Archive for the ‘advice and ideas’ Category

Synthetic micro fibres from clothing are potentially a bigger threat to marine pollution than microbeads.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

When we started Cambridge Baby we decided to source clothing made from natural fibres for two reasons (both intrinsically linked). We believed natural fibres amazing properties were better for our children and that their renewable and biodegradable nature meant they were better for the environment.

It turns out that our environmental choice was even more important than we originally thought. What we didn't know then is how many micro fibres are released from synthetic clothes when they 're washed that then end up in the marine food chain. According to a research team from the University of California  a city of 100,000 inhabitants releases a volume of microfibers equivalent to 15,000 plastic bags from their washing machines. A city  with the population of Berlin may be responsible for the equivalent of 540,000 plastic bags – every single day.

The Guardian says "The impact of microplastic pollution is not fully understood but studies have suggested that it has the potential to poison the food chain, build up in animals’ digestive tracts, reduce the ability of some organisms to absorb energy from foods in the normal way and even to change the behaviour of crabs."

One of the findings from the research was that old polyester fleeces release more fibres than new ones. So even sourcing second-hand synthetic clothes isn't a brilliant option from an environmental point of you. 

The good news is that moving away from polyester, and acrylic clothing is not only good for the environment its better for you and your family to. Natural fibres biodegrade naturally and  have other properties that contribute to your family's well being. Our pure wool fleeces are soft, breathable, antibacterial, naturally flame retardant, water repellent and even dirt resistant! 

 

Natural wool fleece

Pure Wool Children's Fleeces

Wool Fleece Snuggle Suit

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/27/washing-clothes-releases-water-polluting-fibres-study-finds

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/02/16/microfibers-source-ingestible-plastic-worse-already-banned-microbeads

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37263087

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/sep/07/microfiber-pollution-ocean-advocacy-groups-alliance

Christmas Jumper Day

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Make your own Christmas jumper

My 7 year old decorated her Disana merino jumper for Christmas Jumper Day on the 16th. Here's what we did to ensure the jumper would go back to the same favourite everyday jumper it was, and make it easy to re-Christmas it or another jumper next year.  

 

red-disana_jumper

 

 

  • She came up with line/pattern design based on other Christmassy patterns she'd seen. 
  • Using wool she'd carded, she needle felted the Christmas trees and snowmen onto a piece of felt.

felting-trees

 

  • We then stitched on some other embellishments she had in her sewing/jewelry box.
  • She plaited some merino tops for cuffs.

plattingwool

  • I carefully tacked on the piece of felt and the cuffs to the jumper so as not to damage the jumper and to make it easy to snip off after Christmas.

finishedjumper_square

Wool, a mother’s perspective.

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

When my first daughter was born, I got some handmade woollen hand-me downs, gorgeous tiny knitted cardigans and precious booties. They were made of the softest yarn in pastel colours with intricate lacy patterns. They were stunningly beautiful... and I despised them. I found them outrageous. They embodied everything that was wrong with parenting these days! I was, of course, extremely young and extremely foolish.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated their beauty and the fact that they had been made with love, but I bemoaned their lack of practicality. Hand wash only! For a baby! As if new parents had time for that. To me, Hand Wash Only was a dreaded label that should be avoided at all costs. I grew up in a tropical climate so there was never a wool culture in my home. My mother was a power professional who always had her suits dry-cleaned. The few delicates that escaped her strict “no hand-wash garments” policy piled up at the bottom of the dirty clothes hamper for weeks on end. Once they reached a critical mass, mum would grudgingly fish them out and scrub them with a vengeance. Thinking back, they would have probably fared better in the machine.

In my early twenties I left home to study in Ireland, a move for which neither my mind nor my wardrobe were prepared. Just before I left, my wise mother bought me an under-shirt, the first I’d ever owned. It was a gorgeously soft blend of merino wool and silk and it was machine washable! Oh, how I loved that shirt. And yet, it never occurred to me to buy more woollen clothes, maybe because I was a broke college student and I weighed any purchase against how many Tesco Value ramen I would be able to afford with that money. Had I been a little wiser I would have saved myself more than one nasty cold.

It wasn't until after I became a mother that I started to learn the importance of surrounding and dressing ourselves with natural materials. I did a lot of online research and was lucky to meet a few like-minded mothers who taught me more than I ever thought I could possibly learn. One lesson in particular stands out in my mind. My friend and I were having lunch with our toddlers and her 8-month-old baby. Dessert was fresh mango and the baby ate it with gusto. And by “ate it” I mean poked it, squished it and rubbed it all over her face, with the yellow juices running down her arm and chin onto her white knitted cardigan. Seeing this, I joked to my friend “I hope that cardigan isn't hand wash only”. She looked at me with genuine puzzlement: “Yes, it is. Why?” I was aghast. Wasn't it obvious? “Isn't it… too much of a hassle?” I asked. “Not at all!” she answered nonchalantly. “I'm staying at my mum’s tonight and she doesn't have proper wool detergent but baby shampoo works in a pinch. I'll just give it a rinse in the sink while the girls are having their bath, it’ll be dry by tomorrow”.

That was it? Could it really be so simple? If you grew up wearing wool you’re probably laughing at me right now, but it really took a while to wrap my head around the fact that hand-washing didn't need to be a huge affair. I started researching and began to understand. Wool is antibacterial! Wool repels stains! No scrubbing your knuckles raw, you just need to let it soak in soapy water and rub stains gently. It dries super fast. And some wool is even machine washable!

After this eye-opening experience, I tentatively ordered my daughter’s first pair of woollen pyjamas… and I fell in love. Caring for them was as easy as everybody promised it would be, and never again did I need to worry that my baby was too hot or too cold at night. No more icy hands, no more sweaty foreheads thanks to wool’s property of thermoregulation, which I believe is a fancy word for “mama, don’t fret”. By the time my son was born I was a convert… and I found myself wishing I hadn’t returned those handknit woolies that I used to hate so much. They were pink and purple and frilly… but I would have put them on him anyway, and he would have been happy.

Lorena Díaz García. ( A Cambridge Baby customer)

What to dress your child in in Spring

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Spring is on its way, with its magical variety of sunshine and showers. Children love being able to bound around unencumbered by bulky winter coats, but they still need protection from chilly moments. Over thousands of years another little creature, the lamb,  has evolved the perfect clothing for jumping around in spring.  Wool. The unique structure of wool fibres mean they are able to help the body stay warm when its cold and keep cool when its hot. Here are Cambridge Baby's tips for dressing your child/baby in spring.

The Base Layer and Top

Merino vest

 A  brightly coloured merino vest  is perfect for spring. It can be worn as a top when its warm and under a  jumper at  chillier moments. It's thermoregulating properties help keep your child's body at a constant, comfortable temperature as they change activities. It's antibacterial and dirt resistant properties mean it doesn't need to  be  washed everyday - wear then hang to air and brush off any spills.

They're not totally food proof though so, if your child is a particularly messy eater, or wipes lots of  yucky things on  their sleeves,  I'd recommend wearing a bib/napkin - muslin squares make good bibs - and opting for a short sleeved vest, or rolling sleeves up at meal times.  Most merino wool vests and tops though are now machine-washable at 30C and above including those in the photos.

Outer Layer

Layering is the key to Spring dressing.   A natural wool fleece that can be easily taken off when it gets warm is useful all year round in a  variable climate like the UK, and is light and not bulky. The best thing about wool as that its breathable so you don't overheat in the same way. By the time its warm enough for your child to want to take off the fleece it will probably be warm enough for them just to be in a Merino vest top.  These  wool fleece jackets with a hood (below) are great for keeping the head warm too - and really useful after swimming.

 

On less changeable days, a light jumper is just the thing. I love the Relax jumpers for their lovely colours and light knit and these Disana ones are a wardrobe staple for so many families.

 Bottoms

Our woolly leggings are warm enough for chilly days but light and breathable enough that your child won't overheat when it gets warmer. These really do seem to be dirt repellent and are tough enough to wear climbing trees etc.Merino Wool Leggings

 

For warmer days or for children who like looser trousers the wool terry ones are fantastic - they even have elastic at the ankles that you can adjust.

If your child likes wearing leggings these wool silk ones are naturally breathable. Perfect for spring weather or to layer under other trousers on Spring ski trips.

 

Heads 

The sun can already be quite strong in spring time. An organic cotton sun hat that stays on will  protect your little ones face from the sun and make them more comfortable.  If you choose a sunhat with natural UV resistance, you know that your child's skin is getting extra protection too, all without harmful chemicals.

 

 If you have tips to share for Spring dressing, do let us know.

 

Nappy Instructions for Disana Cloth Nappies

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

It's easy to use Disana cloth Nappies!   This may look like a lot of steps, but we've broken it down to make it easy to follow.  Once you have got the hang of it you'll be able to do it super-fast.

Step 1

To use the Disana nappy is very simple. Spread out the knitted nappy on the changing mat. Fold the narrow front part back to the ties. Now place the brushed cotton liner or silk liner on top of the nappy.

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How Merino Wool Helps Your Family Sleep Well

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Most comfy baby pyjamas in organic Merino wool and silk blend

My two young children sleep in merino wool pyjamas, and I love sleeping in my Merino wool vest - I think it's the most comfortable night wear there is.  Merino wool's comfort is quite literally a gift from nature, so  I thought I'd tell you a bit more about the properties of this amazing sheep's wool.

Merino wool is 20,000 times bendier than cotton

Merino wool is so soft and stretchy that it hugs you in a really gentle way - and this is because merino wool fibres can bend up to 20,000 times more and can be extended 5 times further than cotton!  This makes it way more comfy to sleep in than cotton as it moves with your body and is still soft on your skin – cotton bedclothes tend to get scrunched up around you. It's fibres bend so easily they don’t scratch, preventing the itchiness traditionally associated with wool. (more…)

10 Tips for Lanolising Your Wool Nappy Covers

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Using lanolin to waterproof wool nappy wraps is an effective, non-toxic baby-safe way to give your cloth nappies a natural cover.  Lanolin is an oily wax from sheeps' wool that is simply pressed out of the wool and cleaned - a very natural skin-friendly wax that helps with chapped nipples and nappy rash as well as increasing the water-resistance of wool. Disana's knitted organic wool nappy cover - lanolise with lanolin Here are Cambridge Baby's Top 10 tips for lanolising wool nappy wraps and longies - no stress, no fuss, effective waterproofing with lanolin. (more…)

Top Tips for Camping with Children

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

At Cambridge Baby we love camping and spend a lot of time living in the great outdoors with children. Wendy takes the Brownies camping, Rosy and her children go camping with the Woodcraft folk. Nick, Helen and the girls have a lovely bell tent that they escape to the coast in. My family love finding a friendly farmers field to pitch our old dome tents somewhere beautiful.

The great thing about sharing an interest is being able to exchange tips and here are a few I picked up from chatting with the others in the shed. (more…)

Top Eco Tips for Preventing Clothes Moths

Friday, June 28th, 2013

The scourge of your wool and silk, clothes moth nibble your clothes to feed themselves. Actually, it's the clothes moth grubs (sweet little baby moths!) that leave those annoying holes in your wool, silk, alpaca and cashmere.

Here are our top eco tops for eliminating clothes moths courtesy of one of the loveliest children's Merino wool clothing brand, Disana.   As Disana knit thousands of pure wool children's clothes every year and store them safely, they should know!

About the clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella)

  • A clothes moth, a nocturnal butterfly, is called Tineola bisselliella. This yellow/brown moth is under a centimeter long, is thin and narrow, with a soft glossy coat. The clothes moth is peaceful and introverted, preferring a quiet living space near its food. (more…)

Ten wonderful things about cycling!

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

I love working at Cambridge Baby for so many reasons, the biggest being the wonderful people here. But one reason struck me even before walking through the front door. I can cycle here.

After years of commuting on stuffy buses I can merrily propel myself through the countryside over the commons, through the buttercups and past the cows to work. One of the wonderful things about Cambridge as a city is that so many people cycle to get around.

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