Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Baby blog – Our winter favourites

Posted Friday, December 6th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Random

Well, it seems that winter is now in full swing even though it’s actually not yet officially winter. It’s gotten so cold hasn’t it? The hat, scarf and gloves are out and it now takes even longer to leave the house! And we have a lot more stuff to take with us - I didn’t even know that was possible.

Wool has been a game changer when dressing Molly. I can take her out in the cold weather knowing she’s going to stay warm and comfortable. I love the outer layers the most because they can go over her normal outfit and I know she’ll stay warm while we’re out and I can take it off if we go inside somewhere. I know wool has properties that keep you cool as well as warm, but I can’t help getting paranoid when we’re indoors somewhere warm so I like being able to remove her wool layers. 

 

 

Here are some of mine and Molly’s winter favourites that are getting us through the cold weather:

New Style Sturdy Wool Coat with Cuffs by Disana - I love this coat. It’s super warm and cosy without being too bulky. Especially because Molly is quite petite. The coat is a little too big for her but it doesn’t bulk up and the cuffs mean that the sleeves stay up on her wrists even though the arms are too long. 

Organic Boiled Wool Baby Pants with Cuffs by Disana - These pants are absolutely brilliant for the winter. When Molly is in her stroller I have a tendency to lose her blankets so I love putting these trousers over her normal outfit to keep her legs warm. It means I can use less blankets and it doesn’t matter if it keeps falling off because I know her legs are kept nice and warm. They’re lovely and soft, again not being too bulky. 

Childs Beanie Hat in Organic Merino Wool by Disana - This hat is great. It’s soft, stretchy and the style means it will fit her for a long time. She’ll barely keep a hat on but when she does she looks adorable in it. 

Knitted  Organic Merino Wool Scarf by Disana - This scarf is super soft and the perfect size for little ones. 

Dungarees in Organic Merino Wool by Disana - These are my absolute favourite item of baby clothing that exists. Molly wore them when she was little and now we’re in the next size up and I still love them. They’re super versatile, they can be worn with absolutely anything. They’re so soft and very flexible so you can be sure that your baby is comfortable in them. The sizes are very generous so will last for a decent amount of time. Molly was wearing these last week when she had a terrible poop explosion while sitting in her car seat. The wool dungarees contained this completely protecting her car seat which I was amazed at and so grateful for. I put the dungarees in the washing machine on a wool cycle with wool detergent and they came out clean and smelling fresh. 

Baby Jumper in Organic Merino Wool Melange by Disana - I love this jumper for the same reason as the dungarees. The material is super soft and flexible and I absolutely love the colours they come in. 

Delicate Wool Blanket by Disana in Organic Merino Wool - The delicate blanket is an absolutely gorgeous baby blanket that is super soft and perfect for little newborns as well as older babies.


Baby blog – This wasn’t on the list!

Posted Friday, November 29th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Random

Last week I wrote about 12 things I wanted to do with Molly before she turned 1. Not included in that list, however, was to have the whole family knocked for six by a rather persistent sickness bug. That’s what happened to me, Sam and Molly this week and I can quite easily say that it’s been one of the worst and most difficult weeks we’ve experienced this year. 

The whole thing started last Thursday evening when we were up with Molly who spent half of the night vomiting. Poor baby. It was so heartbreaking to watch her go through that. The next couple of days were fine though, she was just a bit more sleepy than usual so we thought that was that. Then we were all hit with it on Sunday. It lasted then until yesterday so it's been a rough few days.

Looking after a baby, or rather, trying to look after a baby while you’re poorly yourself is an arduous task. When that baby is a needy, whingy, poorly baby, it makes things a whole lot harder. Luckily (I think) Sam and I hit our worst points at different times so there was always one of us available to care for her. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. My hat goes off to all those single parents out there. I genuinely have no idea how you manage!

Every time we thought we were all getting better there’d be something else - a new symptom or the revisit of an old one. It didn’t help that I had a few appointments this week too. I had to take the car for its MOT yesterday and I thought we were all over the worst so I decided not to cancel. I loaded Molly into the car and off we went. We hadn’t been in the car 2 minutes when it was filled with the most awful smell and the sound of Molly’s cry. I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down in tears while I was stuck in the Cambridge morning traffic. This illness has been relentless. It has completely taken it out of me and I’m so glad it’s almost over. Thankfully, after my cry I’d gotten some of my resilience back because after I changed her at the MOT garage she instantly pooped again so I had to drive her home to Sam before taking the car back to the garage. 

I think the end is in sight now. I really hope it is anyway. I just want to look forward to and get ready for our first Christmas together instead of spending all of my hours doing endless amounts of extra laundry or in my rubber gloves disinfecting everything that could possibly have been infected with the virus. I may have gone a little overboard but I just don’t want to repeat what we’ve just been through. It does seem like Molly has developed an awful cough now though. It just never ends, does it? How many days until summer?!


Making clothes look good naturally

Posted Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 by Rachel King in Random

At Cambridge baby we pride ourselves in choosing natural breathable clothing that children love to wear. We love the expression on children's faces when they try wearing wool for the first time and feel how comfortable it is.  We were looking for photo's that capture the joy and ease children feel when they are comfortable. Seeing our shout out for models photographer Helen Alderton offered to help us. Helen specialises in taking portraits of children & families in a natural environment (she's excellent at studio photography too but its the natural backdrops she loves.  To find out more about what she does see http://www.haphotography.co.uk/

We think she's captured the essence of Cambridge Baby. Here are a few of our favourites the children and the mother are all wearing wool from Smalls, Engel, Cosilana  Disana and Living Crafts with Organic cotton Dungarees from Iiobio.


Why wool is wonderful when wet!

Posted Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 by Rachel King in Random

rain on river

It's soggy here in Cambridge!

Even when we are soaked through our merino base layers are still keeping us comfortable. Here's how.....

Wool is able to soak up to 30 percent of its own weight in moisture without feeling wet, hence it's ability to keep you warm even in the rain.The natural crimp of the fibres helps to wick moisture away from the body. Getting this moisture off your skin helps you feel warm and comfortable in wet conditions, but the complex make up of the fibres have still more ways of keeping you comfortable.The crimp in the wool fibre means that they trap tiny air pockets between them when they are next to each other. Air pockets act as insulators -- keeping you both warm and cool. Air can move heat by convection -- When air is contained in small pockets, it can't circulate easily, and the heat or cool is retained.

There's also some chemistry at work here. Wool fibres are made up of three layers. The first, keratin, is a moisture-loving protein that all animal hair has. It is designed to maintain a stable body temperature. Think how useful this is to babies, athletes and your own day-to-day living. The second layer is the cuticle a scaly covering. The overlapping scales are tiny, but as they rub against each other they push off the dirt. So it is self-cleaning, as anyone who's put their baby in wool knows. The third layer is a filmy skin the epicuticle which keeps the rain out. Wool is quite water-resistant, as duffel-coat wearers and sheep can testify. Now, the two outer layers have tiny pores which allow moisture to pass through to the keratin core, which absorbs it. The hydrogen bond of water, H2O, is broken, creating a chemical reaction within the fibre molecules to generate heat when it has taken on a lot of moisture. But because the air pockets allow moisture to evaporate from your skin, you won't overheat when you sweat.

So, you can see it's not just sheep who can enjoy being out in the rain in their woolly coats.

I'm not a fan of  crackly waterproofs so when it's raining  I prefer  to wear the following for running/ walking in the rain. I'm not totally dry, but I feel warm and comfortable.

Merino Leggings

Merino Tank Top

Merino Fleece

Wool base layers are also the perfect layer under a waterproof as they wick the sweat away from your body.


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

Posted Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 by Rachel King in fabric care, our ethics, our fabrics, Random

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! 

 

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

Posted Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 by Rachel King in Advice and ideas, for the seasons, Random

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


Ethical Wool?

Posted Thursday, May 5th, 2016 by Rachel King in Random

Below is a letter Helen wrote to a customer who was concerned about animal welfare and the ethics of wearing wool.

Dear xxxx,

Thank you for your email and it is always good to know our customers are concerned about ethics and better ways to live.

I share your concerns about the issues raised in the article regarding animal welfare. First of all, the majority of our wool is certified organic. This is not simply about avoiding potentially toxic chemical and hormonal sheep treatments but also about raising sheep in a humane way, and about holistic management practices. Secondly, none of our wool comes from farms that practise mulesing - we specifically check this with every supplier. Thirdly, at present none of our wool comes from the USA or Australia which do have histories of poor management practices, although I believe they are improving in response to lobbying which is good news. Most of our existing suppliers are small companies also concerned about the ethics running through their supply chains and we are confident that they act on their principles, and we ask for an ethical statement from new suppliers which includes questions about animal welfare as well as social issues (working conditions) and ecological issues (environmental footprint, organic/eco status etc).

While I think it's great that organisations such as PETA campaign for animal welfare, I don't think it's good to take a blanket approach. It is better to support those farms and farmers that engage in good practices and boycott those who don't. In terms of ecology, we know that are many parts of our moors and mountains that benefit ecologically from managed grazing which increases biodiversity, both here and in New Zealand and South America, for example, whereas monocultures can be exceedingly environmentally damaging as highlighted recently by theWWF and Greenpeace.

I take issue with the article stating that

"With so many humane fabrics, including rayon, cotton, hemp, acrylic, nylon and microfibre..."

as these may only be humane at one level - the use of petrochemicals in the unnatural production of man-made fibres is in my opinion disastrous - not only is it polluting, it is unsustainable and also these things are not biodegradable - who would want their old skirt or t-shirt knocking around our planet in 1000 years time? The production of acrylic and nylon is highly chemicalised and damages our planet and therefore the animals within it - not only this, but it uses an number of carcinogens and a recent study found that women working in acrylic factories were seven times more likely to develop breast cancer. I know it is hard to make good ethical decisions because there is so much to look into - but it should be looked into by organisations like PETA if they are promoting alternatives as ethical which clearly aren't.

While hemp may be ecological, cotton isn't on the whole. We stock organic cotton because of the damage caused to people's health in the use of chemicals on cotton - this is widely documented, and to call cotton humane when it kills human beings and causes ill-health in children in developing countries is very narrow minded. Furthermore the high levels of pesticides used in conventionally grown cotton must, if they are causing death and hospitalisation of humans, be exceedingly toxic to animals too. Even organic cotton is troublesome in that it does require a lot of water, problematic in many countries. But we still feel at Cambridge Baby that we want to support organic cotton and organic agriculture generally.

Finally, microfibre... what can I say? The sea is swimming in microfibre fleece particles as they are not filtered out from your washing machine and end up as minuscule ubiquitous pollutants in landfill and in our oceans. FAR better to have a wool vest, wool top, wool fleece...

Wool is unarguably sustainable, natural, and it bio-degrades naturally. It is healthy for the skin as it is designed to clothe mammals and therefore needs less processing, and organic rearing of sheep is humane, does not pollute the ground, sea or other animals, and is of no danger to farmers and their families.

Clearly everyone has different values but for me there is no question, I strongly advocate using wool over the alternatives - but yes in doing so making sure that the wool is organic if animal welfare is your overriding concern.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes,
Helen

PS we are currently looking into hemp again and may be stocking it in the future.

> Cambridge Baby Team

> Cambridge Baby - discover natural, organic clothing for your little explorers (aged 0-100).


Christmas Crafts

Posted Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 by Rachel King in for the seasons, Random

Making decorations is one of our favourite things to do. Here are some of my favourites this year. Hammering wild carrot Christmas trees into cloth is a fun thing for children to do. They can come out looking great too.12314091_10153371944413722_4033771897848355208_nYou can make some beautiful decorations using cinnamon and dried fruit. Simply slice the fruit thinly and dry in the oven at around 80C for an hour on each side. Then children can string them with cranberries and cinnamon sticks.

I love this twig wreath and will dig out the drift wood I've saved since a holiday in Cornwall.
enhanced-buzz-27142-1354374006-1

 

Finally if you have accidentally shrunk some jumpers or they are too old and holey to pass on this is a nice way to upcycle them and make your house feel warm.enhanced-buzz-30374-1354550934-4

 

 


Living Wage

Posted Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 by Rachel King in our ethics, Random

Cambridge Baby has just become accredited by the Living Wage Foundation who are campaigning for companies to pay a wage that people can live on, calculated annually based on the cost of living, rather than the minimum wage.

Becoming accredited hasn't changed what we pay people at Cambridge Baby as we already pay over the current Living Wage.  However, we're one of the first clothing retailers to join up and the first online retailer in the East of England to do so.  As there are over 3m people employed in retail across the UK, often in very low paid work, we wanted to shout about the work of the Living Wage foundation and encourage many more businesses across the country to join us.  

webversionof US

 

As company director Helen East says,

"A significant driver in setting up our own business ten years ago was that we wanted to do business as ethically as possible. This doesn't stop at sourcing ethically made natural and sustainable clothes. It means everything from treating staff well, with decent wages and flexible working hours, to buying Fair Trade gift wrap to wrap our gift items in.

"We're lucky enough to employ people who are passionate about the environment and social welfare and we want them to feel as proud of Cambridge Baby as we do."  

Customers tell us they feel good about shopping with Cambridge Baby because they trust us to do the research and choose the loveliest ethical clothes for their family.  And we do.

 


What’s the difference between Llama and Alpaca?

Posted Monday, September 28th, 2015 by Helen East in alpaca, our fabrics, Random, wool

Llamas and alpacas look very similar and are closely related, but there are a number of differences between them .   These differences stem from how they have been used and bred over thousands of years of farming in South America.

A_Quechua_girl_and_her_Llama-Thomas-Quine

 A young Quechuan girl with her llama, which are stronger and less woolly than alpaca.

Alpaca have been bred for their fibre - which can be super-soft, light, airy and warm.  It's truly the fibre of Incan royalty and we at Cambridge Baby keep expanding our range of alpaca clothing as its durable, and up to 7 times lighter than wool for its warmth.

Llamas, in contrast, have been bred as useful, working farm animals - to carry loads, and to guard other livestock.  So they are stronger and larger than the pretty alpaca, and rather less furry to look at.  They are also quite independent-minded, whereas alpaca prefer to be in herds, rather like sheep.  If you look at their faces in the photos above and below, you can see the differences.

Alpaca taken by Patrick Furlong

Alpaca, bred for their fibre, are smaller and more woolly than llama.

But we discovered recently that Llama fibre can be just as lovely as alpaca.  A fleece consists of two layers, the guard layer, which is strong and straight, and makes good rope, while underneath  is the super-soft layer of down.  These are the fluffy fibres which make excellent clothing and, like alpaca, can be as fine or finer than cashmere, under 20 micron.  They usually have a hollow core, which gives extra insulating warmth, and a crimp (a kind of zig-zagging of the fibre) like merino wool, which also adds insulation.

Should alpaca and llama hair be called "wool"?  Most people say that it's not technically wool and should be referred to as fibre, but some say that it's fine to call it wool after it's shorn.  So, take your pick!

Alpaca and llama fibre, like most animal and human hair and wool, should be cared for gently.  There's not need to wash very often and the "wear then air" strategy works well.  If the times comes to wash it, use detergents designed for delicates, wash gently and dry away from direct heat.

Serendipity_Diamond_llama_cardigan

We're lucky to now be stocking a hand-knitted llama cardigan for kids in sizes from 2 to 11 years.  We hope you enjoy it!

 

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