May 2018 | The Northern Irish Mum

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Simple free DIY Wildflower Floral Crown

Little ones love floral crowns, they are the perfect accompaniment for imaginative play. Both my kids love pottering about in the garden with a crown on their heads. And they just look so adorable, like little wild ones. I love it. There are so many beautiful examples online of  fresh floral crowns but these can be pricey if you opt to use shop bought flowers. Buying shop bought not only costs but also takes a bit more organisation in sourcing the flowers too. Instead I tend to make crowns with wildflowers or as my hubby calls them ... weeds! Ha!
These wildflowers are easily sourced this time of year, from hedgerows or country lanes. They are everywhere locally to us. I tend to use a mix of the cow parsley (long stalks and tiny white flowers)  and other long stalked flowers such as the yellow buttercups, and dandelions which in the countryside seem to grow super long. I also add in some long grasses and whatever other wee flowers I come across at the time.
But the joy of these is you can really use anything you fancy in these and they will look amazing!

The simplest way I have learned to make a strong floral crown is to do is a twisted stem method. You need only the flowers and grass to do this. No wires or other materials, which makes these crowns safer in my mind for kids to play with but also makes them so easy to do on spur of the moment.


Step 1:

Lay one long stem horizontal and lay the other long stem vertically over the top like above :

Step 2:

Twist the vertical stem under and around the horizontal stem.

Step 3:

and pull the end of the now twisted vertical stem along the horizontal stem as above. 

Step 4:
Repeat with new stems, keep doing this until you have your desired length of crown. Then get the two ends and another long strong stem of flowers or grass and wrap around the ends binding them together like a ribbon would and knot or tie it.

So simple, yes very rustic, but you can make these as full and big or small as you like. Likewise the more time you spend on them the neater they will be. The crown above was made in under five minutes whilst drinking a cuppa! The most perfect way to spend some time doing a little activity with the kids this spring/summer.


Thursday, 3 May 2018

Cloth nappies ...

My first encounter with the wonderful world of cloth was way back when when our eldest was 4 months. I was approached through my previous blog by a company to review some baby leggings and accessories and tagged onto the email was, a few lines about how they had started to sell cloth nappies and would include some in the package, with no pressure to include in the review. I remember thinking cloth nappies? Do they even still exist? And being completely bewildered as to what would await me in the package.

To be honest when they arrived, I was still bewildered. I remember trying them on her and ringing my mum who told me instantly to not even consider it, totally impractical and a waste of time. So that's what I did. I reviewed the other items but left those out, explaining I couldn't really get my head around them, threw them in a box and moved on with life. Fast forward to April of that year and Real nappy week arrived, a week were retailers promote the use of cloth nappies, run competitions, have sales and discounts etc and sometimes have bloggers work alongside them on these campaigns. That week was the first time I saw some of my peers, fellow bloggers and parents using these modern nappies on there kids. I was intrigued. Then I started to notice the prints, yes I am part magpie, instantly drawn to anything pretty or sparkly. My attention was well and truly caught. Quiet quickly through facebook groups. local mums, bloggers even pinterest I learnt the difference between the brands and types of nappies. I started to gather up a stash and there our journey in cloth began. Up until "potty training" we used a mix of cloth and normal disposable nappies.

Fast forward to baby no 2 and we had a newborn cloth stash ready and waiting for his arrival. Over the past year we have used (like with his sister) a mix of cloth and disposables. I feel no pressure to be a holier than thou cloth user, I totally get that cloth nappies are not for everyone but also that for some its an all or nothing approach. For us/me a mix just works. 

Using cloth or real nappies honestly could not be easier! I know there is the myth that they are messy, dirty, and totally impractical. I thought these things myself before we used them but honestly , 5 years on I can say none of these things are true. They are exactly like using disposables except there is no nasty chemicals beside your babies skin, no plastic beside their skin and instead of throwing the nappies into the bin that then go to landfill and take 450 years, yes 450 years each to decompose, you pop them in the wash , stick them on the line or some in tumbler and back on your baby, easy. For me these where the two of the main reasons for using them. The thought of nappies used on my kids being in the ground still decomposing in 450 years time when we are long gone and our descendants are running around is just crazy. That combined with the fact that disposables are filled with chemicals many unregulated right beside our babies precious little skin, made me want to look for a better healthier alternative. Of course cloth is cheaper over your babies life time than disposables, especially if you also use cloth wipes too. So savings are a great incentive.

Other people, this has been the only stumbling block I have found around cloth. There is still the assumption from some that cloth nappies are used only by a particular hippy type of parent. Some people screw there nose up at them, and I have had ridicule and criticism for using them too. And that used to really bother me, being the self conscious person that I am, I worried what everyone thought, all, the, time. But recently I have had such a change of heart, slowly working my way to just accept myself in all aspects including my parenting choices. And if people wish to criticise me for using cloth nappies or being a little bit hippy. Then that's on them, live and let live is my thoughts.
But with cloth nappies becoming more popular in the UK now , (over in the USA and Canada they are really popular amongst all ages of parents) slowly they are becoming more "mainstream" here too. I find people really accepting,  I know numerous local mums and friends who use cloth with their kids and I am part of many facebook groups with thousands of UK and Irish parents using them, supporting one another and all doing our bit for the environment, our pockets and our kids.

So that's my how and why we ended up using cloth nappies. Recently I shared a little unboxing of some nappies from a real nappy week purchase from Babipur on my instagram stories (you can follow me here) and was overwhelmed with how many messages I received from other mums both local and further afield asking about them, where to get them and so on. So I've decided to share some fluffy themed posts here from time to time! Keep a wee eye out if that's something of interest to you!

Until then thanks for reading, Vicki 💚

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