Cheeky Wipes Mini Kit: A Review

I’ve written before about using cloth wipes. There are a number of companies out there that make and sell cloth baby wipes, technically there’s no reason why you need to buy any of them. There are plenty of tutorials out there to make your own. However I liked the convenience and functionality of the kits, I liked the wet bags and I liked the fact that I didn’t have to think about what I needed, it was all there for me.

Why Cheeky Wipes?

My sister-in-law recommended them initially, she used Cheeky Wipes with my nephew. There’s a lot of choice on the website and it was easy to use. There’s plenty of information on the website about the different kits and the different wipe options under the “Help me Choose” tab.

Cheeky Wipes do a few different kits: All-in-One Kit, Mini Kit, Hands and Faces Kit and Weaning Kit.

The All-in-One kit comes with everything you need to use cloth wipes from the start, you get 25 wipes in the fabric of your choice, a Fresh Baby Wipes Container, a Mucky Baby Wipes Container, a Fresh Baby Wipes travel bag, a Mucky Baby Wipes Travel Bag, a 10ml bottle of Fresh Wipes Essential Oil Blend and a 10ml bottle of Mucky Baby Wipes Essential Oil Blend.

The Mini Kit is for people who are already using cloth nappies and therefore have the nappy bin and wet bag. It contains the 25 wipes, Fresh Baby Wipes Container, Fresh Baby Wipes Travel Bah and a 10ml bottle of Fresh Baby Wipes Essential Oil.

The Hand and Faces Kit is very similar to the All-in-One Kit, but for hands and faces. As there’s no poo involved the wipes can just go in with your normal washing. The kit contains 25 micro-fibre baby wipes, a Fresh Baby Wipes container, a Fresh Wipes Bag, a Mucky Wipes Bag and a 10 ml bottle of Fresh Baby Wipes Essential Oil Blend.

The Weaning Kit is designed for people already using Cheeky Wipes for bums. It comes with 25 wipes of your choice and a Fresh Baby Wipes Container.

You can also buy all the components of the kits separately.

We have the mini kit as we are cloth nappy users.

Ordering from the site is really easy, you just select your options – I went for the original white terry cloth wipes (and added an extra ten for good measure) and Lavender Essential Oil. Cheeky Wipes also sent me some Bamboo Wipes free of charge.

How do they work?

The premise behind the All-in-One kit is simple, you have a Fresh Wipes tub and a Mucky Wipes tub. Both containers have their own Essential Oils. You soak your clean wipes in a water and essential oil combination, before squeezing out the excess. These are then ready to use.

After use the wipe goes into the mesh bag in the Mucky Wipes tub, the mesh bag can then be lifted into the washing machine.

The Travel Bags follow pretty much the same concept. You take a handful of wipes from your Fresh Box and put them in the Fresh Bag. After use the dirty wipe goes in the Mucky Bag. Again you take the mesh bag and put it straight in the washing machine.

You don’t even have to dry the wipes, they can be re-soaked straight after washing and are ready for then next use (although they do recommend you dry them every once in a while).

The Mini Kit is slightly different. It doesn’t have either the Mucky Box or Bag, as it is meant for cloth nappy users who are likely to have these already, but in everything else it works the same.

Hand and Face wipes work in a similar way, however they can go straight in with your other washing – even simpler!

Cheeky Wipes in Use

At home they are fantastically simple to use. The instructions are simple and clear to follow and if you do get stuck they have helpful videos on the website. You just fill the tub up to the set line, add your essential oil and wipes, squish them about a bit to make sure they’re all soaked, squeeze out the excess and you’re good to go.

When you’ve used a wipe you just add it to your nappy bin and stick it in the wash with your nappies at the end of the day. As we wash our wipes with our nappies we put them in on a 40C cycle with a pre-wash and no softener.

We’ve had no issue using them when out and about either. The Fresh Bah kept any moisture from the wipes contained. They remained damp enough to do a good post-poo clean up and still smelt lovely from the essential oils. Then the dirty wipes went straight into the wet bag ready to be washed.

Is it worth it?

I think so. They’re not the cheapest things on the planet in upfront outlay, but they’re not particularly expensive either and considering the overall saving to your pocket and the planet is well worth it.

Cheeky Wipes not only offer a 10% discount on your first order, but they also have a different offer running every month. When I bought my Mini Kit I also received a set of Bamboo Wipes free of charge, these have been brilliant for using on Pippin’s face and hands.

Why we use Cloth Wipes

Before we had Pippin we were lucky enough to be gifted absolutely tons of cloth nappies, and for a good while we used them with disposable baby wipes. I think a few people, even if they can get their head around using cloth nappies, find the idea of cloth baby wipes slightly off putting. I can tell you through experience, if you’re using cloth nappies already it is infinitely more disgusting to have to carry a poo-covered wipe to the bin bare handed, than it is to rinse the whole lot and stick it in the nappy bin.

Why choose cloth wipes?OIO

Aside from the above, there are a number of good reasons to go cloth.

  1. It saves you money. This one is obvious really. A pack of baby wipes can set you back anything from 55p to £2 plus. A newborn needs around twelve nappy changes per day, even if you only use two baby wipes per nappy change that’s twenty four wipes a day. That means a pack of sixty four will last you around two and a half days. So lets say you get through two packs of sixty four in a week, even at 55p per pack that’s £1.10 a week. £1.10 x 52 = £57.20. That’s a very conservative estimate too, because that’s not including all the face wipes, poo explosions and general wipe downs that are done with baby wipes. Not to mention that your cotton ones can be used with any subsequent children.
  2. In the two and a half years (on average) your baby is in nappies you will use a hell of a lot of wipes. A hell of a tot of non-biodegradable wipes that will happily sit in landfill for a hell of a lot longer than two and a half years. Just think of all the poo covered wipes sat in our landfills. Nice…
  3. You know what is on your wipes. You can use just water, or Essential Oils, but that is it. I’m looking at the ingredients for a packet of disposable baby wipes right now. Any idea what Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate is? Carbomer? Me neither.

Aren’t they expensive?

They can have a bit of a pricey initial outlay. If you buy a kit. But you don’t have to, there are plenty of tutorials to make your own, just look on Pinterest. Even if you do spend £30 up front for a kit, that’s less than the cost for a years worth of cheap disposables.

Aren’t they a plain to wash?

No. We use cloth already so any bum wipes get a quick rinse and go straight in our nappy bin. Then we put a nappy wash on every night or every other night.

Along with our cloth nappies we put them on a 40C wash with a pre-wash (full rinse and spin) and no fabric conditioners. We use Cheeky Wipes and you don’t even have to dry them before putting them back in your Fresh Wipes container, although they do advise you to dry them every so often to keep them in optimum condition.

Aren’t they, well, gross?

Not particularly, but then it depends how squeamish you are about poo! But it is no more so than emptying out a potty, or putting a post-poonami outfit in the wash. If you can deal with those scenarios then you can deal with cloth wipes! (and cloth nappies).

 

Why we use Cloth Nappies

I knew I wanted to use cloth nappies, environmentally and financially they made a lot of sense for our family. I was really lucky that my sister-in-law had previously used them for my nephew, and was both a wealth of knowledge and also gifted us pretty much all of the nappies we could possibly need (and I am eternally grateful for that!).

Why choose cloth nappies?

1. They have saved us an absolute fortune. Even more so obviously in our case because we didn’t have the original outlay. Apparently babies need about fifteen nappy changes in the newborn stage, so even if you bought fifteen nappies brand new (which would be around £250 pounds), that is it. From birth to potty that’s you done. No more nappies forever. That includes subsequent babies too. I’m not daft enough to think that £250 up front is easy to find for everyone, because it isn’t, but I’ve just added two new nappies to our stash because I’ve found a couple of our Totsbots fit less well on Pippin now, and they were £16 for two secondhand. There are so many online groups for buying secondhand nappies, and you’re not only saving yourself money by doing that you’re also being even more environmentally friendly.

2. On average a baby will be in nappies for two and a half years. Obviously you aren’t changing fifteen nappies a day for all that time, but I can’t even begin to do the maths on the number of nappies you’re going to get through. Apparently there are around eight million nappies thrown away in the UK every day, that’s a lot, and they aren’t going anywhere. These nappies aren’t biodegradable, their components just sit there in landfill – indefinitely. Your child’s nappies will out live you, it’s an unpleasant thought. There’s been a much touted myth that cloth nappies are just as bad for the environment as disposable. Despite being much discredited due to problems with the sample size, what I would say to you is that the environmental cost of cloth nappies can be reduced by altering detergent, drying methods etc., however the environmental cost of disposables remains the same.

3. You’ll reduce your plastic consumption. Of course this falls under the environmental benefits, but I think it deserves a point all of its own. We all know the problems that our excessive love of plastic is causing our planet, and that we need to do something to reduce it. Cloth can do that. Disposables are plastic, in plastic, in plastic. Then they come wrapped in some more plastic.

4. You won’t have smelly nappies hanging round for up to two weeks. Pippin has a poo, I flush the waste down the toilet, sluice it and then put it in the nappy bin. That evening or the next day it goes into the wash and job’s done. In my area our black bin collection has reduced to every two weeks, you can get an extra bin collection if you have two or more children in nappies, but that doesn’t apply for most of us. So in the summer heat you can have nappies in a giant plastic box getting heated up. I wouldn’t want to open it!

5. You know what makes up your nappies, and what’s going on them. Disposable nappies have chemical gels in them, much like the ones you get in disposable sanitary products, that’s what makes them absorbent. Reusable nappies have a waterproof PUL outer, and then a combination of fabric inners to make them absorbent. That’s it.

Aren’t they expensive?

It’s a difficult one to answer. They can be. They biggest problem is that the outlay for cloth nappies is pretty much all in one go, and buying the things you need for your new baby can get expensive anyway. However the cost overall will be cheaper, buying disposables just allows you to spread that cost out a little bit more.

There are ways to reduce the initial cost. Asking family and friends to gift you some can be a good one, lots of people buy packets of disposables for new parents – just point them in the direction of the reusables instead! You can buy them second hand which cuts the cost significantly.

Some local authority areas offer cloth nappy schemes; this might take the form as a voucher to use towards buying your supplies, or a cloth nappy starter set. There are also hire schemes that allow you to try before you buy.

 

Pippin Explores – Speke Hall, Merseyside

I said we’d head back to Speke Hall when we got a chance, because Pippin slept through the whole trip last time.

We also had the advantage of better weather and a near empty property, so we tackled both the maze and the Childe of Hale walk.

We did the maze three, four, five time? I lost count. But Pippin adored it, especially climbing up and over all the bridges. We still got lost even though we’d been in it more than once, and apparently they change the route periodically using gates, so I guess we will get lost next time too!

The walk takes you through woodland, following the story of the English giant, John Middleton. Following the story through will lead you to various activities, including the giant’s huge musical instruments and an amazing woodland adventure playground (that the parents were enjoying as much as the adults!).

From a practical point of view, as a mum to a baby with a dairy allergy, we were able to get her soup and bread for her lunch, and the baby change facilities are easy to access and are separate to the main toilets – meaning that either mum or dad can change baby.

Speke is fast becoming my favourite local National Trust property, and we are definitely heading back for their Tudor May Day Celebrations.

Why I try not to say no

I’m going to start this whole post by saying it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, a sharp ‘no’ just slips out; sometimes I’ll admit it is during one of my daughter’s screaming tantrums, but by and large we don’t say no to her – unless it is really necessary.

When Pippin began showing all the signs of a baby about to crawl I floated the idea to my husband of minimising our use of the word ‘no’. Every indication led me to believe that Pippin was going to be a wilful little girl, and my experience of wilful little girls includes the liberal use of the word ‘no’, usually unheeded.

The thing is you need something that gets their attention. In a potentially dangerous situation you want their attention fast, and if no is something you hear multiple times a day then it just loses all its meaning.

That’s not to say we don’t have limits, or prevent her from doing things, because we do, we just phrase it slightly differently.

We talk a lot about ‘gentle hands’. She can be very heavy handed, as most toddlers are, so if she is we get down to her level and explain about being gentle.

We’ve talked to her a lot about not touching the oven and hob, because it is hot and would hurt, and shown her the steam. As of yet she hasn’t tried to touch it, and obviously she’s never alone near it anyway. She does point and tell me it’s hot (ot, ot) whenever she sees it.

Whereas when she picked up a stone and went to put it in her mouth, and mummy shouted ‘no’ she stopped. Immediately. She also cried and I felt bloody awful, but it did avert a situation that could have been dangerous. A cuddle and an explanation solved the tears anyway.

No, for us, will always be reserved for occasions where it is really needed.

Baby Book Club: Where’s Mrs Ladybird? by Ingela P. Arrhenius

Disclaimer here, I didn’t buy this book. This was a husband special. Every time he takes Pippin into town they come back with a little present. Sometimes it is a toy, sometimes a cakey treat and this time a book.

He was so excited about this book. They’d sat and read it in Waterstones before buying, and he was super excited because Pippin had a new trick!

What is it about?

Ingela Arrhenius has created a really beautiful lift the flap book for very little children, complete with the signature illustrations you expect from her work. The book shows a number of different garden insects hiding behind felt flaps – and we are asked to find them in a similar format throughout.

‘Where is Mr or Mrs X.’

The final page has a little twist, and this was the source of my husband’s delight

Why is it a favourite?

It is what it is. A simple lift  the flap book.

I really do like this book though. The illustrations are bright and they feel a bit retro, which I do like. It reminds me a little of some of the books of my childhood.

The felt flaps are a fantastic idea for tiny hands, Pippin hasn’t managed to damage the book and we have had it months now and read it a lot. We’ve had some lift-the-flap casualties before, Farm 1-2-3 didn’t last more than a day, but this is sturdy and we’ve had no problems with it.

So, what was Pippin’s trick you ask?

Well, the final page of the book asks the question “And where are you?” with a mirror.

And what delighted Pippin’s dad so much was that she looked at herself in the mirror, proudly stated that there was a baby on the page and gave her reflection a big, wet kiss.

I guess they had to buy it then…

Should you buy it?

It is a great book for little ones, especially if they’re anything like miss vanity and like looking at themselves in a mirror. The colours are bright, the pictures are endearing and the flaps are secure and sturdy.

It is basically a great book for reading with the very young.

My husband bought this book for her back in September, so she would’ve been around thirteen months old, she doesn’t reach for it quite as much now. When she does she is less interested in lifting the flaps, and likes to know the names of everything on the pages and ‘count’ the flowers, trees and other elements of the illustrations. But we enjoyed the book so much that we went back and bought Where’s Mr Lion? to add to our collection.

Baby Book Club: Hooray for Hoppy by Tim Hopgood

I’m an English and Creative Writing graduate, so it probably comes as no surprise that I love reading, I’m happy to report that so does Pippin. It makes my heart absolutely sing when she drags a book over to be read to, or pats the sofa so she can sit down and read with you.

I am always looking for new and beautiful books to read with her, although she already has a few firm favourites. We have read Hooray for Hoppy! by Tim Hopgood at every bedtime for at least the last month.

What is it about?

Hoppy, a rabbit, is waking up from his long winter sleep. He uses his senses to identify that spring has in fact arrived and he shares this joyous information with all his little bunny friends! The books beautiful illustrations take us with Hoppy from his burrow deep within the snow, to the smell of the fresh air, the sound of the bird song, the taste of the fresh grass, the sight of the lambs leaping in the meadow and the feel of the warm ground under his feet.

After he has realised that it really is spring time he just can’t wait to share the great news with all the other rabbits, but they aren’t there! So Hoppy thumps his feet in true rabbit fashion and calls them all to the hill and they are just as thrilled as he is that spring has finally sprung!

It is a book to help children learn about the five senses – and like the other books in the series it has a little section on the back to help re-emphasise the message in the book. At the moment Pippin is a bit young for this, but I really can’t see her getting tired of this book any time soon and I am very sure we will talk more about the senses with her in the future.

Why is it a favourite?

For me, because of the illustrations. We now have a lot of Tim Hopgood books in our reading corner. I first bought Tip Tap Went The Crab for Pippin’s book advent last year. We then quickly added Ping and Pong are Best Friends (mostly) and Wow! Said the Owl to our collection. I picked up What a Wonderful World at Plas Newyd in Wales and then I bought Walter’s Wonderful Web and Hoppy from and independent book shop in Beaumaris. I think you can safely say I’m a fan!

I love the bright colours, and I love the collage effect of the artwork. We spend a lot of time looking at the pictures, and Pip enjoys pointing at all the elements on the page, and we talk about what they all are.

Pippin’s favourite bits are showing me all the birds in the pictures, baaing with the lambs and thumping her feet just like Hoppy.

She takes her foot in her hand, drops it on the page and bangs her heel: as hard and as fast as she possibly can. You become proud of the strangest things when you become a parent – and that makes me very proud.

 

Should you buy it?

Yes, in short. The story is simplistic, but that is not a bar to reading with young children. It is short enough that it keeps Pippin’s attention, and we’ve been reading this to her since around the ten month mark. My nephew has also read it to her, so it is pretty easy for new readers to grasp too.

The pictures are engaging, and they allow for expansion to the story: ‘Can you show me all the birds?’ ‘What noise do the lambs make?’

It’s an attractive book, and it makes a great addition to our book shelf.

 

Pippin’s Adventures: Speke Hall, Liverpool

I’ve said it before, and again, I absolutely love being a member of the National Trust. For £108 a year we get access to hundreds of properties around the UK, which means we’re never short of somewhere to go for a day out. Whatever the weather.

Despite the frosty weather we’re being treated to at the moment we took a trip out to Speke Hall in Liverpool with the little.

Speke Hall is a Tudor Building sat in a large expanse of grounds, which you can explore and play in – but also watch the planes from Liverpool John Lennon Airport fly over!

Poor Pippin got to explore next to none of the grounds, she had fallen asleep within ten minutes of our arrival,  although she did find the time to make a new friend: a pug called Hercules.

If your child has more stamina than mine then you might manage to make it rounds the hedge maze with them, or you could enjoy some snacks from the café whilst they played on the huge play area. We are definitely going to go back and explore this with Pippin, because we’ve never properly had a look round it and it looked so much fun!

There’s also a special woodland walk, complete with zip lines, den building and outdoor obstacles to balance on.

 

We’ve been to Speke before, but not since Pippin was born and we never knew about all the fun things we could do with her there, so Speke will definitely be going on our re-visit list.

The house re-opens on February 10th, but until then there’s loads of outdoor spaces to explore.

Lets go Zero Waste

I’ve spoken before about my horror about our household waste since having Pippin, and post renovation I feel a little bit sick at the amount of things sent to landfill.

We did our best to keep things to a minimum by making sure we recycled what we could, but having contractors and less eco-aware family members involved, and frankly the shear volume of work we had done meant that we produced a lot of rubbish.

In addition to that whilst we were at my in-laws we were using disposable nappies, microwavable vegetables, weren’t recycling green waste: the list goes on. This isn’t a criticism by the way, people do things differently and I would always respect that. You can’t expect someone to feel happy about your daughter’s shitty nappies being washed in their machine basically!

It is important though to recognise that all this additional waste we produced has gone to landfill, and will sit there until it rots, which will probably not be in my lifetime. We threw it away, but really I don’t like to say that. There is no ‘away’, it isn’t some magical place where things just disappear to, its a pile of crap that gets bigger and bigger everyday.

But we are home now, and my intention is to make some big changes. During Zero Waste Week I made some pledges:

  1. To bring less packaging into the house.
  2. To make sure we recycled everything that can be recycled.
  3. To waste as little food as possible.
  4. To make use of the green bin for any unavoidable food waste.

I’m going to add to that now: bit by bit, over the course of the next twelve months, I’m going to address different areas of our lives and see how we can reduced our waste and our impact on the environment. I’m not saying we will go Zero Waste, and I’m not saying I will stick to this rigidly because life can sometimes get in the way, but I think we can make a significant improvement to our lifestyle.

The way I see it is that there are a number of areas I can look at to reduced our consumption and waste production (Is this starting to sound like toilet-humour to anyone else? Just me?). I’ve decided to work on this room by room, just to give me a way to group it easily.

So over the next twelve months I’m going to look at ways to reduced the waste in our Hallway, Dining Room, Living Room, Kitchen, Laundry Room, Nursery, Office, Bedroom, Bathroom, Garden and just generally.

Handy, that’s eleven topics for the eleven months that are left. It is almost as though I planned it that way.

Why I don’t make resolutions.

I know I’m a bit late to the game here, we’re already into the second week of January (how did that happen???), but bear with me here.

I used to make resolutions. Big long lists of them. Usually ones about diets, or ‘how to be less fat’, more exercise, drinking more water, eating better, doing more meaningful things. Generally ways I could, and should be a better version of me.

Inevitably I would break those resolutions, one by one, and feel guilty and generally terrible about the fact that I had, again, failed.

As the family got together on the eve of 2015, as we do every year, I didn’t make any resolutions. Not because I’d had any great epiphany about them but because I’d forgotten. My mum loved grandmother had been rushed into hospital on Christmas Eve after aspirating a piece of Salmon, she’d been discharged on Christmas Day but she was still critical. I didn’t have the head space to think about how I was going to better myself through the following year. She passed away in early January and I grafted through the year dealing with the loss, graduating from University and getting married.

The family got together again, and together we welcomed in 2016. I didn’t think about making resolutions, we’d gone on holiday over Christmas – an attempt to distance ourselves from the events of the year before – and I’d developed a urine infection. I felt sick, achy and generally crap and all I wanted to do was eat lots and drink bubbly. As it turns out these were the first symptoms of my very surprise pregnancy, as I found out on the 2nd January. So any ideas that might have been lingering in the back of my head about weight loss went out the window. I started my new job, I worked hard, I finished and then I had my daughter.

Again we met to celebrate the change of the years, and saw in 2017 in the way we usually do. My daughter was four months old; honestly I think I’d forgotten that resolutions existed. We’d also travelled up to see Liam’s Nana, as she rapidly lost her battle with cancer. Last year was one of the most emotional and special I can remember, so many moments that I really do cherish and will remember for a long time. My daughter learned to sit up, to crawl, to talk and to walk. She turned a whole year old. I got a new job and have colleagues that I really like and I’m enjoying it. My husband also got a new job that I hope will bring him happiness. I made some fantastic friends, and hopefully these friendships will continue to flourish. We had loss too, my Nana-in-Law passed away early in the year, but I am thankful forever that she met and loved Pippin.

So, true to form we met again to celebrate the coming of 2018. My husband stepped outside to welcome in the New Year, as he does every year.

And I made the conscious decision to make no resolutions. I’d not lost anything by not making resolutions apart from a sense of guilt. A year is a long time and things can change a lot in a year, your priorities can change a lot in a year. This way I might decide to do something, and then actually give it up – no pressure, no guilt, no remorse. I just changed my mind. Life is too short to try and pin yourself to some ideal vision you have of yourself, just go ahead and enjoy it.

And have a fantastic 2018.