Archive for the ‘all about’ Category

Merino wool – studies show it’s great for sleeping

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

sleep well in merino wool

Even I was surprised by the University of Sydney study that wool bed clothes help you get a brilliant night's sleep - even in hot summer temperatures.

Merino wool - a very fine kind of wool from the Merino sheep - has fibres so fine that they bend easily and so don't scratch, preventing the itchiness traditionally associated with wool. This makes it way more comfy to sleep in than cotton as it moves with your body and is still soft on your skin.  But that's  not all.

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Cambridge Baby Word Cloud

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Wordle: www.CambridgeBaby.co.uk This is what the computer came up with when we asked it to describe us. I quite liked it.

Head to Toe: Wool is wonderful for Skiing

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Nick went to St Anton skiing and came back singing the praises of wool. He was dressed head to toe in wool including his pants. Skiing with Merino base layers Nick's been a massive fan of Merino Wool ever since his sister discovered the benefits of Merino in New Zealand 15 years ago. This year the whole extended family was wearing Cambridge Baby base layers. The best thing about wool for skiing is that it helps you cope with large temperature changes by reducing the heat transfer between the body and the environment. His woollies kept him warm in freezing blizzard conditions but when the sun came out he didn't have to strip off  and carry any layers. He was even able to keep some of his layers on for a bit of apres ski dancing!!! Another benefit of Merino (especially untreated wool like Engel's) is that it doesn't get smelly. Merino wool reduces the opportunity for odours to develop because it absorbs sweat and evaporates it into the air. Unlike synthetic fabrics, wool doesn't retain odours and freshens up just with airing out. In addition, the outer layer of wool fibres have a high concentration of fatty acids, which have anti-bacterial properties. The inner layers of wool fibre  bind with acidic, basic and sulphurous odours that make up body odour.  Nick was able to wear all his gear even his pants for the entire week.

What Nick Wore

Pickapooh Balaclava The teen size fits Nick. He said it was brilliant. He normally hates balaclavas, but this was super soft, didn't itch and could be rolled up into a hat when the blizzard subsided. Wool Zip Fleece Super warm, soft and breathable. Great for skiing and everyday wear. Long Sleeved Merino Vest Soft, warm, breathable layer that doesn't ad bulk and its anti-bacterial properties mean it doesn't get smelly.  Nick wears one as a base layer in winter and for cycling. Men Wool Silk Long Johns Soft, warm, breathable and flexible. Again these are brilliant for cycling. Nick took some synthetic long johns with him so that he could compare them with wool. But after one day's wear he found them intolerably itchy and was pleased to be back to his woollies the following day. Wool pants There aren't many pants you can wear for a week. Comfy, soft flexible and warm. Great for running, skiing and cycling and other sports. Their breathability may even improve your fertility compared to synthetic cycle shorts. Lambs Wool and Alpaca sock These make brilliant ski socks. As they are very smooth and slide easily in the boot. Alpaca wool is even warmer than sheeps wool so they'll keep your feet super toasty.

Alpaca – why is it so good for your family?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Baby Alpaca wool is soft and warm and is one of the best natural fibres for your skin.  Because of its unique structure, it's exceedingly gentle for your baby and child, and yet it's better for you than even Merino sheep's wool in several ways.

Wolf and Bear hooded jumper in baby alpaca by Waddler

How can Alpaca wool be so special?

For thousands of years Alpacas have grazed the high plains of the Andes and the local people have sheared their fleece to make clothing for protection against the cold conditions.  Today, traditional techniques are still being used to make the finest ranges of alpaca knitwear from this unique fibre. (more…)

Why I Buy Organic & Competition

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
I live in lovely village called Horningsea and one of my greatest pleasures is cycling to work. I was zooming along thinking how lucky I was on this bright blue September day... when suddenly I saw a tractor spraying and I felt sick. The dark side of agriculture was brought home. You'll find a personal post from me below, but to celebrate Organic September we're running an organic competition! We have 8 pairs of Demeter-quality organic cotton socks to win!  To enter, tell us, why do you buy organic?  Comment below - each comment will count as an entry.  Plus, if you share this link anywhere online, we'll give you not one but two bonus entries - simply comment and tell us where you've shared - twitter, facebook, forums, all are good for us!

Organic Cotton Socks for Children

Why I feel lucky I hope you're entered the competition and are feeling lucky.  After passing the spraying tractor, a moments reflection and I felt lucky too. I was briefly exposed to a bit of herbicide. Nothing in comparison to what a conventional cotton farmer has to deal with daily. Many chemicals used in cotton farming are acutely toxic. Some are so dangerous that 120 countries agreed at a UNEP conference in 2001 to ban them - unfortunately many are still being used. The World Trade Organisation estimates 20,000 deaths and three million chronic health problems annually are the result of the use of agricultural pesticides in developing countries. I feel very lucky to live in Britain, where we are at the forefront of change, even if it is slow.

Wearing organic cotton

Choosing organic cotton All our cotton at Cambridge Baby and Good Natured Clothing is organic and we wouldn't have it any other way.  (You can view some lovely organic cotton children's clothing here.) A whopping eight times more pesticide is used on one hectare of conventional cotton than on other crops. These chemicals are incredibly expensive for small holder farmers. In some Indian states, chemicals account for 60% of farmers' budgets.  Over a 1000 suicides in one state alone been attributed to debt. And of course, intensive pesticide use reduces biodiversity, damages ecosystems, and contaminates water supplies. Because pests build up a resistance to pesticides every year, farmers have to use more pesticides to grow the same amount of cotton - increasing the annual damage to the environment. The small extra we pay for quality organic cotton means that farmers receive a premium for organic cotton enabling them to live a healthier more sustainable lifestyle. All our organic cotton is also produced with social sustainability criteria in mind - fair trade principles are embedded in the organic certifications we use, even if the cotton is not Fair Trade certified. How organic cotton farming helps Organic cotton farming is kinder to the environment and helps farmers make a sustainable living. Organic cotton farmers use natural pesticides to keep pests off the crops, without eliminating their natural predators. Intercropping with sunflowers and millet help mask the smell of cotton from weevils that love it. So cotton can be successfully grown without pesticides by enrolling the help of insects and fungi that attack the cotton pests as our many organic cotton farmers demonstrate. Once chemical pesticides are no longer used the presence of beneficial insects increases dramatically while artificial traps, trap crops and host crops can also help to control the pests. The need for chemical fertilizers can be eliminated by utilising organic manures, rotating crops, intercropping, and drip irrigation. Water in organic cotton growing Water use is another concern, even with organic cotton production methods.  Conventional methods of cotton production are literally responsible for creating deserts. Bishopton Trading's organic cotton, however, which we are proud to stock, is predominantly rain-fed.  And soils fertilised with natural manures have a higher hummus content and are better able to retain water. Most fabric used for clothing has many chemicals added to it to enhance the feel and colour and to reduce creasing - our organic cotton clothing doesn't.  One of the few additions is the dye - and this has to be accepted by organic accreditation bodies.  Bishopston Trading, for example, alongside many of the brands we stock, use GOTS accredited (Global Organic Textile Standard) non-azo reactive dyes to stand up to machine washing.  The only treatment to their organic cotton yarn is a rice water starch applied to the warp threads to enable the weavers to span the looms - this quickly washes out. And, Bishopston Trading say that their white cloth is bleached without the use of chlorine - so you can be safe and comfortable on your organic bed linen with a clean conscience. Good to be a part of change I feel lucky - I'm in a position to be able to choose change. Working for Cambridge Baby, who sell only organic cotton, makes me really happy. Being able to choose to buy organic makes me feel good because I know I'm contributing to creating a world that I'd like to live in. Wheat fields filled with poppies and butterflies, rather than wheat deserts, healthy organic cotton farmers and families around the world. We'd like to know what you think too.

Meet Wendy from the Cambridge Baby Team

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Wendy's In the Pink!

Wendy's favourite mornings at Cambridge Baby is when she's picking and packing pink clothes! Her love of pink is clear to see as she turns up for her Cambridge Baby mornings on her bike with pink coat and helmet, ready for action!

Her love of colour ties in with her own natural well-being business which she's enjoying growing - take a look at her website, WhatYouReallyReallyWant.co.uk.

Wendy is a joy to have on the team, being very good natured and positive.  As well as preparing orders she delights in keeping the boxes of Cambridge Baby clothes clearly labelled, for quick and accurate picking. When the need arises she is also on hand to answer phone queries, answer e-mails,  process returns, and unpack incoming deliveries.

Music to Your Ears

She sometimes entertains the rest of the Cambridge Baby team with whistling renditions of the latest orchestra pieces she is rehearsing. She plays the cello in the Cambridge Graduate Orchestra, who give concerts four times a year at the renowned West Road Concert Hall. A few weeks ago they performed The Planets by Holst to a sold out audience as part of the Cambridge Science Festival.

Another highlight of her week is running a local Brownie Pack for girls aged 7-10 years. The girls love the games, action songs, and all the new skills and crafts they do. A few weeks ago they made some great owls out of fir cones that made it to the Cambridge Baby desk to be admired!

If you're local to Cambridge and your girl would like to join Brownies, phone Wendy on 01223 515470.

Her Other Side

When she’s not at Cambridge Baby she’s helping people who are overwhelmed by stress, depression, or fatigue, with the natural wellbeing business she is growing.  Her clients are often extremely grateful for the support she offers, which can  include herbal supplement recomendations, dietary recommendations, and chakra and meridian balancing treatments.

She also loves helping people become truly alive using a fabulous colour system that combines the energies of colour, plant extracts and crystals. If your looking for something to quench your spiritual thirst then this could be for you. Help more of your 'true colours' shine through with solution treatments.

To find out more visit WhatYouReallyReallyWant.co.uk - it's Wendy's website, and you'll see it's a little pink.

Meet Agnès from the Cambridge Baby Team

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Being Part of the Team

Agnès loves being part of the team here at Cambridge Baby. She works with Rosy and Wendy in the Good Natured shed and is pictured here in her favourite Engel top sold here at Cambridge Baby.

Before working at Cambridge Baby Agnès never expected to work in retail.What attracted her to Cambridge Baby was the care that is put into the clothes that we sell (see her blog post The Little Touches). What makes her job so worthwhile is her passion for high quality, ethical, and eco-friendly clothes that have the comfort and practicality of the wearer in mind.

Her Cambridge Baby Roles

Agnès loves the variety of her roles in the Good Natured shed.

  • When receiving your Cambridge Baby clothes it is likely to have either been picked or packed by her....
  • When you phone up with a query you may be helped by her...
  • And when you found Cambridge Baby on the first page of google Agnès's computer skills helped it get there.
  • Her passion and talent for implementing effective procedures for incoming deliveries are specially appreciated by the rest of the team.

She is also the lucky person who gets to share customer quotes with the world. It makes her day receiving lovely comments from people like you who really appreciate the difference these natural fibre clothes make to the comfort and happiness of their little ones and themselves. In her own words “Feel free to keep sending them in!”

French Teacher Extraordinaire!

After leaving the Good Natured Shed at lunchtime she zips around Cambridge giving French lessons to children and adults alike, both in person and over Skype. Her enthusiasm for helping others enjoy the French Language is infectious. For more info see her ‘French For All’ website, where you can also discover more about her French Translation services.

Disana’s secrets of success

Monday, March 5th, 2012
TheDisana organic Merino wool dungarees and jumper News is in, and it is official...  the best seller this Autumn/Winter season has been the Merino Wool Trousers or Leggings by Disana. Disana is one of our all-round top brands - so what are they doing right, and what makes them so special? Disana began 25 years ago - in a garage.  When they started their company, Dieter and Imma Sautter combined their initials D and I with the word Sana, which is the name of the ancient goddess of health and healing – very apt for Disana's natural ethos. Disana now supply shops around the world with organic wool baby and children's clothes and is still growing steadily, carrying with them this vision of health and healing through clothing.

Secrets of success

Disana are committed to high quality, natural raw materials and specialise in organic Merino wool.  They are a founding member of the International Association of Natural Textiles (IVN) and are proud of its guidelines for natural textile production; these are recognised as the most comprehensive, strictest guidelines in the world. In fact, Disana was one of the very first companies to have most of its clothing certified by IVN as BEST, indicating organic textiles of the highest ecological quality.  Its range is also GOTS certified as organic too at a time when organic wool is still hard to come by.

Fairly made and traded

DisanaDisana's commitment to high standards includes fairness throughout the supply chain and their excellent craftsmanship shows throughout their organic clothing range. The fabrics used in Disana’s wool clothing are produced either at their premises or within a 100km radius in long-term partner factories, ensuring good working conditions and making for good relationships and excellent quality control.  This is Herr Heinz Munz in the workshop, who is very proud to be in our blog 🙂 And as you can probably guess, everything that goes into each piece of clothing is is subject to strict regulations, from the sewing thread and buttons to even the lubricating oil in the knitting machines - everything must be environmentally friendly.

Designed for little ones

Disana Boiled Wool Fabric

Each Disana piece is designed to keep a little one comfortable and healthy, which makes Disana stand out from the crowd when it comes to design.   For them it's all about the baby, the baby's comfort, health, freedom to wriggle, crawl or walk. Disana's clothes allow the skin to breathe and the body to relax, and parents to know that their little one is being looked after by real living wool.

So, thank you to Disana for providing us with the choice of natural, healthy and sustainable clothing.  We at Cambridge Baby and Good Natured Clothing love what you do, you're totally in accord with our ethics and we are proud to carry your organic wool clothes.   ♥ ---------------------------------- Win a £20 Gift Voucher!  Comment on this or any of our blog posts in March, and we'll randomly select a winner on 1st April.  Share or link to a blog post for bonus entries! ---------------------------------

Why is wool good for you?

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Organic Merino Wool Baby Blanket by DisanaYou've probably noticed we use expresssions such as "breathable" and "regulates body temperature" a lot at Cambridge Baby.  Wool is naturally an amazingly clever fibre and here you can find out how and why.

I'm going to explain how wool can
  • breathe, absorbing water vapour from the body and releasing it into the atmosphere
  • dynamically respond to the environment
  • help regulate temperature
  • clean itself (oh yes!), and
  • repel rain (think: sheep).

The magic of wool

The magic of wool lies in its structure. Wool consists of three layers.
  • The inner layer or core is keratin, a moisture-loving protein that all animal hair has. It is designed to maintain a stable body temperature - to keep the body at a comfortable and stable temperature. Think how useful this is to babies, athletes and your own day-to-day living.
  • The second layer is 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.
  • A wool fibre's third layer, the top layer, is a filmy skin which keeps the rain out. Wool is quite water-resistant, as duffel-coat wearers and sheep can testify.
It gets even more amazing.

Wool breathes for youOrganic Merino Wool Hat by Disana

Now, the two outer layers of the wool fibre have tiny pores which allow moisture to pass through to the keratin core.  The keratin core can absorb this moisture.  So, if the temperature increases or the wearer becomes more active and begins to sweat, the moisture is wicked from the skin through the outer layers of the wool fibre into the central core. Then, your natural body heat then wicks it out towards the surface, where it is released into the atmosphere. In this way, it helps you and your baby maintain a stable temperature and keeps you and your baby dry and comfortable by absorbing and releasing sweat.

And wool is dynamic

Wool even does this breathing process "dynamically", which means it does it more when needed, and less when not needed.   It responds to the environment around it and does what's needed to the best of its ability. It's just the best thing, don't you think? No man-made fibre can equal this.

Looking after your woolOrganic Wool and Silk Baby Bodysuit

To keep these abilities, wool does need to be looked after. But with 99% of washing machines now having a wool cycle, this is quite easy. Just use a liquid detergent for wool, or a drop of your own shampoo, and set the temperature on your wool cycle to 30C and dry away from direct heat. Because wool is self-cleaning, wool clothes that haven't been treated can be hung out on the line and "aired" and will start cleaning and de-smelling themselves. In the next blog articles, I'll explain more of the wonders of wool: how wool is also naturally antibacterial, how it absorbs water without feeling wet, why it's stretchy and easy to wear, why it's fire-resistant and more.

The Little Touches

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Often it's the little touches that make all the difference.  When choosing which clothes to stock, we look at attention to detail and particularly like little ideas that make life easier. Here are 5 little touches that we love.  You can WIN a £20 Cambridge Baby voucher by leaving a comment, and saying which is your favourite! 1.  The extendible bodysuit Babies grow quickly, so helping things last longer as your baby gets bigger is a great idea.  This wool/silk sleeveless bodysuit by Iobio has two rows of poppers so it's extendible and lasts longer, and is even better at handling cloth nappies.

Extendible Sleeveless Baby Body

Iobio's wrap-around bodysuit also has sleeves which can either be down as scratch mitts, with little hands tucked into them, or folded up as your baby grows.

2.  Leggings with a perfect fit This perfect touch is even simpler.  On all their wool and wool/silk leggings, German company Engel has included an opening on the inside of the waistband, which allows you to tighten or change the elastic without having to un-stitch anything.

Leggings with adjustable waist

So if you have a narrow-waisted child, you can easily shorten it as much as you need to for a perfect fit - and should the elastic break (not that that has happened yet!), it's easy to replace.  Simple - why doesn't everyone do it?

3.   Hand-stitched invisible seams Comfortable fabrics, comfortable cut and comfortable finishing create clothes that keep babies and children happy.  Comfort is at the top of the list with us - from top to toe.

Wool tights with seamless toes

Groedo hand-stitch the toes and heels of most of their organic cotton and wool socks and tights, creating "invisible" seams that can't be felt.  So these socks and tights never rub nor feel uncomfortable!  The German word for this is handgekettelt and we love this attention to detail. 4.  Removable labels Youngest Good Natured Team member, Connie (aged 4) always needs labels taking out, and it is annoying when they're stitched right into the seam, making it impossible to take them out cleanly.  Swiss brand Alkena make this so easy.  Alkena's biodynamic silk clothes have labels lightly stitched at each side, so that they can easily be removed.  Because it's so easy to do, it gets done sooner and little Connie is happier.  They do the same for adults too - thanks, Alkena!

Twist biodynamic silk top with removable label

5.  Stay-on hats "My little boy Phillip has worn it all day today in the park, and it fits so nicely he forgot he had it on. The design is brilliant ... and it really stays on." Mirjam, Cambridge.

Organic Sun Hat with Ties under the Chin to Stay On

Whether they're sun hats or woolly hats, baby hats really need to stay on.   We have always loved Pickapooh for making sure they do just that, with soft ties or poppers under the chin for long-lasting stayonability. "The best bit is that she forgets she's wearing it!" Lauren, Redhill, UK. And that's how all children's clothes should be. ---------------------------------- Win a £20 Gift Voucher!  Comment on this or any of our blog posts in March, and we'll randomly select a winner on 1st April.  Share or link to a blog post for bonus entries!