Jackson Reece compostable wet wipes and green skincare – review and giveaway


Jackson Reece have sent me products for the purpose of this review and are supplying prizes for this giveaway

Disposable wipes are realistically part of most parents’ lives. Even though I use cloth wipes, I still find it useful to have a packet of disposables with me when on the go. I only began to seriously wonder about them when talk of the government banning wet wipes to protect marine life hit the news last year and I reckon so many of us would welcome a valid alternative to wipes that don’t break down for hundreds of years, putting more microplastics in the ocean.

So I was intrigued, when Jackson Reece asked me to review their skin care products for kids, amongst which their completely biodegradable and compostable wet wipes headline. In fact their wipes are made of natural wood pulp, decomposing after just 12 weeks in landfill and breaking up in the sewage system, should they find themselves there.

Years ago, I was a bit aghast to discover that your standard wet wipe could clean away just about any mark from anywhere, which makes me dread to think what’s actually in them. I’m much reassured by the ingredients in Jackson Reece wipes: purified water, organic aloe vera, vegetable plant extract and preservatives and pH-balancer derived from sugar beet. Having used them for a few weeks now, I find them as effective as any other wipe. Delilah is out of nappies so admittedly I’ve not tested them on any poonamis but my kids have a habit of attracting enough mud and clay for us to give them a good run nonetheless.

I tried the Natural Baby gift box and which also included Jackson Reece’s shampoo, bodywash, moisturiser, nose nuzzle wipes and hand spray, all untested on animals and free of nasty chemicals, alcohol and parabens. I love that it’s all unscented as I and two of my kids react strongly to scented products. Artificial scents make me feel a bit sick since having kids, for some reason. I also have to be careful what products we use as eczema is an issue in this house. But we’ve found it all non-irritating and effective. The moisturiser is neither runny nor too thick – a big win here.

Within the gift box everything is recyclable (the wipes’ packaging can be recycled dependent on how your council processes plastic material) and all of the packaging is made in the UK.

While we are increasingly reducing our waste, we do currently use products like this and I know many of you do too, so I think it’s helpful to know that there are options for those looking for convenient alternatives to brands that show little regard for the environment.

I’m giving away one Jackson Reece Natural Baby gift box each to three readers. This giveaway will end on February 15th. UK entrants only. Just fill in the Rafflecopter widget below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


OrganiCup – a menstrual cup review and giveaway


OrganiCup sent me a menstrual cup for the purposes of an honest review. They’re also supplying one as a giveaway prize for my followers. International entries welcome.

I’ve been using a menstrual cup for twelve years. Posters on the inside of toilet stall doors on my university campus first introduced me to the idea and I was game, mainly because it meant saving money in the long run. I also didn’t like the idea of putting bleached products that essentially dried up my insides into my vagina.

There was a bit of a learning curve, granted, but once I’d got the hang, I was in love. Dealing with my period was genuinely more comfortable than when I used disposable pads and tampons. I felt cleaner and fresher.

It’s somehow easier for me to think about menstruation in positive terms with the visual of my blood collected in a cup. I can literally see it as something of value and can appreciate that my body and mind need to rest because something big is happening.

That’s why I’ve pictured the OrganiCup in this post alongside a book of poetry and some brownies I made – using a cup is another way I honour my menstruating body. Actually, I misplaced my cup some months ago for one period and I must have bored Laurence complaining and complaining about how strange it felt menstruating without it.

Soon after I finished Instagramming my menstrual cycle back in October, OrganiCup got in touch and asked if I’d like to try one of their cups. I admit I didn’t think it would be much different from the one I was using. I hadn’t felt the need to shop around as I felt it was working well enough but out of curiosity, I thought I’d give it a go and give you the opportunity to win one too (details at the bottom of this post).

I’ve used it for a few periods now and am happy to have switched. From the start I found it much softer, which not only makes inserting and removing it easier and more comfortable but I think it makes it easier to remove it too. It’s also a slightly longer cup, shaped for better suction in my opinion, which works well for me because I prefer to cut the stem off my menstrual cups which can sometimes make removing them a bit annoying if they migrate upward. So with this cup I don’t have to hunt around.

Because it stays a bit lower, I don’t have to think as much about getting the suction right, which means I don’t have to rely on a backup cloth menstrual pad on heaviest days, though I do sometimes still do that if I know it’s going to be tricky to get to a loo and I always do overnight the first two or three nights as I often bleed a lot. It’s generally fine without a change but anyone with a heavy flow knows it’s better to have the peace of mind. OrganiCup claims to offer 12-hour protection when the cup is placed correctly, which is probably accurate for me though I prefer to empty my cup more frequently than that.

They’re a Danish brand that focuses on sustainability. The cup is 100% FDA approved medical grade silicone and is vegan, cruelty-free and hypoallergenic, and they focus on creating products and packaging that are as environmentally friendly as possible (my OrganiCup arrived in a cream cloth drawstring bag inside a simple brown cardboard box).

They also focus on removing the taboo around menstruation work with NGOs like The Cup Foundation, WoMena and WiseEconomy to provide girls living in poverty with menstrual cups along with any necessary training and education. In this country they’re tackling period poverty with UK charities No More Taboo and Freedom4Girls which teach girls and women in need about periods, puberty and empowerment. Pretty radical, much needed work.

I’ve also got to say, their website offers lots of great info on how to use the Organicup but also gets all into periods and the menstrual cycle (follicular, ovulation and luteal phases, and menopause are all there), accessible for younger readers but useful for anyone.

All in all, I’m pretty impressed and if you’re looking to try a menstrual cup for the first time or make a swap, I think they’re worth a look in.

To win an OrganiCup, head over to my Instagram post and follow the instructions there. International entries welcome. Instagram is in no way affiliated with this giveaway.


Duvets to freshen up your bedroom’s look

This post is sponsored by Yorkshire Linen

I think this may be the first year I’ve noticed that the pull I feel to reorder our home is shared by just about everybody else. We probably all have Marie Kondo to thank for that. That said, I only made it to episode three before I found it all a bit much for me. I think she comes across as so understanding and kind but I’d find her approach of doing everything at once overwhelming.

Instead, little steps work for me so I’m really enjoying listening to A Slob Comes Clean podcast whose book home educating parent and podcaster Katie recommended on Instagram recently.

In the vein of making little changes, I’m tackling our bedrooms bit by bit, conscious that we’re getting ready to do a big swap around. We’ll go into the room that’s been functioning as a guest room, the kids will all take ours and their current room will become a study/guest room. It’s probably the way we should have done it to begin with but their room has been fine for two kids thus far. We’re just aware that it’ll be too crowded once a third joins them.

As I mentally start swapping things around and considering what each room is going to look like, I’m putting together ideas for painting and potentially putting in new curtains or swapping duvets. Duvet covers are a really easy way of changing a room’s look or pulling a look together without spending too much, especially as in kids’ rooms with multiple beds. I’ve been looking through duvet covers at discount prices from Yorkshire linen, and there are a few that could really make a bedroom’s look.

The Origin Indigo set pictured above has an earthy look which makes me think of the seaside so a natural choice for our cottage here in Cornwall but could also be a great way of bringing the coast to you if you don’t live near the sea.

For a radically different look, this Catherine Lansfield Tropical Leaf set makes me smile and reminds me of summer holidays spent in Tobago when I lived in Trinidad growing up.

I have to admit I’m always drawn to the simplicity of a plain white duvet set like this Ashlea White set. It’s a way of making an instantly relaxing space.

As for kids options, both of my older two would be all over this Catherine Lansfield Folk Unicorn set.

And one of them, who lives, breathes and sleeps dancing would be made up with this Sabrina Ballerina duvet cover.

Anyone else feeling the pull to shift stuff around in their home?


Everyday challenges – improving my driving


This post is brought to you by AVIVA

“You could drive over on your own.”
I’d been agonising over how to see friends in Bristol I’d promised to see before the summer holidays were up – friends I hadn’t managed to see the last few times we’d been back. Our weekends were all booked up. When Laurence suggested that I just take the kids over midweek, I was surprised that I felt OK about that. I’d never driven three hours completely on my own. When we moved from Bristol to Cornwall with two cars, we drove in convoy. But OK. This was another plaster to rip off.

In many ways, I think living in Cornwall has massively improved my driving. I used to always stick to the familiar, usually relatively close destinations when I lived in a city. Things are more sprawling here and I was keen to get out and really plug into the home educating community. Living in the countryside means I’ve had to get used to reversing down narrow roads to let others pass and not driving at 20 or 30 all the time. Generally, I’m a far more confident driver, which accounts for why I did take that Bristol trip but also for the fact that I now drive a van, something 28-year-old me would never have thought possible when she passed her driving test four and half years ago.

In truth, I find driving the van easier than any car we’ve owned. Parking can be a pain sometimes and it’s a lot more to clean but I love being high up and able to see more of what’s around me when I’m driving. It’s locking is actually better than a couple of the others I’ve driven, certainly impressive for something of that size. Having a sensor for reversing is a dream for someone who definitely finds spatial awareness challenging. And the space! Two weeks ago we went on a camping trip with my family and it was the first time we’ve done a camping trip and not had to load up every possible gap in the car.

When I made back to home after our big trip upcountry, I felt like my world had opened up a little bit more. Not that I intend to do lots of road trips now (in fact, we want to stay local as much as possible) but I didn’t feel as cut off as I did before. I realised that I’d felt dependent on Laurence to be able to get to the rest of the country.

I think the next step is to keep improving my driving, for my confidence, for my passengers’ comfort and even for my Car Insurance. The Aviva Drive app makes that pretty easy. You download the app, which now includes an integrated dash cam feature, and it monitors your driving skills. So safer drivers can get a discount on their insurance and you even have evidence should you ever get into an accident.

Driving at all honestly felt unattainable for me a few years ago. I don’t take it for granted. We wouldn’t have moved to somewhere rural if I couldn’t drive and I probably would find home educating a lot more daunting, living here without a car. I still feel like learning to drive and continuing to learn has opened me up to a lot of possibilities. So often I default to learned helplessness and I need to keep pushing to break out of it, not just for my sake but so that my kids grow up knowing that they are capable.


Spirit Riding Free

This post is brought to you by Spirit Riding Free

I’ve generally seen kids television as an opportunity for me to get something else done. Lately, though, the girls have made sounds about wanting me to watch with them. I’ve taken this as a cue to introduce them to some of my childhood favourites but they’ve also enjoyed sharing what they love with me. Recently, this has included a show on Pop – on air now, Dreamworks’ Spirit Riding Free.

As big horse lovers, I’m not surprised my kids are drawn to the story of Spirit, an untameable stallion who befriends a young girl called Lucky. Lucky has recently moved from a city to a town in the American West and struggles to fit in but soon finds friendship in two of her horse riding classmates and in Spirit. The show is definitely a current favourite here.

For my kids, it’s all about the winning combination of horses and friendship. The story is cute and fun, and while this might not consciously register with them, the animation is pretty high quality too. I love that Lucky is a strong heroine, fully in touch with her sense of adventure and that the show carries positive messages about forgiveness and determination. I genuinely well up in at soft moments (I’m a bit prone to that) and there’s plenty in there to make us all laugh.

At the moment, Spirit has a competition running, offering kids to a chance to win entry to the Spirit Riding Free Stable Sleepover. Three winners will stay in a converted stable with a friend and enjoy a weekend full of all things Spirit, from horse riding to crafts to treasure hunts and lots more. Basically, it’s a dream for kids who love horses or, better yet, love Spirit.

Click here to check out the competition hosted on POP. The episodes are available to watch now – weekends at 12.30pm.


Ophelia’s dream pet

While lots of our friends are currently fielding questions about getting a pet someday and making that “someday” sooner, our kids are pretty settled that our cats are where it’s at with pets. They do bring up the idea of chickens every now and then but I think the smallness of our garden answers that for now. I also wonder if even they can see that we are at mental capacity with the two furry friends already in our care. For now, they’ll have to dream of anything extra.
Ophelia recently got the chance to do just that. Pet insurance provider Petplan invited her to draw her dream pet, promising to turn her design into a bespoke soft toy. So I asked her, “If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be?” And, of course, it only took her seconds to settle on a unicorn. While I loved her drawing (naturally, I would), I couldn’t imagine how someone would turn it into a cuddly 3D object. It defied my imagination, anyhow.
The end product arrived while we were away and Laurence laid it on her bed, ready to greet her when we got home. Her name is Twirly-leg and she proved the perfect welcome home. I love that even her patterns were included and that she arrived in a matching bag. I’m thinking that it might be a really good project for Talitha to try designing and making her own toy as she was intrigued with the process too.
Whenever we do talk about the prospect of new pets in the future, we talk about all that pet ownership involves, from food to grooming to pet insurance. Petplan’s Pet Insurance stands out amongst the options for the latter as one of the few insurance providers that offer genuine “lifetime” policies and by working with more animal rehoming charities than any other provider.

This post is brought to you by Petplan but all thoughts are my own


Our family bed set up

Debenhams recently sent us new bedding to give our bedroom a mini makeover.

We’ve been through lots of configurations when it comes to sleep. Having bought a cot and a Moses basket with our first baby, we surprised ourselves by being three in a bed instead. Bedsharing proved a natural fit for our family so, though we got a moses basket again second and third time around for daytime naps (and it went unused!), we didn’t bother with a cot. Instead, we’ve sometimes been four in a bed, four in a bed and one on the floor, two in a bed, two in another and one on their own. Different set ups for different seasons. Currently, we only have twenty-two month old Delilah in with us. Ophelia, who’s four, occasionally joins us too but mostly prefers her own space. If Laurence is away, all the children join me.

It’s not perfect; I do love my space at night. I probably wouldn’t be adverse to twin beds instead of our king, though that might be the touched-out-ness of these early years talking. We even have separate duvets, partly so we don’t steal it off each other, partly because I run hot while Laurence runs cold. But for all the crowding, it’s also plenty lush, cuddling little ones to sleep, knowing even those who have outgrown the cuddling still find security in being near to me. And, of course, it won’t be forever. I came to bed to find Laurence holding sleeping Delilah and five years later, the memory of Talitha at that age is already blurry.

We’ve mused that Delilah might stay in with us longer than the other two did. We moved them out of necessity because I couldn’t bear to breastfeed at night while pregnant and they found it difficult to sleep next to me if this wasn’t an option. With Talitha, it was a simple transition. She was two, we’d just moved house, we decorated her room with her and she loved the idea of her own bed. Laurence was sometimes in with her if she woke but she mostly slept through.

Ophelia found this a lot more difficult. I fell pregnant with Delilah when she was 21 months old and, in retrospect, she just wasn’t ready for all the sudden change, whether because of age or temperament. We moved her out, I night weaned but she was up and unsettled every night for months. It’s easy to look back and say what I’d do things differently but, in reality, all I can say about it is that we did what we thought was best for us all at the time, we muddled through, and thankfully things are settled now.

But neither of us are ready for a repeat and we’ve both got so much more go with the flow with each child added to our family. As Delilah’s our last baby, she’ll likely stay in until she wants to join her sisters. So this is our family bed set up for the foreseeable.

In our last place, we had quite a high bed so used a bed guard with a towel rolled and tucked into the gap for added peace of mind. It worked but it felt like a function-over-style choice. When we moved we bought a low futon-style bed, complete with matching side tables. Initially we chose it so we could sit comfortably in bed with our cottage’s sloping ceiling but it’s also offered the benefit of causing less worry about little ones rolling out of bed or crawling off.

And it’s got us thinking a bit more about how we style this space so it’s actually somewhere we enjoy being, not the dumping ground our bedroom always used to be. Updating our bedding has definitely been a part of that. The Bedeck 1951 “Juma” duvet covers pictured here are a departure from my usual penchant for grey and white sheets. The South American-inspired geometric designs are eye-catching without being too busy and the combination of the ink blue pattern and deep green edging is cosy without dominating our airy bedroom. A child (or two or three!) may sleep here but it still feels like a grown up’s bedroom.

What’s your family bed set up like? Do you all sleep together or in some other configuration? Have you a massive bed? We used to love our extra king! It was definitely needed for a season. Let’s share some inspiration for others making it work with bedsharing.

For more posts about bedsharing, check out this golden oldie about bedsharing as a family of four and this book about nighttime and naptime strategies for breastfeeding families.

Thanks for sending me the duvet covers for this post, Debenhams!