Lova sling Nordic star : a review. 

When Alice Chau, the lady behind Lova sling asked me to host a wrap from her company I jumped at the chance. This brand is an up and coming Irish based company with the slings woven in Estonia. I’d heard so much about them and was excited to try. If you haven’t heard of them you need to read this! 

First impressions were how striking the pattern is in person. It’s like a really cool optical illusion. It felt very textured in hand and a little stiff so I knew it needed a wash to fluff up the fibers. So I had to wait to use it! 

When I’d washed and and dried it it felt so different. It has a bit of stretch but is more solid than most other all cotton I’m used to. The weave lends itself to a lovely amount of cush. I braved the ultimate test. My 5 year old in a front carry. The carry is an inside out coolest hip carry with a slip knot. This wrap is lovely to wrap with. It’s thin in hand so it does what it’s told. A nice texture so passes stay in place but not too much so it glides easily. Felt lovely on my shoulders. Didn’t sag or slip at all. Very impressed. 

Next we tried a double hammock with a candy cane chest belt with my 2.5 year old.it didn’t disappoint. As I spread the pass it struck me this would be an excellent wrap to learn with. It really just responds so well to tightening and the benefits of a good wrap job are immediately obvious. Yet the cush of the weave means a less than perfect wrap job would also be easily forgiven. I personally would need a multi layer carry for my big toddler to be comfortable. But for a smaller lighter child this is ideal for a single layer carry. 

The price point of these wraps is also excellent for beginners. A size 6 is 129 euro. So if you didn’t love wrapping it would be easy to sell on and not loose a frightening amount of money! Lova sling also make Mei deis and ring slings from the same lovely fabric. 

I find the pattern and colours very neutral and flattering. Although I’ve been know for favouring colour I do really like the monochrome look sometimes too! This pattern is available in red and blue also. 

What babywearing means to me. 

The good the bad and the ugly. Babywearing has become a way of life here. It’s survival. It can be raw and powerful. Sometimes I have put my son on my back so I don’t have to look at him,  and to stop him clawing at my breasts for a few minutes. 

I don’t have many pictures of these Imperfectly perfect moments. I’m learning how to be vulnerable but I’m not there yet. So I will be frank about our journey as part of this. 

It’s not always great. You start your babywearing journey blissfully unaware that it’s a living breathing community. It’s a life force and it takes you along with it. You post asking advice and you get encouragement from real mamas in online communities. You get praise for trying it. You feel like supermam and you are supermam! Those early postpartum days are tough though. This sling can become addictive. Wearing your child is addictive, and it’s biologically designed to be. 

But slings are a commodity. And retailers sell slings. And they sell them well. They know these things. There is a “falling down the rabbit hole” many wearers joke about. But it’s true. There are a few retailers, ones I have chosen to affiliate myself with that I love. They are here to help you wear your baby. They provide the product. They have a charitable aspect to them. They donate their time to better the community. There are some retailers who prey on your insecurity as a new mother, and market themselves accordingly. Be careful how you fall. 

Be careful how you buy. Carriers aren’t cheap. They range from 50-25,000 euros. I’m not joking. It’s no longer guaranteed you’ll get back what you paid, or even sell at all. So only buy what you love and are happy to keep. The second hand market is saturated. On the plus side it is a great place to nab a bargain though. 

I spend a lot of time online. I’m separated from my husband and I’m alone with my kids a lot. I struggle with real life social interaction at times. The babywearing community has given me so many friends in my phone. Sometimes we hang out all day. It’s not just about babywearing but that’s how we found each other. It’s wonderful. What’s not always wonderful is trying to desperately sell a sling because you need the money. And I have been there. I have also wanted a sling so bad I’ve searched and stalked for it. All this can leave you feeling very empty. I’ve often received a wrap I worked so hard to get, and been disappointed straight away. 

I’ve made bad choices with wraps and some of them haven’t been good for our needs and I’ve lost a lot of money on them. It’s a high. A gamble. You seek it, you get it, it’s on the way, you track it it arrives and……. It digs or it’s not as vibrant or its to grippy. Then you feel guilty. You list it. You try sell it. You have money and you buy something else and on it goes. It’s a journey. What you can gain along the way is experience to help others, friends, and some brilliant slings. What you can loose is a lot of time and money. I’ve both lost and gained in equal measure. 

Sometimes my wrap job hurts me. But I smile take a selfie and hide the slack. We all want to be seen in our best light. Social media as a platform for self or business promotion is very misleading at times. I get it wrong, we all do. But do we necessarily want to tell everyone? Not always. I’m aiming to be more honest, more true but it’s difficult. And some days you just need a lift too. “that wrap looks beautiful on you” can just be what you need to hear when you’re covered in yogurt and haven’t showered in 4 days. Parenting is hard and I’m a firm believer in whatever gets you through the day. 

Sometimes I put him up if he doesn’t want to because I need a picture to post to interact with my online community. Or I want to practice a new carry. Or I need him to be close as he’s getting more independent and further from me. Your babywearing relationship will grow and develop as your parenting journey does. For me it’s become interlinked with all my facets of what makes me me. It’s an expression, it’s a tool, it’s comfort for us all. 

When you consider using a sling with your new baby,you are considering opening your world up to all these wonderful and sometimes not so wonderful nuances of a tightly knit community. I feel this journey has grown me as a person and taught me things about myself I never knew were there. However deeply you decide to go, well wear. 

Black Opal Shiver Me Paisley Joy and Joe : A Review. 

This wrap comes from Joy and Joe’s Artisan collection. The collection is woven from their smaller weaving house run by a father and son team. It is distinguished by the use of luxury fibers woven together in four or quad blends. 

Black Opal is a heavy weight wrap. Woven using the original Shiver Me Paisley weave. The blend is 35% mulberry silk, 35% Irish linen, 25% Egyptian cotton and 5% bamboo. It comes in at a whopping 370 g/M2. It is a beautiful light gold and black colour. 

uI was lucky enough to get a size L or size 5 in Black Opal. Unboxing was a real treat as this is the first quad blend from Joy and Joe. First impressions in hand were although it is substantial it is very soft and yielding. Most wraps from Joy and Joe arrive finished and Black Opal did. So although it is a thick dense wrap it was delightfully marshmallowy in hand. 

It wraps wonderfully for me. I prefer heavyweight wraps now we are in the toddler and preschool years. It has a lovely diagonal stretch that gives good feedback when tightening. It’s very solid though, the linen lends itself to that. With a size 5 in this GSM I would most likely ruck with a candy cane chest belt with my toddler. It is more than up for the job. The bamboo gives a stunning cush on the shoulders. Picky shoulders could never feel dig with this blend. My 4.5 year old in a Kangaroo front carry was extremely comfortable. We don’t front carry much thanks to my lower back issues but we had a very lovely 45 mins of smooshy cuddles and a dance. It held solid in a single knot under bum. 

The gold side is deliciously shimmery and gives a lovely contrast to the black. There really is no wrong side in my opinion! My mother, pictured above, gives a very positive second opinion. She comfortably carried my 4.5 year old in a single layer ruck with a candy cane chest belt. 

I’m known for being a huge fan of colour but this is my “little black dress” wrap. It will never let me down. Goes with everything, wraps like a dream. Style, function and a little bit special. The artisan range was woven with a custom for Joy and Joe ambassadors 2016. Sadly I did not make it in time to secure the original colour but this is my second choice of colour and I’m so glad I have something to remind me of that time. We were allowed a lot of input into the blend and design. These were small releases. And that makes them extra special. 

The care and attention to detail in this range is impeccable. I’d compare them to a high quality hand woven wrap for those that would like a comparison. Really top notch. Dense, cushy, thick and reliable. Well done Joy and Joe you should be very proud. 

Opitai Clifden

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Opitai is a big name in the babywearing community. Known for wrap conversions to full and half buckle, onbu and mei tais. Fay Gibson has made a name for herself based on excellent customer service and a pattern for a carrier that’s comfortable, stylish and practical. She has many options for customisable carriers also.

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Many wraps must have passed through the hands of this very talented lady over the years. And that knowledge and experience really shows in her latest venture into designing and weaving her very own woven wraps.

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This is Opitai Clifden. And it’s really blown me away. I was sent it for a holiday from another babywearing mama. As soon as I held and wrapped with it I knew I had to have my own. It’s intricate and thoughtfully done. The colour can’t be captured well on camera but it’s a stunning teal with lavender it seems. Contrasted with a crisp white it just glows.

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It wraps so well too. Fay was so kind and accommodating when I requested a size 9. No problem at all. As a plus size babywearer and a big boy to wrap our Base size is a 7. In order to try fancy finishes we need a bit more length than is readily available from most manufacturers. Not a problem for Opitai though.

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We love trying all the fancy finishes we can think of in this gorgeous wrap. It’s loom state when it arrives but machine washable as it’s 100% cotton. Once washed it’s so soft and ready to go. It has a bit of bounce and is extremely mouldable, makes the best chest passes. It has a fair amount of cush on the shoulders too. It has a shine to it too. Really a pleasure to wrap with and I’d say it would make a great shortie wrap also.

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This is a back wrap cross carry with a celtic knot finish. Its typically a Base plus one or two finish. We love this carry and are delighted we can do. It now with such a stylish wrap!

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Opitai have collaborated with babywearing Ireland to weave a special wrap available in October at the wear a hug fair in the Glenroyal Hotel in Maynooth. Today is the last day to order so get your skates on link below to the Opitai chatter Facebook group where you’ll find all the information. And yes that’s my 4 year old above. Everyone needs an Opitai!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/180591632313422/

Susa Weaving: A Review

Susa weaving is a lovely Irish handweaver based in Co. Cork Ireland. Eavan O’ Leary is the lovely talented lady behind the wondrous wraps you’re about to see. Passionate and a genius behind the loom. Eavan knows wraps.

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She first sent me her first woven wrap called “Charlies delight”, and delight he did! A herringbone woven size 5 in these luscious sunset over water colours. Medium weight in hand and silky to touch, I could hardly believe this is an all cotton wrap.

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We first did a double hammock with a knotless finish. The double hammock pass just slid into place and the texture of the weave looked it in place. I had a lovely snug chest pass that just moulded Scott to me. Such a pleasure to wrap with.

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I then rucked with it. For me this is the ultimate comfort test. All your babies weight on your shoulders takes a special wrap with some cush to be comfortable. I’m happy to report this was extremely comfortable in a ruck. I finished with a ring for the pretty colours!

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He was up in a ruck for a good while with no sag and I just couldn’t stop taking selfies with this gorgeous wrap. The colours on my shoulders, amazing.

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We brought Charlie’s delight to Dublin zoo to test fully. A day of ups and downs wrapping and really wrapping. Hours of use and possibly a long nap. That’s the true test!

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Started off with a double hammock with a candy cane chest belt. Again so easy to tighten. The pass just glided and locked. A little bit of bounce and stretch. Wrapping over a coat is challenging at the best of times but this was no problem at all.

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An hour of walking in now still really comfortable and I’m just glowing with these colours!

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Scott couldn’t be happier having his lunch on the go 🙂

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Then something amazing happened. My mam really loved this wrap and she asked me to wrap my 4 year old on her (tired legs) while Scott wanted to walk. This was just gorgeous.

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That middle marker is like art. And it comfortably held my 4 year old in a ruck for a good hour while she had a rest with my mam. No dead arms or sore shoulders reported. I was really sad to send this on 😦

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But fear not! Eavan was so kind to send us her next master piece “hello Mr magpie”. This wrap is a size 4 heart weave. And this is what I meant when I said Susa weaving is run by a genius. Eavan developed her own method of weaving these hearts using 4 shafts! Now I’m not 100% sure what that means, weaving still seems like magic to me, but seriously so so talented!

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Hello Mr magpie feels different but no less amazing to Charlie’s delight. Feels lighter in hand and a dryer texture. Slightly more fluffy. So we went straight in with the big kid test.

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A ruck with a candy cane chest belt with my 4 year old. So soft and comfortable as reported by her and me! Like a cloud on my shoulders.

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So stylish too. This wrap would go with everything!

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Look at that gorgeous middle marker too where the weft changes from white to grey giving an entirely different look. Magical I tell you 🙂

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So we did the zoo test again. Another cold day in Ireland so wrapping over bulky clothes no problem again. I seriously got the best seat with this. The weave and the texture that lends means when you pin your seat with a bunched pass it just sticks.

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We had to get a picture with the penguins. Scott had a very comfortable nap too. A lovely day and so many complements on this stunning wrap.

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Susa weaving will be launching in September and the babywearing community is very excited. Eavan is creating some of the best handwovens many of us have tried. She will be the only handweaver on the Emerald Isle too. Susa means “wrap or blanket” in Gaelic. And I’ll definitely be looking for one of her gorgeous works of art and technical perfection to use with my wrapees. I suggest you get your finger on my the button too. This company is going places. Here’s a link to her Facebook group : https://m.facebook.com/susaweaving/

A churner at heart

Hi everyone. Well sorry it’s been a while but rest assured I’ve been working hard! At the moment my stash is unrecognisable to what it was last week never mind the last time you saw it. I’ve accepted there is little hope for me! The right pile is mine minus two and the left are here on holiday. I’ve really found the love for sending and receiving holidays but more about that further down.

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As many if you know I rep for a lovely brand called Joy and Joe. I bought this ring sling from a lovely mama and convertor in Ireland called mamimakes. She’s fully insured and does lovely work including my babywearing bag. I actually can’t wear him on my front without him taking the opportunity for a feed, but that’s OK. The snuggles are nice.

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I also ordered the gold version of Joy and Joe’s monochrome dream. I love this wrap as reviewed previously. Actually there’s a lot of twinning going on I also have fountain of love emerald in a long wrap and fountain of love sapphire in a ring sling as above! I think I’m really hitting my stride and what I like now. And look at that package, I was seriously spoiled by Joy and Joe!

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This is a Yaro pomegranate size 4 cassis black. It’s on holiday I’m breaking it in for a friend due a baby in a few months. The thought of it leaving motivated me to buy it in a 6 for myself so more twinning! It’s a great wrap, extra wide and cushy but thin. All the qualities I like. And it won’t break the bank. A 4 goes for 60-70 euro.

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I do still love my high end wraps. This is solnce Xhuyaa Endless Sky size 4. Its solid and airy. Great a ruck. But I am leaning more towards the mid range to budget wraps now after a whirlwind trip around high ends ville. It’s s so scary to have so much money in one wrap. This and the market being flooded with all the releases is causing monetary value to drop with a lot of previous highly sought after wraps. This and some personal financial circumstances prompted me to sell woven wings mr kingfisher. The wrap I wanted for so long 😦

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But fear not I bought some lovely wraps since! Didymos orient size 2 is just gorgeous. So airy and colourful. Its great for going to our local park and wearing as a robozo or scarf while Scott runs riot. I wouldn’t wear it for long walks now it’s not the most supportive because of the looser weave that makes it cool. Often one advantage in a wrap can be a disadvantage in another way. It can be hard to find a wrap that has it all. That’s why I have so many!

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But this one has it all. This is Artipoppe canapa denim. A hemp cotton blend. Its thin and supportive, great glide with passes, tightens well and stays put. Its light airy but really supportive. I just love it. So much so I committed to buying a matching Cin bag to go with it. I can’t see this going anywhere. I often think I could sell but there’s nothing I could buy that would be better for me. This wrap retails at 690 euro and sells on for 350/400 euro. I traded for it so I actually can’t remember what I have “in” it. But it doesn’t matter. This is our end of days wrap.

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So holidays. Loving holidays. In the current market if you can make friends with some lovely mamas you can send and receive wraps for a temporary time. Before I was afraid to do this. So many doubts, what if I damage it or what if I fall in love with it? I’ve learned most mamas including myself look after a holiday wrap better than their own. With the market as it is too you’re no longer guaranteed to recoup funds. So, if you’ve the urge to “try all the wraps” holidays or temporary trades is the way to go. Just make sure to do it safely. Make sure everyone knows the rules, post registered, do not wash or wash according to the owners direction, exchange feedback. I have sent two of my wraps travelling to mamas I don’t personally know but trust their feedback. The wraps are going to each mama for a week. 6 weeks all together. Its nice to give something back to a lovely community.

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Oh here’s a picture of my husband. There’s nothing sexier than a babywearing daddy in my humble opinion!

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Ahem, community Yes. This is Ali Dover dream. Ali Dover is a lovely English based weaver. I saw this wrap and I wanted it. I knew I’d love it because I had good life another wrap by her. I put my interest up on the Facebook group dedicated to her wraps and fans. Another mam kindly got in touch and said she had the wrap but needed funds so would I like to buy it. I explained I would have to sell the one I had and she waited patiently for me to pay. This is the lovely community that’s so heartwarming to be a part of.

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And we love dream! You do have to be careful too though and protect yourself when buying selling trading and dipping. I can do another post on that if there’s interest? But for now let’s keep it warm and fuzzy and light!

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It’s nearly summer in Ireland. Yay! No babywearing coats to hide the pretties. There’ll be many adventures no doubt. Hope you join us! My next post will be a review of two stunning handwovens I had the pleasure to test from an up and coming handweaver in Ireland called Susa weaving. 😍

Joy and Joe monochrome dream, a review.

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As a Joy and Joe ambassador 2016 I’m delighted I got to preview this lovely wrap before its general release, details as above. This is Joy and Joe’s first release this year and is much anticipated.

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Can I just take a moment to talk about the package you will receive from Joy and Joe if you choose to order this wrap. Its really the perfect package. It contains so much care and information especially for first time wrappers. A lovely information booklet and dvd. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed about learning how to wrap you really feel Joy and Joe is thinking of you. When I received my first package of fountain of love emerald (and my longest standing wrap) this was the same lovely feeling from this all encompassing family run business.

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Monochrome dream is a medium weight wrap at 352 GSM. It’s 100% Egyptian Cotton. A size 6 is priced at 89. 99 gbp which is really unheard of for such a luxurious fabric. It is woven using a sateen finish similar to shiver me Paisley noir to those familiar. To those not it really shines! It is twill weave too. A very lovely combination.

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It feels light in hand and soft from the box. It arrives finished so you can wrap with it straight away. It wraps really well and feels very supportive with 12 kgs of Scott. This wrap will only get better from here as it breaks in fully.

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The design is super stylish and will absolutely go with everything! I would wear this with colour or black and white or anything really. It just pops. I think the stripes are so interesting and really unusual.

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The shoulder pleats beautifully and this wrap looks incredible in my go to carry double hammock with a candy cane chest belt.

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I have tried a lot of wraps and I can honestly say any seasoned wrapper and beginner alike would do well with this wrap. It’s certainly value for money too. We only found the price point out after they had landed with us for preview and I can honestly say I’m stunned. Its as luxurious if not more so than many high end wraps I have tried. Honestly I’m not sure I would have chosen this myself. I tend to be drawn to colour. But I’m so glad this wrap has come to live with us now. It just goes with everything. Very easy going like myself!

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And look how amazing it fits into a stash shot!