out. It’s a gorgeous moisturising formula and a really soft smooth texture. Yet it doesn’t just slip off and disappear instantly.

It’s £12.50 and you need one in your life. You can thank me later. ;) And if you’d like to see more I’ll do a little video on stories of me applying and wearing it. Follow me on Instagram here!

Have a great weekend!
Rebecca

Found: Mid-Century style chandelier lighting

A quickie tonight readers… (I just can’t stay away after the warm reception you all gave me yesterday here and on Instagram. Thank you!)

I’m hoping to bring you all a before/after reveal of our dining room renovation very soon, but for once in this Forth Road Bridge of a house, I’d like to actually finish the room first. I’m very good at sorting the big stuff like fireplaces and decoration but not so good at styling the finishing touches. Must try harder.


Left – Made.com Tangle Chandelier, Right – M&S Sputnik

Anyway, we are currently short of some kind of mirror or art installation on two of the walls and a light. Lighting and I have a complicated relationship. I’m a bit of a fussy madam when it comes to light fittings and have expensive taste. Show me a design classic or something pricey and I’m likely to be all over it, but as my post alluded to yesterday, we’ve got a few outgoings planned (understatement of the year) with this extension so something a bit kinder to the budget would be preferable. Maybe it won’t be a forever light but let’s face it, it’s unlikely I’ll find another one soon and if I have to look at the Laura Ashley circa 2009 butterfly shade that is 50 shades of wrong in there any longer, I may just shut the door and never go back in.

So help me choose readers! Sputnik style or Asymmetrical glass shades? I need to move quickly on this one as the Sputnik style is 20% off until tomorrow night at M&S!

Love, Rebecca.

PS, before I spotted these two today, I was considering this Multi-outlet industrial style light fitting from Dowsing and Reynolds, with the plan to get longer cable and spread the bulbs out across the ceiling – let me know if you prefer it!

A tentative hello…

Well hello readers! Are there even any readers out there? I’d forgive you if not… it’s been almost 8 long months since I wrote a blog post here, announcing that Cora had arrived, bumping our little family to four. I’m lying when I say it’s been 8 long months though, good grief they have flown. The days have whistled past, the nights though? They have been loooooong. Having two children has Kicked. My. Ass.

So many times I’ve wanted to write a blog post but haven’t had the time. When I have had opportunity, sleep has often been higher up the agenda. Cora has not been a great sleeper… In fact as I write this, it’s 05.42am and I’m sat in the feeding chair, having failed to put her back down once and with the genius idea to try and use my time productively, I’m typing on my phone.


Cora at Francesca’s hen weekend // Plannign the amazing flowers with Miss Pickering // The Tipi’s pre-wedding // My sister, The Bride!

Aside from having a baby (which frankly, would have been quite enough thank you,) it’s been a busy old 8 months. Aside from the daily, no, hourly trials and tribulations of having two, we’ve had a few milestone events going on. My sister got engaged just two weeks before Cora was born and married a week ago. With a short engagement it was all hands on deck and lots of appointments and planning to be done that I helped her with. In September Bea started preschool nursery at the local primary school, a decision we had agonised over and I’ll come back to in a separate blog post at some point. And behind all of that… the project that has been grumbling along since we bought this house, but in ernest for the last almost two years, we are finally about to start the extension we had in mind when we first looked around this house.


Choosing floor tiles // My original inspiration for the extension // Bathroom shopping // Architects meetings

Some of you might remember the ‘monster pipe’ story. If not, here is the blog post if you want to read about it. Essentially our house is built almost on top of a large overflow sewer which predates the house and is massive. 1m across, 4m underground. (Which isn’t as deep as it sounds when you consider that we have cellars!) When we bought the house we were told there was no way we would ever be able to build over it but after realising (2 years in) that the house just wasn’t working for us with a baby in tow, we decided to make some bigger moves to try and get the go ahead. We managed it and then were planning to start in January this year when Cora was due in March, so we postponed. Looking back that wasn’t realistic at all… there have been delays and decisions at every turn and I’m determined to get this particular project right. Leaving the top floor aside, it will finish the house for us, adding a much needed family living/dining space and utility room, and rejigging the downstairs loo, hallway, landing and extending the first floor bathroom. What started out as simply adding a ‘glass box’ to the back of the house has spiralled somewhat… whilst I absolutely can’t wait to have it done, I really don’t want to ‘do’ it at all – particularly as we will be living in it throughout.

We’ve also been to Greece, Cornwall (twice) and The Lake District, Just So Festival, renovated the dining room and acclimatised to being a family of four. Honestly that has been my longest and toughest project, one I’m still working on, but also one that I finally feel comfortable with. It’s only taken 8 months!

Anyway, I want to expand on all of these things, and so many others, so I’ll be back. Fingers crossed!

Rebecca.

Meet Cora Clementine…

Today was my due date so it seems fitting to share here (apologies if you’ve already seen the news on my Instagram or Facebook) that we welcomed our second little girl 12 days early, on the 7th of March.

Introducing Cora Clementine – Born Tuesday at 04.18, weighing 6lb 1oz. We are in love.

A post shared by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

This time around was completely different, from her birth, to being home with Bea, but she is a tiny bundle of perfection and we are all loving getting to know her. Hopefully I’ll be back soon to share her birth story and a bit more about being a family of 4!

Rebecca x

The Hospital Bag…

Very quick post this morning readers! I’m after a bit of advice…

Last time with Bea I never packed a hospital bag for ‘labour’ per se – maybe it was a sign but I never felt the need then found out just short of 38 weeks that she was likely to be Breech and therefore that I would have a C-section. So whilst I packed a kind of over night bag and stuff for baby like nappies and gro’s, I didn’t pack anything for myself that I may need in terms of if I had stitches, or useful items for during labour.

I thought this might be the kind of info that other people find useful, so I’d ask your advice and open it up to others too. What could you have not lived without in labour? What helped or didn’t get used? I don’t want to cart everything but the kitchen sink in!

Thanks guys!

Rebecca x

Second time around…

I’ve realised that I haven’t written anything about being pregnant this time around, (who am I kidding, I’m not writing anything about anything really, blame the nesting!) so thought it was time I did! I’m well into my third trimester and I’m not going to lie, pregnancy has really taken it out of me this time. In all honesty last time I can say that I barely noticed I was pregnant. This time has been so much harder and I’m sure that 90% of that is going through it with a toddler thrown into the mix too. I became pregnant about a month before Bea turned 2 and whilst it’s a lovely and fun age, it’s certainly one you could do with being on your toes for!

Third trimester! #babybump #thirdtrimester #icarriedawatermelon #bigsister

A photo posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

Physically, I feel the same as with Bea. I had very little nausea, and a problem free first trimester for which I still feel very lucky! I definitely ‘popped out’ earlier – I think it was only by about 20 weeks I had a is-she, isn’t-she type bump last time and this time it was fairly convincing at least a month earlier. I blame the lack of effort I put into core exercises last time… nothing to do with the cake. ;) Seriously speaking though, this time around I have definitely put less weight on. I haven’t given myself quite the same license to eat EVERYTHING as I did last time, though I’m by no means resisting much! I actually haven’t been as hungry I think and I have certainly reached the feeling ‘full of baby’ stage much earlier.

26 weeks and feeling massive! I'm sure I wasn't this big with Bea! #26weeks

A photo posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

Last time I never experienced any braxton hicks (practice contractions when the womb gets tight and hard briefly) and this time they started around 20 weeks. It actually took me a few weeks to work out what was going on then I’ve had a good few weeks with none again and now they are back. Hopefully it’s all getting my body ready for labour as I plan to try and have a natural delivery this time (Bea was a planned C-Section as she was Breech.) Unfortunately the main thing that has bothered me has been my back and pelvis. My back has always been a bit iffy if I don’t take care of it and I do tend to over do things. Towards the end of my last pregnancy my sacro-iliac joints (lower back) were a bit sore but I blamed too much DIY as we were completing work on our kitchen and guest room. In all honesty it never really recovered as I think the pregnancy hormone relaxin affected me quite a lot, then it’s effects were perpetuated by breast feeding for so long – I only stopped when I was pregnant again this time. Going straight into another pregnancy clearly hasn’t helped and picking Bea up a lot still really takes its toll. Added to that I’ve had some very strange Pelvic Girdle Pain (the new name for what was formerly known as SPD or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) which has been really unpleasant at times. Thankfully it seems to come and go without warning and has mainly cleared up but I’ve had to take a massive reality check on what its sensible for me to keep doing.

27weeks: having 'cuddles on the sofa' with 'my baby'. Me too Bea, me too.

A photo posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

The funny thing about this pregnancy has been that it is at once more real and more distant than last time. This time around I’m excited and desperate to meet this baby in a way I never was with Bea because I had no idea how amazing it was going to be. My placenta is at the back this time which means I’ve had loads of fun with amazing big movements and many a happy hour with Pete talking about the future whilst we feel our next little love wriggling in there. But at the same time it’s flown by with barely a thought towards preparation or time to think much about ‘being pregnant’. The weeks blur into months and compared to my weekly bump watch last time I have about a handful of photos this time – I keep having to remind myself to take one! Its bittersweet too. Bea is so excited about ‘the baby’ but I’m starting to really worry how she will cope with sharing me. I know she will gain so much from having a sibling but I don’t think there’s any denying she will find it tough for a while first. And it will break my heart I know.

I’d love to hear from any of you readers who are preparing for a second baby or who have already crossed that bridge. Was it the same for you?

Love, Rebecca.

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