Dabbling with a sewing machine

For those of you following my crochet progress, I haven’t given up! I am still working on it but the square has yet to appear. I am getting neater lines but around half way through I change the tension I use and it becomes misshapen. I’ll update the progress once there’s more to report.

I haven’t stopped there though. I managed to purchase a cheap £10 sewing machine to be able to make my own cloth menstrual pads and I’ve been enjoying trying my hand at that. I’ve only ever used a sewing machine back in high school, maybe once or twice. The neatness of my work leaves a lot to be desired but I’m getting better and am pretty proud of my progress so far. I love finding materials and hunting down really nice prints of fabric. Mainly bought star trek or Spiderman themed cotton for when I get a bit better. It’s my incentive to progress.

I was given a box of old fabrics some of which I don’t know what they are. I started out using these before I ruined anything I’d spent money on. My first attempt, well that didn’t work very well.IMG_1180

I’d just brought the machine home and spent around an hour, maybe two; trying to thread the bastard. I managed and had to try my hand at sewing a pad immediately. I didn’t draw any template or have any idea what I was doing, as the result clearly shows. I’ll also say that threading a sewing machine is a skill I never knew existed. I ended up taking the entire thing apart with a screwdriver thinking I was missing something. I wasn’t it was just hard dammit!

My second attempt went a little better than the first. The thread isn’t very straight and the colour is a bit off for the lighter fabric, but it’s not a disaster. I didn’t use a proper centre, just scrap material to see if I could make a pad. I was pretty proud of myself to be honest.

I spent last night drawing up a basic template which I will be tweaking. I then used my own fabrics to make a usable pad. I’m super proud of myself! It looks and feels like a pad! The thread is a bit pulled in places but not too bad. It only needs snaps to be complete and I don’t have any of those yet because I can’t afford any extras. After pay day I’ll be buying me some snaps.

So yeah, this is my new, learn a new skill. I will continue my crochet, but I think I enjoy sewing a little more than I expected. The excitement may wear off but I doubt it.

Thanks For reading!

Charlotte x

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Me Chai Designs, Wet bag review

A bit of a later update this week, been working the late shift so I’ve been going straight to bed when I get back. This is just a showing of my new wet bag that I have just received from Me Chai Designs who entered the bag into an auction to raise money for a fellow cloth user in need. I saw the pattern and loved it and thankfully I now own it. It was a bargain really, came from the US and cost me £14.85 which included postage and packaging. You can buy them or similar items on her for around £16. The website for her shop is linked further down the page but her Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MeChaiDesigns/

The maker is called Kassandra Boehmer and she is amazingly friendly and answered any questions I had as soon as I sent her a message. They have now started delivering to the UK, just send her a message when you choose what you want to order and the cost of postage will be calculated for every order. It took 2 weeks to arrive (which is great for UK) and was nicely packaged so it wasn’t damaged in transit. Kassandra owns Me Chai Deigns and uses really high quality fabrics to make her products.

The bag itself is a little small for me to use to collect all of my used cloth pads in but, it’s perfect for when I’m travelling. I’ll be using it as a travel wet bag and a discrete bag for in the bathroom when I’m back at University. She doesn’t just do wet bags either! She has a great range of cloth pads available and updates regularly on her etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MeChaiDesigns?ref=shop_name_search_sugg

The bag is made from Kona cotton, and is extremely soft and flexible so it’s easy to pop in the drawer when it’s not being used unlike some of the heavily lined wet bags that I’ve seen previously. The sewing is perfect and the bag safely holds two regular, one liner and an overnight pad with space to spare.

DSCF2349There is also a stain removal bar available through this store which I would love to try as I’ve been looking for one for a while now, if you’ve tried them before could you please let me know how you got on and which brands you found the best.

Very impressed with this shop and recommend it to anyone looking for a wet bag for any reason. Very friendly and helpful, cheap but excellent quality and just overall easy to order. If you have any questions feel free to ask!

Charlotte x

My cloth pad stash, where to start…

As a bit of a bonus treat I thought I’d upload my stash of cloth pads that I aim to review in the not too distant future. I won’t list names and lengths just yet as I want to tell you about them individually, but I wanted to show you a sneak peak of my overall collection that I have purchased within the last month or so. I’ve spent quite a bit of money but I’ve managed to get a wide range of pads from a large number of suppliers so I should be able to give a varied introduction into the cloth world.

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If there is any pad in particular that jumps out at you that you would like me to review first please just let me know in the comments. If not a particular pad that you see then if there is a group, cheap pads, UK based suppliers, or international suppliers then just say and I’ll try and do those first. As it stands I will review whichever pad I grab first, very likely to be Precious Star Pads as they’re the first ones that I purchased and Bryony Farmer’s videos are where I first discovered cloth pads.

My first full cycle with cloth pads

This is more of an update then a review of products. This cycle has been my first using only cloth pads and no disposables so I thought I would let people know how it went. A little bit about my usual routine first. I have extremely painful periods that knock me on my ass for a few days, they’re not too heavy, more moderate then heavy but they aren’t predictable. One month could be extremely light and the next could be a blood bath in my knickers (sorry for that image). My norm is a moderate flow though. I’m hoping that with swapping to cloth pads I won’t feel as uncomfortable as I usually would and hopefully add some fun to an otherwise shitty time. So far this has worked. This month has been a bit different than normal though so I can’t get an accurate idea of how much they help or not. My cramps were only bad for a few hours on the first day which is very unusual for me so I’ll have to see how I go next month with them helping my cramps.

They are a lot comfier then I expected some being more so then others and I expect to narrow down which styles and fabrics I prefer over time. My favourite fabric so far has got to be minky (plush) which is super soft and was really comfortable against my skin. A lot of reviews I’ve seen have said it’s a sweaty fabric which I could understand but I wore it as an overnight pad and slept a lot better than I would have with a thick overnight disposable. They mould to your body so you don’t feel like if you shuffle in your sleep it’s going to slip and leak through the gaps. You also don’t feel like your sticking to stuff you shouldn’t be sticking to, a very disgusting feeling if I do say so myself. I’ll admit that this cycle was a lot lighter than usual so I haven’t had the full experience yet, but I did find that there was a lot less mess and that the blood seemed to absorb into the one spot rather than spreading through the pad and leaking through the sides like my disposables used to.

Through the day I changed between two or three pads. That seemed to be enough for this cycle, but I did end up doing two laundry days with them so I must need more pads, it will be a hardship to go buy more amazing prints and designs. I can’t wait! For the wash routine I at first just put them through a normal cycle with Fairy Non Bio gel, but it didn’t touch the stains that was on them. So I instead sprayed them with Ariel stain remover which I then rubbed in and soaked them in a cold bucket with Flash Gold Stain remover powder for about an hour. I then put them back through the machine with the Fairy soap and a half scoop of Flash and they came out shiny and new again. It sounds like a bit of a faff but I’m still working out what works for me when it comes to washing them.

All in all it was a great experience and I will definitely be swapping over fully if it carries on this way. I’m still new to the whole thing so I’m still tweaking my routine but it was a lot more relaxing and comfortable then my previous cycles. My cycle lasted the full seven days but was light through most of it. I used around 20 pads of various thicknesses and designs and plan to do the same next cycle to get a feel for what suits me. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll answer as honestly as I can.

The Treat Trove May 2016 box

I received my second treat box! I love these boxes and can’t wait for them to arrive at the end of the month, already put in an order for my next one, so exciting. So this is a review of my May Period box by The Treat Trove whose website is: http://thetreattrove.co.uk/ they have a variety of different boxes and don’t have to contain reusable menstrual products! They now stock individual items so you don’t have to purchase a box you can try different brands through their site. All of these products vary in price but the box I get is £24.95 which is really good for the amount of things you get. They change the products and suppliers every month and keep everything completely hush hush so it’s a surprise when you open your box. For this box I’d requested not to receive and bath products or candles as I can’t use them so they get wasted. They were happy to adjust things as needed and I received a fantastic range of products.

This box included three different cloth pads, two of them are from the same supplier and are part of a set. They unfortunately didn’t have a label to identify which supplier it was but I asked on the Treat Trove chat Facebook group and found out they were Tender Loving Cloth with I’m ecstatic about because I really wanted to try cloths from this maker! I’m not a fan of them having spots but I love the bright colours that they came in and they feel very soft and thin. I will review them properly in a separate blog once I’ve had the chance to try them out. https://www.facebook.com/Tender-Loving-Cloth-Creations-460899627345718/?fref=ts

The third cloth is gorgeous! The print is so colourful and I fell in love with it as soon as it arrived. I’d never heard of Red Queen Cloth pads and now I’m going to have to try more from them. This is a 10” heavy pad and it says so on it tag, it came with a very well designed label so I knew exactly what I was getting. Very impressed and the link for their Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/RedQueenCloth/?fref=ts so check them out if you also love the design! Again I’ll post a review of it once I’ve tried it out to let you know how it is.

On to the other items I received. The first thing is a small photo booklet. At first I wasn’t too sure what it was, just thought it was a strange notebook, but then I was told it’s to put photos in. It’s a lovely pattern and adorable but I have to be honest and say I probably won’t use it, in fact I’ll be giving it to my friend who’ll probably use it for cat photos so at least it’s being used. I can’t tell you anything about the makers or where to find it as there is no label! If you’re interested then it’s probably best to contact the people over at Treat Trove to find out more. Again it’s a nice idea but not for me.

The next little gift is a fantastic lip balm. It’s Berry Sorbet and smells delicious. I’ve used it a few times now and it’s great for when your lips are getting dry and it goes on really easily. They use all natural ingredients and are against animal testing, they just use organic ingredients. Really recommend this and when I’ve finished it I will definitely be looking at buying some more and will be trying some of their other products as they have a huge range of things. Can’t wait to do an order once I get paid next month! Their website is: http://www.handmadesoap.co.uk/ourshop/ so check them out and stock up on chemical free products. Really great little handmade goodies.

While on the topic of things that smell great the foot soak that came in this box is brilliant! Wish I could let you all smell how amazing it is, it’s lemon and lime and smells really fresh and is perfect for the summer. It’s made by Yorkshire Bath Boutique and is completely handmade which is something I now look for when I buy pamper products. I like to know what I’m using on my skin and this lists them on the package. My only real negative about this is that the label is very hard to read, it’s quite fuzzy and makes you go a bit cross eyed, the bag also doesn’t have a proper seal so it did leak into the box and coated everything else. At least everything smelt great. I haven’t used it yet as I’m waiting on having a really girly pamper evening before I do but I recommend checking out their website: http://www.yorkshirebathboutique.co.uk/store/ they have a lot of different products that would be great for a girly night in or just for you to treat yourself like I have over the last month. Bye-bye money!

There was a sample of tea which is called Cupcake Tea, I’m not really a flavoured tea drinker, I tend to stick to good ol’ PG Tips, but this is a Sweet Honey flavour which wasn’t awful. I know that sounds like it’s bad but for someone who doesn’t like herbal teas it’s a massive compliment! It’s a mixture of Banana and Honey and I didn’t hate drinking it, in fact I finished the entire cup. So if you like these teas you’ll probably love this one. Admittedly I wouldn’t buy a box for myself but I am would love to order some for my friend who loves this kind of thing. Unfortunately there is no website on the package so I have no idea where I can get some, I’ll just keep my eyes peeled when I do my next food shop.

We have now reached the final product, Eton Mess Chocolate! Absolutely delicious! It’s handmade by Sweet Love Chocolate whose Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/alrewassweetlove/ and it was perfect. The size of the bar was just the right size for me as I can’t eat a lot of chocolate in one go without feeling sick. It had what I think was meringue and freeze dried strawberries on top which literally melted in your mouth. The balance of the topping and the chocolate was perfect and they’re perfect if you have an event coming up and need small gift bags making up. They do a range of different products so please go and have a look at the link, I wish I had the money to order a batch of their fudge because my mouth waters just looking at the pictures.

There we have it folks, my review of the Treat Trove Period box. I really hope you enjoyed reading and please subscribe for more or leave me some feedback! I’m so new to blogging that I appreciate any help or recommendations that you guys might have for me! Thanks for reading!

Charlotte x

 

The Treat Trove April 2016 Box

I’ve never ordered a subscription box before so this was a completely new experience. I ordered the wonderful Period Box from The Treat Trove website which is: http://thetreattrove.co.uk/

At first I was a little dubious as they cost £24.95 each and I thought that was a bit steep as I was treating myself. You do receive a lot in these boxes! If you think that each pad that you would purchase is around £7-9 on average and you tend to receive 3 different pads in this box. It’s great for people that are just starting out on cloth pads because it takes the choosing a supplier problem off your hands. The pads that you get are different every month so you get to try out suppliers that you haven’t been able to. Along with the pads you receive little treats which again differ every month. These treats are hand crafted and locally sourced, so with every box you’re helping out small businesses. Doesn’t that make you feel pretty good about yourself?

If you’re not interested in receiving yet more pads to an already excessive collection (although is there such a thing as too many?) then you can just order a treat box. These boxes have similar items just without the pads and cost £14.95 it’s called the Sweet box. There are so many to choose from that I recommend checking out the site! They even have specific boxes for teenagers or new mothers (post-partum) which have items suited to these groups. Or an amazing relaxation box that sounds incredible, I image it smells just as amazing as well. I will be trying other boxes in future.

My first box arrived at the end of April 2016 and you can open it straight away or save it for when your cycle starts. I’m far too impatient to wait so I opened it immediately.  It contained three different pads, one Kittens & Mittens pad which is the one with the little hearts the etsy store for these is kittensandmittensuk if you want to try her pads. It feels amazingly soft on the back and is the perfect size, I can’t wait to try it out.

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The second one is a Dimplemuff pad which feels a little thicker then I would like put it’s a gorgeous print and a nice fabric although it didn’t come with any length or thickness guide so I’ll have to look them up.

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The final pad is a Jolly Penguin (Joli Pingouin) pad which again is gorgeous! It’s my first bamboo valour pad that feels a little rough so I’m hoping it softens after I prewash it (Which it did but is still a little big for me).

I will review each of these pads individually in a separate entry. I don’t want to mix and match pads but I will likely compare them to other brands so that if people like certain types they’ll know where to find similar styles.

On to my other items in this box. I received some chocolate orange razzle type circles which were eaten straight away that’s why they’re not in the picture. I’m not a fan of orange flavoured chocolate so they weren’t something I’d want again but I loved the fact that they were coloured pink, orange and brown. A very cute touch and they were very well presented. A downside to this first box was that I received two separate candles. The small love heart stand with the orange candle smells great! I love it! Smells kind of fruity, and I wish there was a little label with it that told me what the scent was.DSCF2218

The second candle is in a very nice little jar with a screw on lid that’s wrapped with a ribbon. It’s called Dreamy #5 and is made of Eco Soy Wax, its clay sage and papaya scented and while it does have a stamp that says who makes them it’s so small that I can’t read it. It smells really fresh and I did light it when I had family round and it wasn’t too strong.DSCF2227

I don’t really use candles because they give me headaches, that and when I get back to university I can’t have them in my room. I couldn’t have lit either of them in my bedroom or a smaller space as it would have been too much for me. I do love the packaging though and for people that like candles these would have been great! I also had a small wax melt which, again, I don’t use. It’s in a nice little pouch which is adorable and it’s called Blue Hawaiian, made by soap candy whose website is: www.soapcandy.co.uk I may not use it for its intended purpose but it’s going in my sock draw as it’ll make my clothes smell great!

The final item in this first box is a bag of bath salts. I love to have a good pamper and can’t wait to use them! I unfortunately don’t have a bath, only a shower so I’m going to have to wait until I’m traveling back to university before I can use it as I stay in a hotel and that’s the only time I can have a bath. It’s a treat to look forward to and I will definitely use it, if it’s not stolen by a friend first that is. It’s by Dreamy HB&S and is a Vanilla & Sandalwood organic bath salt which sounds brilliant, the writing on the packet is again very small and hard to read so the only critique I have for them is to maybe revamp their labels.

Some people would probably say this box was a disappointment as I couldn’t use half the things that were in it but it really wasn’t! It was super exciting to receive and gave me something to look forward to at a really crappy time of the month. For my future boxes I know to request no candles or bath products and they really listen to these requests! You can tell them if you have certain dietary requirements or if there are certain products you can’t use and your box will be personalized for you! So don’t worry about any special requests you might have! The only thing I would really change about these boxes is to maybe have a leaflet inside that gives you information on exactly what it is your receiving and where to buy more. It can be a little difficult to identify where the products have come from. Maybe eventually there’ll even be the ability to request whether you want liners or moderates/heavy’s, etc. in the box to personalize it even further. I will definitely be ordering more boxes in future though and can’t wait to see what else is in store!

Sorry for some of the photos in this!