Thursday, June 25, 2015

Baranka Rose Wings - Review

These beautiful icy blue roses flew all the way from Hungary to wrap their shimmery combed cotton wings around us!

 Baranka Slings is a small family business focused on creating beautiful designs at budget prices. You can find them on Facebook or check their new online store - right now they have some amazing opening prices and you can score a wrap for as little as $90AUD/70USD/19 000HF

Weighing in at 240gsm and with a pleasant fluffiness, Rose Wings is a nice starter wrap with a gentle texture (see all those roses? When washed you get a slight Velcro effect to help passes stay put) and easy to use after a single wash. 

In hand this feels very similar to Oscha combed cotton, and is certainly soft enough for a new baby. At 73 cms wide, it's absolutely enough for a generous seat with my 3yo but not overwhelming with a small baby. It's going to be floppy and gorgeous in just a couple weeks. 

We rocked it in a FWCC with the passes spread a little for some extra support (I AM wrapping 15kgs of three-year-old!) and I was perfectly comfortable.

The next test was a double hammock on the go, and this was surprisingly good! Given that I was wrapping cowering under the boot of my car and then power-walked through a rainy carpark... then an hour of errands and groceries and back out to the rain, Rose Wings was a comfortable and supportive wrap that didn't dig or sag. I kinda even love the pastel!

Basically, these are beautiful wraps that are sturdy and perform very nicely on a shoestring budget. Recommend. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pink Nova's Red Hot Kisses (woven wrap) review and giveaway!

Pucker up! is about to launch and we have had hands on one of their debut wraps, Red Hot Kiss. This is the ultimate toddler tamer. 240gsm, 38% Belgian linen (coarse, but not slubby), 62% Egyptian Cotton, a kickass weave and a candy-sweet appearance. 

The Egyptian cotton side was pretty malleable after a wash and dry (and pummel), but the linen side was still cardboardy... So I washed it again. 

Second go-round and this had potential. Still crumply and highly textured, but hinting at the same kind of rock steadiness I love about Solnce linen. 

Rucking a 15kg 3yo is not for the faint of heart. Especially in her "big brown boots". But the beast did it comfortably (yes, ridiculous tails, whatever). Would make a very versatile shortie for your big kid who likes quick ups.

Walking to the beach playground, I went for a reinforced ruck, knotless finish. Awesome. Red hot has become thinner feeling as the fibers loosen up and it works a knotless really nicely, without much extra bulk. And I can testify to the sturdiness of this wrap - I took a tumble (yes, with Audrey on my back) and although I took a fantastic chunk out of my knee-high boots, my KNEE, elbow and CHIN (that was after the commando roll across the gravelled boat ramp)... Red hot kisses and my precious cargo were completely undamaged. 

(Side note: if A had been in arms or on my hip we could both have been seriously hurt- I wouldn't have had hands free to break my fall, and I fell forward walking across and down an incline near water. A pram or stroller would have splashed. She was absolutely unhurt and in fact exclaimed "that was FUN!" as I examined my wounded knee and wiped blood off my chin.)

This is pure awesome. And it's made by people who know their stuff. Ilse is a Babywearing consultant and Judith an experienced wearer and enthusiast. They are clearly aware of textile and fibre properties and are approaching wearing from a fashionable and utilitarian viewpoint. I loved the feel of Red Hot and it's absolutely worth the breaking-in efforts - the Egyptian cotton complements the linen support with cush and fluffiness, and the effect is very luxe in feel. I am already coveting their birds on a wire! 

The best part? I get to give one away! PinkNova is launching on June 19th and I have a voucher for one Red Hot Kiss in my hot little hands... Ready to send anywhere in the world! keep an eye on my Facebook page....

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Oonlamoon's handwoven Laimai ring sling review and... GIVEAWAY!

Okay, so I've reviewed Oonlamoon handwovens before... Laimai has impressed me just as much as Svethmegh and Eri did!

This is a colorgrown cotton (that's a fancy way of saying undyed) that is somehow simultaneously rustic and very sophisticated. It's unmistakably artisanal, and like the handspun weft that made Svethmegh a fluffy cloud of support and cushiony softness, Laimai's textile quality is textured and complex. 

After a wash and iron, this still felt beastly and cardboardy; I spent a solid ten minutes twisting it and running through a spare ring to start the fibers loosening before I even attempted to thread it. 
Audrey is right on 15kgs, and after half an hour of cuddling into me and chatting while I took some photos and handled a phone call, she fell asleep. And stayed asleep a good ninety minutes. 

The gathered shoulder was a good support and this has all the cush you could possibly desire. I'm twisting it around banisters as we speak and have the following suspicions: 
In a couple of weeks, this will be a divine cloud. 
It will never run through the rings like an easycare, but it doesn't have to. 
This is a sling you set up nicely, pop baby in, and then snug up the top rail and the seat. Done. Then it never moves again. 

Laimai is not a beginner's RS (unless you are prepared to do a lot of breaking in first!) but it is brilliant with older babies and big kids. Supportive, elastic, very light in hand, generally amazing. The quality of the weaving is excellent and I only found a thread change because I was REALLY looking for it. The sewing is impeccable and the price is fantastic - not much more than a lot of machine-woven wrap conversion ring slings. Unfortunately, Oonlamoon is not available to the U.S. or Canada at this time (unless you have a sweet Aussie friend to ship to you!), but stay tuned. 
You can shop the collection HERE and stay up to date with new releases HERE... and very shortly, WIN one HERE!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Je Porte Mon Bebe PhysioCarrier (SSC/buckle carrier) review and... GIVEAWAY!

Let's start with a few specs: The Je Porte Mon Bebe Physiocarrier is suitable from 3.5kgs to 20kgs. I tested it with three demo dolls (3.5kgs, 6 kgs, 9 kgs) and Audrey (15 kgs) and agree that I could keep carrying in it for a little while yet. Based on my newborn doll, I would not be comfortable placing a baby smaller than 3.5 kgs in it.

The design is impressive and smart; the booster is REALLY clever. Why? It only sits UNDER the child. Not around their body, so it doesn't change the fit of the carrier at all. You use the side straps and padded collar as you like to fit the body snugly around the child, and I think this is GREAT, because you can still feel your child's body and get a 'second skin' kind of fit. It's also WAY cooler and that's a a real concern in many climates. 
How long do you use the booster? Depends on your child. Based on my dolls, I would say it's necessary until 6 mo, and then you may have a little awkward stage somewhere where your baby is a little too tall for the booster with the body of the carrier relaxed (no cinching of side straps) and a little too short without  the booster (cinch those side straps!)... but I think it would be a very short transition. 
It is suggested that you may want to keep using the booster so that a child who is sitting independently can have their arms out, and I think this is brilliant, since arms in has certainly been an issue of contention here! What else is good about the booster? Since it is contained and part of the carrier, it can be used to facilitate a high back carry, so your baby who is now able to pull themselves up into a sit and stay there can actually be seated higher and closer to your centre of gravity. This makes the carrier feel much more like a backpack, and while I didn't love it, I hear a lot of dads prefer a bit more weight on their shoulders. This also fixes the problem of carrier on long torso and baby down LOW. Using the side straps to shift baby's seat and the booster to bring their weight up, you can keep baby in a safer position where they can see over your shoulder instead of being splattered on your back. 
I'll let my pics tell the rest of the story, but here's my summation: Smart. Not difficult to use, highly adjustable, surprisingly intuitive, very useable. Great consideration of safety and function. I liked it as a front carry and a back carry, didn't find it too fiddly, and the clip on mirror is just what we want to facilitate #checkNowcheckOften. Congratulations JPMBB! (you can find them HERE)

Je Porte Mon Bebe PhysioCarrier, mesh panel revealed, holding a 3.5kg (newbornish) demo doll.
The booster in the JPMBB ONLY sits below baby. Instead of placing more bulk about baby between their body and the carrier, we attach the booster to the carrier (it slips into a sleeve like a pillow into a pillowcase), then use the side straps and padded collar to mould the carrier around the baby. 

The "in-arms" position, bringing the carrier (with booster cushion already secured in place) up over baby's back.

Supporting baby's head with the cushioned head rest; it's secured to the carrier with snaps and inserted through the mesh roll, so no danger of it slipping or becoming misplaced. 

Baby's head is absolutely close enough to kiss and the mesh panel makes it very easy to check positioning and spinal curvature. I've used the side straps to shorten the body a little and create good conformity of the carrier to this tiny little body. 

Panel rolled up to reveal mesh body.

Panel zipped down, side straps relaxed. 

Seating my 6kg "6mo" baby; booster is secured in the carrier and head sits clear of the padded collar. It's very easy to mimic an "in-arms" position accurately, which is fantastic. 

My 9-kilo doll fits easily into the width of the body and I used the side straps to shorten a little so this "12mo"  could see over the top of the carrier. 
Pulling downwards on the side straps allows you to shorten the body of the carrier and ensure a snug fit , whether the child is seated on the inbuilt booster or tall enough to sit in the carrier without it. 

Chest belt has elastic at either side so it's not perfectly rigid. Very comfortable fit and easily adjusted by means of sliders either side. 

I like the flexibility in the chest/back strap. I was able to leave it undone at it's loosest, reach behind and do it up like a bra strap. We want it to look like a "H", and that was very simple to achieve. Again, love the elastic flexion in the straps that lets me move and reach comfortably. 
Side buckles have dual adjusts, which is great for (a) petite wearers (b) plus wearers (c) everyone who likes a bit of flexibility. Padding is pretty slimline but enough to keep buckles from grating on my ribs, which I definitely appreciate!
Waist clip, can be released single handed with a strong squeeze. Supported by an elastic safety loop. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mimi Wraps Mei Tai review

Who is Mimi Wraps?

Sisters Naomi and Jessica are the hearts and hands behind these simple and stylish mei tais.
You can find them on Facebook here:, or check out their full range of standard and toddler MT here:
These lovely carriers have colorful bodies (yes, customs are available) and super-comfortable 26cm-wide wrap straps made from colimacon et cie woven cotton twill - great at softening quickly and spreading for supportive tie-offs. 

I like their simplicity- there's no structure or padding on the waist, making it very flexible for sizing and easy to apron for little babies (the lower limit is 8lbs) so the body can be made shorter than it's maximum 46cms and fit snugly. 
^rolled waist to shorten the body panel.

The body panel is 39 cms at base and then slims and tapers inward (making a narrower seat available for babies on the lower end of the weight range). It's easy to see that the wrap straps are sunk well into the body and X-boxed properly.  Audrey is of course near the upper weight limit of 35lbs/15.5kgs and we got a good ride out of this standard-size mei tai using the wrap straps to broaden her seat. She fitted into the body of this carrier very comfortably and securely. 

With my 9lb demo baby, I found flipping the shoulders was necessary to ensure a snug fit and good support to the nape of the neck. It's simple enough to apron the carrier to ensure the body is a suitable height to keep baby visible and kissable. 

Mimi Wraps are making great simple carriers at an accessible price ($126) and in a style to suit everyone. (Also, their doll mei tais are beyond gorgeous and just as impeccably sewn- Audrey was thrilled with her very own! If you have an enthusiastic mini-wearer in your home these are kind of the cutest thing ever ;))

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pavo Textiles - LINEN De La Sol review

Pavo's cotton De la sol has lived here and become a favorite cushy shorty; the pattern is a particular favorite of mine (lace doily, anyone?) and I wear it wrong side out often as not. 

When a LINEN version arrived I was not too sure about this imposter version. Oh, how wrong I was. My only complaint is that it's printed, and therefore not reversible... But it's everything I love about linen. 
It's taken a right beating with a heavy (13-15kgs child!) to get to its current floppy state, but Pavo linen is worth the work. Rock-solid, flattish and geared to precision tightening, easy to get a sleek wrap job in, doesn't shift an inch. Yay. 

 Width lends itself to pleating or sandwiching the shoulders, which creates a little more cush, but this is: shortlist for fresh, glamorous summer beater.

 In comparison to Oscha linen, this is more substantial, and has taken longer to feel loose in hand than my lewlewbelle linens. The print is the big advantage- it lends texture and grip, which is ideal when wrapping an older child. 

 Verdict? If you're prepared to work at it, this could be a delightful love affair. 

Of course, now I want one in every color...!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What seat?

How do I make a seat? 
Ummmm, that depends. 
On the wrap (how wide is it?), on the baby/child being carried, and most of all on the carry.

For front carries, I don't find seats this big necessary production. I bunch the horizontal pass, sit child on it with legs in an "M", their butt hanging over, and pull the top rail up their back. Hey presto, magical "seat" that doesn't need any yanking or tucking or faffing about. I think of this like sitting in a hammock crossways - the rail is taut and I can dangle my legs freely from the knee,but I'm supported through my thighs and spine. How does this translate to a back carry? 
I'm anti-pants tucking. I feel like it messes with the tension of the entire wrap, and when are we likely to use this? With smaller babies who actually need really nice snug wrap jobs. 
Santa toss (pre-cocooning a small baby) places the wrap around baby the way we'd like it to sit when they're
transferred to our back. Snugly cradled, with the wrap smoothly hugging their torso and the excess bunched loosely under their knees and bottom- this is going to form the "seat" as they're rolled over a shoulder and gently moved down our spine into a high, tight ruck.

Older babies with good head control or who are sitting independently might be supermanned or hip scooted with the top rail of the wrap already held around their torso or shoulders. If you have a wiggler, it's great to secure tails under your foot, between knees, or (if you really have to) under a chin. Keep your back straight and shoulders back! Rolling your back/shoulders will give you all kinds of weird slack ;)

I like to hold the tension in the top rails, reach back under baby's legs and pull the wrap down smooth over baby's back, then tuck all that excess up a little to make that hammock rail. The legs usually spread easily into an "M" and you can easily grab up all the slack in that bottom rail and bring it up to your shoulders, where you can tighten strand by strand and sandwich the bottom rail under the top if you like. Don't forget to stand up straight (with a hand checking baby's seat) to let baby's bottom sink a little and ensure you have your shoulders back! 

If you can't reach your baby's butt (common issue!) don't even try. Just sandwich. Bringing the bottom rail up onto your shoulder and gently tightening will create that "sack" shape in your wrap and make space for baby's bottom to sink - so when you stand up straight with one hand holding both tails at your throat and the other on baby's bottom, you'll feel them sink a little. Tie off and gently push upwards on the soles of baby's feet to encourage the knees to bend and seat to deepen.