I was asked to review a Lässig changing bag and, honestly, my first thought was, “Not another changing bag.” Then I took a closer look and realised that this really isn’t just another changing bag! Made from recycled polyester by a company committed to pursuing sustainability and taking social responsibility seriously, the Lässig mix ‘n match changing bag deserves a closer look. In fact, I thought you might want a chance to win one too and the brand has sent one for a giveaway here on the blog too.
The mix ‘n match changing bag doesn’t scrimp on style. It comes in three colour combinations, all of them simple, casual and eye-catching. I went for the rose, pictured here, which is also the colour of the bag I’m giving away. It feels like I’m carrying around a big handbag rather than an obvious changing bag.
My usual complaint about changing bags is that they’re designed to store disposable nappies but this one is roomy enough for bulky cloth. It fits three or four reusable nappies, washable wipes, a spare set of clothes for Delilah and Ophelia, my big water bottle, lunch, snacks and the usual other bits and bobs. There are loads of pockets too to make it easy to find stuff like your phone and keys. Sadly, I tend to absentmindedly shove both of them in and forget where but, you know.
It comes with three sets of handles so you can grasp by hand, wear on the shoulder or sling over the shoulder. Personally, with three kids going with me most places, I pack it too heavily for the over-the-shoulder option but on the shoulder it’s fine going out and about and it’s easy to hang on a pushchair if we’re going somewhere with one. Full disclosure, on changing bags in general, I prefer a backpack if I’m going to be carrying for any serious distance but a bag like this is fine if we’re not doing that much walking or if we have a pushchair. And as bags go, the straps on this one are built for comfort.
Lässig only uses sustainable materials in their bags. PVC, nickel, azo dyes and phalates are out of the mix. They also use an FSC-certified print shop and are teamed up with tree planting and water supply projects among other environmental and social initiatives. They have combined their concern for nature and people with genuinely strong design.
They also do kids backpacks. We were sent a couple of the Little Tree – Fox mini backpacks for the girls, which they’ve been delighted with. Again, they’re beautifully made, with lots of compartments (both useful and fun) and the prints are lovely. They’re a bit on the small side for Talitha, I think, but it probably depends on what you’re taking out and, obviously, I wouldn’t want to load her up anyway.
So, on to the giveaway! To enter to win a rose Lässig mix n’ match changing bag, visit their social responsibility page, leave a comment on this blog post telling me which of the initiatives listed there most interests you and enter the Rafflecopter widget below.
Autumn in all its rainy, windy, leafy glory is here, which would once upon a time mean I’d be spending most of the days indoors. Life with kids, however, now means we need to get out a lot so we don’t all drive each other mad. So, of course, the change in season has given us many opportunities to test run the girls’ new coats sent to us for review by Lighthouse clothing.
At five and two and a half, Talitha and Ophelia are both at ages where clothing is fun. They especially love the vibrant colours and cheerful prints on these Ella waterproof raincoats. The shared colours in the details means that they’re kind of matching without twinning. They often ask to match but sometimes would rather not so this satisfies both desires.
In terms of performance, they’ve taken these coats into some serious rainfall and bitter winds and have been absolutely dry and toasty. It’ll be interesting to see how they fare through the winter season but they look so well made, I have no doubt they’re up to the job. The soft waterproof outer and the fleece lining make for a great combination of comfort and practicality.
I’ve come to really love this time of year. The world is full of celebration and change and altering your wardrobe is a silly, little, fun bit of that.
Delilah hit thirteen weeks today. My baby isn’t a new baby anymore. Not technically. I can’t keep calling her newborn. The 0-3 month clothes are bagged up, ready to be given away. Many of the 3-6 months are going that way too. I didn’t keep the clothes last time because I wasn’t planning to have any more babies. This time I have no plans. It just doesn’t make sense to move house with lots of bags of someday maybe’s.
Though I do think she’s likely our last. The thought of another pregnancy fills me with dread when I consider being that tired for that long ever again. I’ve been left this time with a stomach divarication for a souvenir. Hopefully with exercise my muscles will meet again but in the meantime, I have the strange sensation of not feeling like my insides are completely secure. I’m reaching for pelvic floor exercise videos recommended by a friend to ward off any long term effects of having carried and birthed my three beautiful babies.
On the other hand, this has been the easiest newborn period we’ve been through. We know how we do the baby thing, we’re settled enough not to worry about much and we’re extremely grateful that nothing major has come up. She’s now awake more, laughing, chatting, starting to reach for things, an active presence in our lives. Memory of life before her now has to be conjured up – it doesn’t come easily.
There is a part of me that sniffs her hair, gazes at her perfect sleeping face and thinks there’s something wildly addictive about babies.
It’s easy to swing back and forth. I did have a moment when Delilah was crowning where I very distinctly thought, “Why am I doing this again? I am never doing this again!” But a few days passed and Laurence, utterly loved up with this new baby, hinted that it wouldn’t totally be out of the question to have another. To which I instantly said it would be out of the question only to seconds later think, “but maybe?”
He’s back to saying three is fine but I don’t feel the need to be definitive either way. To say she is definitely the last and to paint every baby memory in “the last time” would unnecessarily depress me. Leaving the possibility hanging in the air actually gives me peace that I don’t mind if she is our last.
I seriously wouldn’t mind if this were the last time my hair falls out postpartum, though. It’s taking grit not to chop it all off this time.
Though it was only at the beginning of last month, Valley Fest now feels a long time ago. If you’re anything like us, though, you’re already daydreaming about festivals for next year. Maybe this will give you some inspo.
We opted to spend just a few hours at the festival on the Saturday as we didn’t want to overdo it with a newborn. It was pouring with rain and really put our waterproofs to the test! Luckily the babe I was sheltering with a broken umbrella was fast asleep for most of it.
We hung out for a bit in the green energy tipi where innovations were on display and they gave us some fascinating demonstrations on energy harvesting. I was particularly interested in the compostable tent, Comp A Tent, which biodegrades, offering a solution for those who abandon tents at festivals. We happened upon this tipi by accident because we weren’t given a map or any information, which we really could have done with but no matter, we muddled through.
Then we hit the big tipi to take in some folk music before grabbing crepes and boardgames and a trundle back to the car in the mud. It was wonderful being out in Chew Valley, overlooking the lake. It’s a great spot for a little festival like this and close enough to Bristol that we could have gone home for the night if we fancied. Actually, we opted to go stay with my in-laws who live in a village nearby. Another year, we’ll camp.
We made it over earlier on day two and it wasn’t raining so we took in bands both in the tipi and at the main stage. Talitha loved getting her hair wrapped in what we’re calling a festival braid – I can’t remember if it’s actually called that! She still has it in now! Ophelia had her face fully painted for the first time and actually fell asleep while it was being done, sweet girl.
The rest of the time, we wandered around Valley Fest, taking in the sights. We were fortunate enough to bump into Eleanor and her daughter from The Bristol Parent and hang with them for a bit. Ophelia and Delilah were pretty worn out by the end but Talitha was completely in her element. I think she could easily have stayed for longer.
That makes me look forward to hitting a festival or two next year. We may even come back and do this one as it’s a bit smaller and less hectic but still with lots of good stuff going on.
We were given tickets for Valley Fest in exchange for coverage.
I’m a bit late with this update but, hey, that’s life with a five year old, two and a half year old and very soon to be three month old. September was a busy month and, as ever, I’m glad I took pictures to remind me of some of what we got up to. Here are a few of the highlights.
Talitha finished the Alphablocks Reading Programme right at the beginning of the month. We hadn’t planned a break over the summer holidays as our routine wasn’t formal enough to warrant that but we ended up having a break nonetheless. The birth of a baby sister and an extended visit from my mother saw to that. When things started to return to normal, Talitha was super keen to finish the last couple of magazines in the series. On one hand, she was really pleased to get there (she has a thing about finishing things) but, on the other, it was all a bit, what now?
So we cracked out a Gold Stars Ready for School workbook that my mum picked up while she was over and Talitha is finding that a lot of fun. She’s continuing to read the Oxford Reading Tree books but, really, she’s having a go reading everything now. I think she enjoys the freedom it gives her, that she can get on with a lot of things on her own while I’m doing things with the other two. The Alphablocks Reading Programme has been a huge hit here and I’ll probably consider getting it again for Ophelia when her time comes. I’ll do a full review some time soon.
Tie dye was a definite highlight of September. I was surprised at how well Talitha was able to cope with it on her own. I must admit it was a bit stressful helping Ophelia do it when she had no real understanding of why she needed to wear gloves and Delilah kept waking up in her sling. Still, we muddled and the results are above.
After we finished The Enchanted Wood, Talitha wanted to read Matilda for Roald Dahl Day. We managed to get it started before the big day. We’ve found it thrilling so far – still a few chapters to go. I’m trying to decide whether we’ll attempt the film. Talitha’s seen the DVD in a shop and is interested. For Roald Dahlm Day at our home ed co-op, Talitha went as Matilda and Ophelia was Mrs Fox from Fantastic Mr Fox.
We were doing a “daily learning notebook” from Confessions of a Homeschooler which Talitha loved for months but then got bored of so we forgot about it after a while. We’ve followed the same pattern in quicker succession this month by starting another one, this time by Homeschool Creations. I admit to feeling a bit annoyed about this as, although I was following a request, I printed it against my better judgement. After doing it most days, she declared that she didn’t want to do it anymore. So, I’ve just left it out. She may come back to it or not but if she mentions printing another one in the future we may have to discuss what it is about the idea that she likes.
The Spielgaben love is going strong here. The girls forgot about it for a while over the summer but are back into it in a big way now and both of them have had a huge leap in what they want and can do with it now. Usually, I just get one of the books out and choose something I’m going to make and inevitably they start joining me. Ophelia usually tries her own version of what I’m making. Talitha looks through and chooses her own. Then I suggest we try one of the activities in the learning resources and usually it’s a yes. Otherwise, I count things in ones, twos, fives or tens which both of them find interesting. They’ll often join in.
365 Science Activities
Talitha was given the Usborne’s 365 Science Activities book for her birthday and usually asks to do something from it at a time when I had my hands full of baby or something else and couldn’t find any of the materials. So we agreed to make time for it and have actually scheduled in “science experiment time” two days a week where she and Ophelia choose an activity in advance so I can make sure we have what’s needed. So far, we’re all learning a lot!
The Maritime Museum
We finished off September with a week in Cornwall. We’re moving out there so needed to spend some time getting to know the place. We met up with other home ed families and went along to a home ed group so that was really helpful in terms of visualising what our week might look like out there. We also spent a day and a half in the Maritime Museum in Falmouth because the girls really enjoyed it. They had a Viking exhibition on which I hoped might inspire as I’m a bit dinosaur-ed out. Of course, I pointed out something they’d made from amber only to jog Talitha’s memory of something she’d seen fossilised in amber in a dinosaur book she’d been reading!
They have actually become really interested in Vikings but that’s more thanks to Cressida Howell’s How to be a Viking, which we bought from the gift shop. It makes sense that fiction is a catalyst when I consider that my interest is piqued by The History Channel’s Vikings. They did enjoy the exhibition, though. In fact, our time at the museum warrants its own post, really, which I will also hopefully get to soon. Above, they’re checking out snow fox pelts and a walrus tusk a Norse woman is trading.
Do you home educate? Please do consider linking up any post about something you’ve been up to below. All approaches welcome! x
Every month, I’ll give a little update on what we’ve been up to as part of This Homeschooling Life, a new linky I’m hosting with blogger friends Jess and Polly. If you blog, consider linking up.
This Homeschooling Life is a linky sharing a week, a day or even just a moment from your life as a homeschooling family. We are hoping it will be a great way to discover new blogs and learn how we all do things differently.
The linky will open at 8am on the first Monday of every month and, throughout the rest of the month, the hosts will share your posts on their social media channels.
It’s been a bit quieter here in the last couple of weeks. Those who follow me on Instagram may have seen that we were in Cornwall, in and round Falmouth, to be specific. We actually weren’t on holiday, though staying in a caravan and hanging out on the coast did make it feel that way. Laurence was working the whole time we were there. When I’ve mentioned in recent updates that he’s been working away, that’s where he’s been. We’re moving to Cornwall.
We made the decision when I was 38 weeks pregnant with Delilah (who’s now ten weeks old, can you believe it?!). We agonised over it, prayed about it. It’s such a good opportunity for Laurence, doing work he enjoys in a part of the country he’s longed to move back to. It’s a chance for our kids to grow up immersed in the outdoors. And I get to live near the sea again, something I’ve been aching for.
Still, we’re moving hours away from family and friends we will miss. Stepping out into the slightly unknown. Even after a week down there, imagining what our life there could be like, I felt my stomach knotting itself on the motorway back to Bristol. Saying goodbye is hard. Change is scary.
In a sense, I’m already a long way from home. In another, I don’t know where home is anymore. It’s not as drastic a move as going back to Trinidad and Tobago would be. My family is my home. My home is a moveable thing.
The children and I spent the week looking around Falmouth, meeting up with home educating families I’d make contact with online and chilling in the caravan. We spent an entire day in Maritime Museum (as in almost opening to closing!) and they still asked to go back the last morning we were there. Another day we visited Trellisick Park, a stunning National Trust property near Truro. We also made it to a home ed group in a community garden.
I’ve been so touched by the welcome we’ve received from people we met up with. Strangers have made us feel like friends. That’s made me feel a lot less anxious about the move.
We’ve only recently made the news public, partly because we wanted to tell people as we saw them but also because I needed to spend some time down there to wrap my head around what we were doing. I’d previously only been to that bit of Cornwall for maybe half an hour at most. Now that we’ve accepted an offer on our house here and had our offer accepted on a house down there, the wheels are fully in motion. We’ll be visiting a couple more times before the big move but it’s on. It’s happening. Hopefully in January.
The children are excited about the move but it’s hard to tell how much they really understand, that being there means not being here. We’re not making a big thing of it, though. They’re little enough that the adjustment may well be simple enough. There’s no point worrying them by harping on about something that’s overwhelming even to an adult.
We met Laurence for fish and chips on the beach after work and he took them swimming in the sea on the weekend. So far, that’s what the move means to them. They delight in meeting new friends and finding new places. It looks like the one with the most mixed feelings is me. But I am excited by the prospect of new places, new people, new plans. I really am.
I struggle with the idea of there being a prescriptive, singular plan God has for each of us. At the same time, I’m so aware that this is an opportunity to ask fresh questions about what it means to live intentionally, pursuing purpose. I wish I could say it was clear what this means in the context of this move. All I can see right now is an opportunity to make little decisions prayerfully, trusting that wherever we go and whatever happens, we are not alone.
The last day of my mother’s stay this summer is immortalised as the day a monkey pooed on our car. Seriously, my kids thought it was the best souvenir ever. In fact, our visit to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire was one of the best family days out we’ve had and a real memory builder I was especially glad we got to share with my mum.
We had conflicting suggestions on when we should arrive but wound up getting there for lunchtime as it’s tricky for us to get us all out of the house at the best of times and we were cleaning for an estate agent to come around and take photos the next day. So we packed lunch and had a little picnic on one of the tables next to the giraffes before walking over a rope bridge to see wallabies and lemurs. We got back in time to see the giraffes feed then headed back to the car for the safari.
We spent maybe a couple of hours driving through. The kids were spellbound. We all were. Well, Delilah was mainly feeding (yes, none of them were in their car seats – the cars were going at snail’s pace). I think the most memorable bit was driving through the monkey enclosure when a monkey jumped up and hung out on our car (see monkey poo reference above). Laurence had prepped the car but the monkeys still managed to nab the cover of the soap container for our windscreen wipers.
Afterwards, we stopped for supper at one of the restaurants before hitting the mini zoo bit where we looked at parrots, walked through the butterfly house and the girls took turns holding a snake! We then stocked up on treats from the sweet shop in preparation for the end of day parade in the square.
Longleat gave us tickets to visit for its 50 year anniversary celebrations and as part of that, there was an evening parade featuring African singing and dancing, pretty impressive floats (a couple splashed the audience to the girls’ delight) and donkeys being led around and scooped up after (their poo was also a highlight).
We wound up staying until past the girls’ bedtime which isn’t something we’d normally do but it was well worth it and both kept talking about our day there for ages after. We’ve meant to visit Longleat ever since we moved to Bristol six years ago but just never got around to it, partly because we felt it was expensive. Now that I’ve been, it seems a bargain for the experience and that’s even with needing to take it slow with a six-week-old. I’d be up for trying it again during their Festival of Light later this year as I’ve heard great things about that too. We might even get there a bit earlier to do more of it next time.