Little Fellows is a UK based handwoven wrap company – the first UK based handwoven wrap company in fact. Headed by Lisa Everson, who designs and weaves the wraps herself, Little Fellows describe themselves as ‘Quintessentially English; finding inspiration in … Continue reading
Wrapahula is a Wakefield based business that, up to now, has focused on making quality baby carriers, bags and accessories out of woven wraps. Now, however, they have added their own range of woven wraps. There are two currently available, Enigma Under The Sea and Enigma Arizona Sunset. Luckily, I got to try out both! One in wrap form and one in wrap tai form. This review will cover both, as they are both the same weave, and will look at how they work as a wrap and as a wrap tai.
So, first impressions for Arizona Sunset: the colours are absolutely fantastic. Purples, pinks, oranges and yellows blend together seamlessly to recreate a beautiful sunset motif. Arizona Sunset is inspired by Wrapahula seamstress Sarah’s own time spent in Arizona; she says that some of her favourite memories of Arizona were spent watching the sun set by the lake. This vision has definitely been realised here, I absolutely love the way the grads fade into each other and the vibrancy of the colours.
Under The Sea is very different; this colour way is inspired by Sarah’s honeymoon with husband Byron where they explored coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea. Featuring bright turquoise, rich jade and deep purple, this wrap has a fine black line that separates each herringbone. Wrapahula say this is to signify the darker, deeper parts of the ocean that have yet to be explored. Personally, I feel that the black lines give this wrap an almost pop-art feel. The colours are very reminiscent of The Little Mermaid for me, and with the black lines added it’s almost like Ariel met Andy Warhol. It makes me want to dye my hair red!
The Enigma wraps feature a wide, herringbone weave. At 270gsm, and all cotton, these wraps are blankety and have a lovely texture. In hand, the soft cotton and the herringbone ribbing combine to create a feeling that is not dissimilar to comfortable cord trousers. It’s an interesting juxtaposition; the fabric has glide but you can feel how the way it is woven creates grip too.
And this is also noticeable when wrapping. I had Under The Sea in wrap (UTS) in wrap form, and I found it absolutely lovely. Right from the off the wrap was mouldable and cushy, with passes easily made and also well held. I used this wrap in a few different carries, mainly FWCC, Eleville Half Jordans, and a simple Ruck. I found it most comfortable in an EHJ, Rosie felt high and supported, and practically weightless as the wrap took the strain. It was easy to make a good, solid wrap job for my little wriggling seat popper. There is a small amount of give, or stretch, in the wrap which stops it from being a thick and unruly beast and instead makes it pliable. That said, I did find it required some effort to make a knot when tying on the tippy tails – I find the Enigma wraps have a good width, with tapers on the blunter side, and I noticed it there!
The glide was particularly noticeable when doing an EHJ. I tend to suffer from a case of ‘T-Rex arms,’ and this carry is one I sometimes struggle with when putting the last pass in place. With the Enigma wraps, I found the last pass easy to pull into place – and it didn’t slip down either. In terms of grip, this was very noticeable with the FWCC. I didn’t feel a need to double knot as it held very well. It also suffered from next to no sag; once its in place and tightened it’s not moving.
These qualities transfer well into a wrap tai. I tried Enigma – Arizona Sunset in a Wrapahula wrap tai, and I found it to be a very comfortable carrier. The carrier itself is well made, with good build quality and precise stitching. The Enigma wraps work well as conversions, as they are thick enough to feel sturdy and strong but soft enough to mould nicely around you and baby.
I particularly liked the wide, pleated wrap straps and the padded waist. Due to the pleating, the straps fanned out nicely allowing me to distribute Rosie’s weight well, and the padded waist felt secure and firm. I also rather liked the fairly long length of the straps; it gave me enough length to do some fancy finishes and really show off the pretty colours. Also, I am a fan of swishy tails. They hide a multitude of mum tum sins! If you’re not a fan of long straps, don’t worry. Wrapahula do customised carriers so you could have one made to your specifications and preferences. All converting is done in house by Sarah herself, and it shows. I couldn’t fault anything with this carrier, quality control is clearly high and a big priority.
Overall, I have to say I really enjoyed the Enigma wraps, in both forms. They have lovely wrapping qualities, very pretty colours, and require next to no breaking in. Wrapahula have aimed to make a wrap that offers the qualites required for advanced techniques while also being accessible for beginners, and they have certainly succeeded here. I will be very interested to see what they come up with next!
If you are interested in owning your own Enigma wrap, they are available to purchase here.
I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time, but I still don’t know where to start. I suppose the only place really is at the beginning. In the beginning, there was us. We were great friends, close friends. … Continue reading
Recently I was sent Sherbet Curves of Pursuit from the lovely ladies at Firespiral. Admittedly, my only prior contact with Firespiral has been having a little play with my local library’s Birch Trees, so I had few preconceived ideas. Sherbet … Continue reading
My daughter was six weeks premature. My waters broke at thirty two weeks, and two weeks later she arrived. Until that point, everything was normal, From that point, things got very scary very quickly. There are lots of things I … Continue reading
I often get asked questions when I’m out and about and baby wearing. By friends, family, and even random strangers. And I know that nine times out of ten, they are purely curious about something they may not have seen … Continue reading
Recently I was very lucky indeed and won an invoice for a Woven Wings Greenfinch Geo. Now, if I’m honest, I enter a lot of these draws with not much hope of winning. And I was in two minds as to whether to enter for this one. But, as luck would have it, I ended up scoring. So, I thought I’d give it a go, at least for the purpose of review writing if nothing else. On arrival (which was very quick, and very well informed with emails telling me what was happening and where it was) it was packaged well, in a box, in tissue paper, and came with a WW bag and instruction leaflet. I really like the bag, it’s very pretty, good quality and something I would actually use. I also found the instructional info very good, with clear directions, info, and pictures. The wrap itself was neatly folded and well presented, but what struck me most was the colour. I was expecting ‘green,’ not the myriad of colours I was presented with! Greenfinch has a mixture of pale, spring green, teal, gold, and white colours. It gives the wrap an overall vintage feel – with surprising warmth. Due the design and colouration, there isn’t really a ‘wrong’ side to this wrap, although one side has slightly more colour than the other. In hand Greenfinch is narrow as are all WW, but it was also thinner than I expected. It very much reminds me of cool linen trousers, and I think it will be wonderful for hot summer days. I am also a fan of the weave. It is quite a tight weave that should hopefully not be prone to pulls, while remaining light, airy, and supportive. This wrap is a blend of 21% linen, and 79% Egyptian cotton. I did expect it to require some breaking in, and here my expectations were met. Greenfinch was quite stiff and crispy, and fresh out of the box I had some difficulty in bending it to my will. However, after a wash, steam iron and some braiding it is already starting to feel much better, and I anticipate that in due time it will become fluffy and mouldable. When I took it out I did three different carries; a Robins Hip Carry, an FWCC, and a Knotless Ruck (tied tibetan). I found that it wrapped well, it was grippy and carried my one year old with ease. The narrowness did not pose a problem for me, in fact I feel that that, combined with the thinness will make this a great wrap to stash in a handbag as it folds up to be fairly small. Knots and passes stayed in place well, with little slippage or movement. Although this wrap doesn’t have very tapered tapers, so to speak, I found that I didn’t end up with a big knot. Due, again, to the overall thinness. In a five I was able to comfortably do all of the above carries without being right on the tippy tails. I feel that although this wrap will go perfectly with jeans and jean shorts, it would also be an elegant accompaniment to linen trousers or a pretty summer dress. It’s very versatile in terms of looks. Overall, this wrap has been a bit of a pleasant surprise. It looks and feels like a perfect summer wrap; light and airy but strong and capable, able to be dressed up or dressed down. I like this very much, and it has already flown its way into my permastash.
Summer is coming – and so is beach body bollocks. I am, of course, referring to the utter hysteria on the front covers of pretty much all ‘women’s’ magazines – ‘how to get the perfect beach body’ or ‘look good in a bikini’ or ‘ten tips to look hot this summer.’ It’s bollocks. And here’s why.
First, articles like this serve no purpose other than to reinforce ridiculously high standards of beauty or a ‘desired’ look. And they are ridiculously high. The models or celebrities used for such articles look like that because it is their job to look like that. It would be nigh on impossible to have a personal trainer, dietitian, make up artist, stylist, hair stylist – and still look like Vicky Pollard.
The average woman in the UK is a size 16. She is 5 foot 3 inches tall and weighs 11 stone. How many magazine covers can you find that feature ‘beach body’ women of that size or weight? Go on, have a look. I’ll wait.
Oh, what’s that? None? Thought so.
(And no, I am not bashing naturally slim women, or on women who put in the time, effort and money to look a certain way. By all means, you be you.)
What I am bashing is magazines that perpetuate this myth that you MUST look like a bronzed goddess straight from an underwear shoot in order to swan about on a beach in a daring, on trend two piece.
Second, I can more or less promise that the magazines that feature such articles will almost certainly have a whole section devoted to the utter scandal that is celebrities without make up or in unflattering clothes. Oh, the horror. An A-lister without a full face of make up. Pearls will be clutched.
Or not. But my point is, it’s just more negative reinforcement. If you don’t look a certain way, you don’t pass; you deserve to be lambasted; you aren’t good enough.
I say this is bollocks.
I’m a mum. I am the average size 16. I have stretch marks, I have cellulite, I have wobbly bits. I have the ‘mum tum.’ I don’t tan very well; I just get very red in places which only serves to accentuate the milky whiteness that is the rest of me. I’m probably not going to have a full face of make up when I hit the beach this summer. And I doubt like hell that I’ll be completely body hair free either.
But that is not going to stop me. I will have my beachwear on, and I will be proud. This body has produced an amazing little girl. A little girl that is going to grow up being influenced, like the rest of us, by what she sees in the media. But she will also be influenced by me. And what message does it give off if I sit on that beach with shorts and a t shirt on, sweating like crazy? If I feel I have to cover up, I have to breathe in, I have to hide myself and be ashamed? It reinforces that negative message once again. The thing is, I really really don’t want my strong willed daughter to grow up feeling like she should be ashamed of her body. I don’t want her constantly dieting, or comparing herself negatively to people who are paid to look amazing. I want her to be healthy. And by healthy, yes, I mean making wise food choices (everything in moderation!) but I also mean mentally and emotionally healthy. I do not want my daughter to suffer with the same poor self esteem issues that I have. I want her to be proud of who she is, and how she looks, no matter how she looks. I want her to realize that actually, she has value as a whole person, that she is more than just a physical body.
And I have come to realize that in order to teach her all this, I must first embody it. This has been difficult for me, and I suspect that it will take a while before it becomes easier. Today, I went bikini shopping. I found something I thought I liked. I tried it on, and took a couple of pictures, but I was unsure. When I showed my husband the pictures later on, he said he thought it looked lovely. However, the more I looked at the photos the more I didn’t like it. I felt self conscious and fat. To the point where I actually deleted the pictures.
When I went away and thought about it, I realised that this kind of thinking is exactly what I need to stop doing if I am to be a positive role model for my daughter.
I am going to go beachwear shopping again. I am going to go somewhere nice, that has really lovely stuff.
And I am going to buy a fabulous, funky, bikini or costume.
And when I wear it, I am not going to think, ‘Oh God, look how fat I look.’ I am going to think ‘Oh wow, look how fabulous this bikini is! What a gorgeous colour.’ I am going to have to make an effort to think that, but it will be worth it.
So, join me this summer. Say no to beach body bollocks. Wear something fabulous because you love it, not just because it covers you up or has a tummy control panel. Get your jiggly bits out and relax. Be unashamed. And if anyone tries to give you shit or shame you, tell ’em to bollocks.
Say hi to Joy and Joe’s latest creation – Fountains of Love. This wrap, I was assured, would be a game changer. I was told that it would require (wait for it) no breaking in.
Really, I hear you ask. Why?
Well, to start this wrap has been made from 50% Italian combed cotton and 50% mercerized cotton. Mercerizing is a treatment that strengthens fibres and gives them a lustrous appearance, while combed cotton is an extremely soft version of cotton due to a special treatment it undergoes before spinning. So, so far so good. These wraps undergo lots of finishing treatments – like pressing and extra steam treatments, in order to soften them up further. And just to go the extra mile, Joy and Joe have worked with a textiles expert with this wrap, who has tweaked the weave to ensure that it will be as smooshy as possible.
So, you understand why it was I waited with baited breath for my turn to try it. And when it came, well…
It. Was. Amazing.
I’m not kidding. Fountains of Love is soft, smooshy, buttery, floppy, and silky. I was skeptical, and I was wrong to be. It is seriously nice. Like, I would actually snuggle with this wrap. It’s far softer than a good 90% of my (mostly pre-loved!) stash. Just lovely. It wraps as you’d expect – that is to say, excellently. It tightens easily and with minimal effort. It has actually made me realise how much more work I need to do with my own wraps, to get them to wrap this easily. The only slight issue I have with this wrap is that I feel it could possibly be prone to pulls. The weave is fairly loose, and I understand that this helps with the amazing softness, but I personally prefer a more ‘snug’ weave. It’s worth bearing in mind though that I am very heavy handed!
And the pattern also meets high standards. Fountains of Love is to me, very reminiscent of Baroque of Damask patterns, classy and elegant. It’s interesting to note at this point the colourways. FoL is available in black and white (the one I had) bright pink and white, or bright yellow and white.
Now, bright pink or bright yellow are not exactly colours that come to mind when I think classy, elegant, sophisticated. However, with this pattern, it works. The high contrast, gorgeous colours, and beautiful design work in juxtaposition to create a wrap that will not look out of place either on the beach or at the races. The black and white particularly is very suited to ‘events.’ Either way, it looks and feels fantastic.
As you’d expect, all these extra treatments and finishes are going to be reflected in the price. Having had the chance to use this wrap, I personally think that it is absolutely worth paying the extra. Then you can start loving your Fountains straight away!
On Monday, Rosie Grace, my sweet little terror, will be turning one whole year old. This makes me want to cry. She has six little perfect white teeth. This makes me want to cry too. She can pull to standing and makes very clear choices over what she likes and dislikes. Guess what? Again, it makes me want to cry.
I’m just not ready. Where did my baby girl go? My squishy little chimp who would fall asleep if I laid her on my chest. My tiny, premature baby who was ventilated and in an incubator. What happened to her? I want more time with that Rosie please – I feel like it went too fast.
I feel too like we lost a lot of it to reflux, and also partly to her prematurity and hospital stay. That precious newborn stage, we never got to really experience that because she was in an incubator and wired up to machines. She had such a lot of healthcare professional involvement in the first few months it felt like we never got a minute to be ‘just us.’
And the time that we did get I didn’t appreciate. Because of her reflux, and subsequent weight loss, a huge part of her first ten months or so was extremely stressful. She would cry and scream and be unsettled and I didn’t know what to do. My husband worked an awful lot, so that just left Rosie and I to tough it out together most times. And times were tough indeed. A traumatic, premature birth left me struggling to cope. I felt inadequate, at fault. What had I done wrong? I didn’t drink or smoke during my pregnancy, my husband and I had planned to start a family, and we had everything in place. So why had this happened to us? Why couldn’t I cope? Was I the only person in the world who wanted to run on the opposite direction when my baby cried?
I struggled to form a bond with my daughter. She was taken from me and intubated almost immediately following her birth. It was twelve whole hours before I could see her again, and longer still until I could hold her tiny fragile body. Everything I wanted for my labour had been taken away from me – I wanted a med free, natural birth with immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping in the hospital ten minutes away. What I got was sixty hours of stress and panic, an epidural, a forceps delivery, an umbilical cord that broke during labour and a fraction of a second of skin to skin – thirty miles from home. It was not what I envisaged.
And neither was bringing her home. I was truly out of my depth. Her reflux and screaming was so bad that I became desperate and would sometimes sit on the bed and cry with her, as I just didn’t know what else to do. No one would listen to me to start with, and even once reflux was diagnosed it took months for any of the treatments we tried to begin to work. My life was a vomit fueled nightmare, into which I had willingly put myself and out of which there was no escape. They were dark, dark days. Days when everyone else was basking in the glow of their healthy, pink, chubby baby, all smiles and cute daddy pics. And there I was, with my skinny, yellow, sicky, screaming baby, my husband at work, and struggling to keep my head above water.
So yes, the newborn stage and early months were not good. I feel cheated, in a way, that we didn’t get to enjoy it properly. I’d love to have the chance to revisit it and know what I know now; that the reflux would end, that we’d bond, and that I was doing ok, actually. But I can’t. And it makes me terribly sad that my sweet little Rosie is growing up far too quickly. Now that things are how they should be with her, I want to slow time right down and cherish every moment. Every sleepy ‘love,’ every hot breath on my neck, every cheeky little smile when she pulls herself up. Because that will all too soon be gone too.
I’m very proud of my beautiful daughter, and I’m more and more in love with her as each day passes. She’s my best mate, my little star, she challenges me to be my best and do my best. I wish I had understood that before, but I can’t turn back the clock. But I am now going to enjoy her every single day. Sod the housework, sod the pots, the washing, the tidying up, sod it all. It will all still be there tomorrow, but before I can even blink she’ll be at school, college, university.
This is precious, precious time. And now that I have found my groove and my way, there’s no looking back. I’ll always be sad that the early months weren’t what I had wanted, but I’ll always be grateful that she’s here now and she brightens up every day. My dear, sweet little Rosie. I do love you so much.