Monday, December 29, 2014

Joy and Joe - the luxe version! A quick review and a GIVEAWAY!

Hold onto your hats. We're finishing 2014 in style - Joy and Joe are sending out a size 6 cashmere/merino/egyptian cotton maxi roses luxe to one of YOU. Retailing at £175, this tri-blend is fantastic choice for winter, in rich reds and dulcet ivory.

The exact blend is premium grade red cashmere 25%, merino-wool 25% and Egyptian cotton 50% ... sound luxe yet? Wool is wonderful for newborns right through to toddlers, and having had a Joy and Joe woollie here, I can vouch for their softness and cushy support.

Maxi Luxe tips the scales at 285gsm and is 66cms wide, similar to early Pavos (Penumbra) and a lot of Didymos Indios - great for beginning wrappers who can find themselves a bit overwhelmed by wider wraps like Diva Milanos or Kokadi.

While I haven't stuck my claws in one of these yet, the fibre blend plus weave structure (roses are given texture with an embossed twill, background is plain single weave) suggests this will be airy and passes will not have a lot of grip. Please remember it will need hand washing as wool doesn't take kindly to agitation! I believe there may be something of a sale on at the minute... (check Joy and Joe's Facebook), but if you want one for free just find the photo on my Facebook and leave a comment to enter!

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Yaro slings - review

Yaro Slings is the budget version of Solnce, (49€ or about $75 aud!) and after playing with this lovely, I think I'm going to start recommending them as one of my favorite beginner-friendly wraps.

 The only thing it's missing is a teaching rail to help new wrappers avoid getting their wrap in a twist.

 Aesthetically, I love it. Calm, gender-neutral, not fussy or busy. This is a thin wrap (around 230 gsm) with a tiny knot and I did think it might be a stretch with 34lbs/14kgs on board, but no. 

I think the easy crumple and lightweight weave make it FEEL like a wrap suitable for newborns, and with very little grip, there's no fighting required with passes. 

I took it to a meet on Friday and this was the perfect wrap to help a mama with a 7lb 4wo wrap for the first time- she got a sleek FWCC wih bunched passes that sat snugly and won't fry anyone in our scorching Aussie summer. It's also a great wrap for multi-pass carries - a DH was easy to tighten strand by strand and I got the most impeccably smooth chest pass (of course, while out and camera-less...).

 Love it and VERY pleased to be offering one size 6 to help you start your stash or enable someone else's! The post to comment on is on my Facebook page - Just look for the Yaro pic! 

Edited to add: here we are again now that Audrey is nearly 16kgs and 3.5yo. 

This all-cotton has been loaned out many times and it's still a comfortable and sleek wrap job with my bigger kid ;) passes are easy to maneuver and the lightweight weave has proven itself beginner-friendly many times. 
Winner winner. 

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Silver Lining Slings; Pipe Dreams Kabocha - Review and GIVEAWAY!

Silver Lining Slings is a North Carolina wrap company established in 2013 by mother Sonia Parrella. Together with designer Claire Stanhope, they're producing slings with a clean stylistic aesthetic that appeals as much to baby wearing dads as to mothers - and with some neat experimental fibres, like the silverspun that is ACTUALLY silver and naturally antibacterial. They have some neat goals and ideals, like staying sustainable, being committed to paying it forward and supporting charitable organisations, utilising local industry and promoting the benefits of babywearing in all its forms and variations, not just the ones that use a whopping piece of their (beautiful) fabric. I'm all about grassroots and education, so a company that's pushing THESE goals - brilliant. Ok. Their wraps.

Packaging is divine. Wrapped in printed furoshiki and including comprehensive instructions, this is delicious to unwrap. Audrey promptly commandeered our furoshiki and has declared she'd like a dress made from it, so thank you for your furoshiki design, Emily Sanford!

While the wraps I have in hand are all-cotton, they are marshmallowy and delicious with just a little washing and wearing; the color contrast is clean and sharp, and yes - my husband had NO reservations about grabbing "that orange one!" when heading out of the house with Audrey.

 Weighing in at about 280gsm, Pipe Dream Kabocha (you can see others from the collection here) is a medium wrap that wraps true to size and has a nice amount of grip. 

I played around with some sling rings and was really happy with its mouldability and density - enough cush to ruck Audrey with, but not so much that I overwhelmed an 8kg demo doll in a BWCC with fancy ring finish :) 

We road tested a variety of carries - and with a 15kg/34lb toddler this stood up very well in FCC, FWCC, DH, and plain ole' ruck, rocking to sleep, cuddling away a bump, and hiking through the shops.

Wrapping a multilayer carry I found that the flat blocks in the pattern let Pipe Dream's passes slide pretty well. It's a nice fusion of visual aesthetic and textile function. 

Happily, I have a Pipe Dreams Kabocha to give away - one size 6 wrapped beautifully in its furoshiki (I hid it from Audrey!) ready to roll up to your doorstep - maybe even in time for Christmas!

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Solnce - Genesis Moonshine Review and... GIVEAWAY!

Over in the Netherlands, Olga Shevchenko is doing beautiful things with fibres. Her luxury range of Solnce wraps and slings comprise textile art, practicality, form and function. 

 Solnce archives reveals fibres as diverse as tussah silk, cashmere, mulberry silk, camel wool, merino, baby alpaca, diverse linens and cottons.

Of course, after I whipped myself into a lather of excitement over these beauties, I was delighted to open a box from Olga and pull out the glorious Genesis Moonshine. 

This is a tri-weave that's 80% Egyptian cotton, 20% linen. From the bag it felt reasonably thick, coarse and weighty. However, once unfolded,  I could see that 'thickness' was a result of texture and the way the ecru linen lifted against the cotton; the visual 'pop' is stunning and I threw it in the wash expecting great things.

I wasn't disappointed. Just hanging this out after a wash it felt different in hand; the pattern lifted even more but felt much more flexible and ready for use. Wrapping a heavier toddler/child, I like a wrap with texture that locks passes in place. No disappointment here. 

Wrapped against bare skin for the first time, this was... Exfoliating? The texture has quickly settled down with a quick iron (I am NOT an iron-er!) and translates into generous cush and unbelievable support. 

After a couple days use, we've road tested a variety of front and back carries with both Audrey (now about 30lbs) and a weighted doll (about 20lbs)- FWCC of course, FCC, DH with some different finishes and BWCC.

 Much like Pavo's Farrand and Sparkleberry, this is a work of textile art with wonderful wrapping qualities. Great give, wonderful cush, rock solid support and a stunning visual aesthetic.

The fibre blend (linen/Egyptian cotton) is grippy and breathable, and would make a wonderful shortie. 
I am utterly delighted to be able to give away one of these gorgeous boutique wraps in size 6 - to score a Solnce Genesis Moonshine simply make friends with the widget!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Daiesu 100%cotton woven wrap Jigsaw - review and GIVEAWAY!

Daiesu are a budding wrap company located in Malaysia and fronted by Ilyani Mat, who designed "Jigsaw" and launched it into the ether (You can purchase from Etsy!) where it's finding a warm welcome. 

Using safe dyes and quality organic cotton, Daiesu wraps are woven in India and are incredibly easy on the budget (a size 6 will set you back approximately $120AUD plus postage, a ring sling $70-80).

Jigsaw came to me in Raspberry for testing, and it's possibly the softest wrap I have EVER pulled straight from the bag. It's very well hemmed and finished, and with a width of 73cms there's quite enough wrap to get a deep seat under a tall toddler - or to snuggle a squish without wrestling a lot of extra width.

I love the pattern. Love it. Simple and clear, great clean contrast, and a nice density in the color (pictured with Pavo's Flamingo Unicornio for color comparison). 

As I said, this was floppy right from the bag, and I did think it mightn't be love with 30lbs of child. Oh no, it's good. 

Even after a wash, the pattern doesn't lift much, so passes are quite easy and don't require a lot of effort to tighten. Weighing in at 260 gsm, this has a little bounce, (like a thin-medium jacquard Didymos, or Pavo Unicornio) which made a double hammock a winner and FWCC really comfortable. Jigsaw is cuddly and manages some cush without being bulky or overwhelming; I didn't get dig or sag despite a bouncing Audrey (we saw a horse, it was VERY exciting).

Fantastic wrap at the right price- I'll be watching Daiesu for Ilyani's next design!

If you would Iike a Jigsaw of your own,
I have Iris and Raspberry here- and only one of them can stay! Just interact with the widget and cross your fingers...!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pavo Textiles - Farrand Turquoise/Amethyst review and GIVEAWAY!

I should start by admitting I'm a total nut for Pavo Textiles. I've tried Penumbra and Etini (Magnolia, Holly and Poinsettia), Unicornio, Parterre, Ama, Swallowtail, Hearts (LOTS of hearts!), Zebra, Cheetah, Gotham (Brick and Parakeet)... and I haven't met one I dislike yet. Their designs are diverse; cute hearts, playful mermaids, whimsical unicorns and folklore - geometric and structured; swallowtail, hanakotoba, and harmony... and then grand, like the incredible intricacy of etini, the parterre patterns (with their garden walls) and oh yes - Farrand.
This is like the love child of Parterre and Sparkleberry. The tri-weave makes you THINK you're looking at purple, turquoise, or gold, but when you look closer you see the elements of the colour  (Or as Audrey says; "Blue, red, PURPLE wrap!") and appreciate the density and cush this creates in the texture.

In the bag, Farrand Amethyst is dense and weighty, all substance and no play. This is a serious piece of textile art, y'all. I took it out, frowned at it, did my best not to be intimidated and threw it in my friendly front-loader. Then we had to go out, which was good, because left to my own devices I would have obsessively petted and patted it until tolerably dry.

Moving forward, this wrap just keeps getting better. It was a BEAST new, and I spent some spare time working out (twisting, untwisting, running through rings and banging it against the floor) until BOOM. There it was. The pattern lifted with washing and then worked back in, the whole thing fluffed out and I swear I could carry a seven-year-old without strain. I also love that the wrong side (as seen below) is just as epic as the right... 

 Farrand has this weird way of being very present in the hand (heavy, tactile, dense) and then fluffing up into a cloud that supports your child's weight (12 kilos, in my case) effortlessly. The pattern locks passes in place and makes me feel glamorous. Not sparkly complicated glamor, like etini, but blow the doors off the hinges, this is THE ONE. This will be pried from my cold, dead hands.

Notice how I'm emphasising the progression of this wrap? The move from holy shit, that's an immoveable slab of thread to OH MY I just want to roll around in it? That's so you won't be scared when Turquoise arrives on YOUR doorstep, brand new in bag and ready to roll. Yup, Pavo Textiles have given me a size 6 Farrand to send to one of YOU! Obviously you will need to do some clicking... and get ready to be rewarded!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Twiga Babywearing coat!

We need to talk. After acquiring a Momawo babywearing jacket, I said I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to wear all-year round. Well, I still would, but now that it's warming up, I don't need quite so much insulation, more a windstopper to cut the chill and keep off the damp... and Twiga has come to the rescue. 

This is SLEEK. Without a baby bundled in the front or back (HEY, it comes with two slightly different style inserts, so you could actually tandem in this!) it's a really nice A-line jacket with a removable hood. Audrey liked the child's hood (removable) so much she insisted on wearing it WITHOUT the jacket, which was amusing on a sunny 24C day. The panel pictured above is the cooler option; the adult jacket stays open above the insert. For colder weather and smaller babies or back carries the second panel (which allows a full closure in the adult collar) would be more comfortable :)

As you can see above, the insert is designed to fit snugly and accommodates a 2.5yo in a front or back carry - pretty impressive. I really like the streamlined fit of this coat and the built-in 'gloves' (not GLOVES, but hand warmers with a thumb hole!) are deal-makers for me. I ALWAYS suffer from cold hands in the winter and there's nothing worse than a chilly breeze gusting up one's sleeves. 

Fortuitously, we've had a couple weeks of drippy rain. As I write this, it's gently and pervasively dripping outside. Even when it's NOT raining precipitation seems imminent. A couple jaunts to the park have been saved by this coat; I wear it with the panel stuffed in my bag, Audrey trots alongside in her hoodie, then when rain threatens I tucker her in a wrap, zip the extra panel in and we bolt home. Good times. The zip-closure pockets are great for keys, phone and wallet - quick trips don't even need a bag. 

You can see the nice cosy fit afforded by elastic toggles at Audrey's neck and in the hood; and see my hands?! That's PART OF THE COAT. GENIUS. 

Generously, Twiga has offered to give one of my followers their own soft-shell babywearing jacket - they come in black, red, or turquoise, and you can find a size chart and the official description HERE. When you know what size you need, you can click to enter right about... here! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ergobaby stretch wrap - review and giveaway!

I say Ergo, you say soft structured carrier, right?
Not any more. Ergobaby has been listening carefully to parents lately. The light, breathable Ventus model, the Ergo 360, and now an Ergobaby stretch wrap are all on the market. Why a stretch wrap, you ask?
When you look at a newborn and then a soft structured carrier the two aren't always a good match. It's really important to preserve the natural kyphosis of a newborn spine, while being supportive enough to hold baby close, mimicking an in-arms position, and keep airways clear - TICKS guidelines, remember?

 A wrap doesn't need adjusting. It'll conform to the body wearing it, whether that's a newly postpartum mama, a skinny dad, a cuddly grandma or proud grandpapa. You can pre tie and pop baby in and out with minimal adjusting, and the strong stretch of 95% cotton, 5% spandex will support your body and baby's. 

The Ergobaby stretch is rated from 3 to 14 kgs. On trial with a 4kg demo doll and a 9 kg demo doll, I was impressed by how secure everyone felt. The knit feels quite lush in hand and washes beautifully, nothing flimsy about this! Generously, Ergo have provided me with one to give away, so if you have a squish on the way, know someone who does, or you're planning one any... month now, hit the widget and get your entries in!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tangled Weaves - handwoven and gorgeous

Aussie weavers are awesome.
Well, this one is. Tanya of Tangled Weaves was introduced to me by another babywearing mama. She has a sparkly, irrepressible personality, tells it like it is and doesn't beat around the bush. Somehow all these qualities are imparted to her wraps. 

She's also a meticulous weaver with incredible selvedges and an eye for detail. Start stalking now.

We hosted a gorgeous tester twill - purple zigzag, in bubblegum tones and with contrasting teal tails.

 Out of the package I was impressed. Amazing tension, a lovely crumple in the hand, promises of cush and bounce whispered seductively... Guess what our favorite wrap became. 

I could rave about the loveliness of a wrap that lets you ruck a 14kg two-year-old effortlessly, the weave that locks into place and holds a half-knot under bum without skipping a centimeter, or the fabulous, endless cush and textile intricacy of a high-contrast twill.

I'm just going to tell you I've experienced the comfort of this wrap myself... And to stalk Tangled Weaves ;) 

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bloomylooms woven wrap review

Hungarian company  Bloomylooms certainly have their graphics under control and on trend! 

This cute all-cotton owl wrap came to me in a size 4 that's perfect for FWCC tied in front, half FWCC, a quick ruck or a tight DH. 

Owls is quite light in hand, around 230gsm, and will be a nice summery wrap as the weather warms. Washing lifted the pattern and gave the weave a little more texture, but I found it to glide and knot quite easily. You can see how mouldable this was and and how nicely it pleats in a pass! 

While this felt quite comfortable in a multi-pass carry with Audrey (2yo, 12kgs), I would call it more of a baby wrap than a toddler wrap. In a ruck this needed some careful tightening to remain  evenly spread and doesn't have a lot of cush to mask a sloppy wrap job. Of course, this means you can coax it into wrapping like a second skin, so this is very much about your personal preferences as a wrapper."

I do love the cool color palette and retro styling of the pattern- the owls are top-and-tailed, so there's no such thing as upside-down, and wrong side out looks just as lovely as right. 

Please note that I have not been paid to write this review. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.