Joy and Joe – Fountains of Love Review

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Rosie is turning one.

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.

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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.’

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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.

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She started to lose weight at one point

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.

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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.

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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.

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Baie Unicorns and Rainbows – Review

The latest wrap on my test list is the as yet unreleased Baie Unicorns and Rainbows. When I was asked if I’d like to try it, I of course jumped at the chance.

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Thing is though, I didn’t think I’d be keen on this one. It was different, certainly, but it wasn’t something that, if I saw it for sale, I’d HAVE to have it. Or so I thought.

It sat in my wrap shelves for a couple of days until I had chance to take it out. I wasn’t expecting anything particularly special; just an ordinary standard wrap.

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Well, that changed the instant I wrapped with it. Unicorns is incredibly nice to wrap with. Like, seriously. It feels almost stretchy and bandage-like, a smooshy rainbow hug. It clung to every curve and hollow on Rosie and I, without slipping or feeling diggy anywhere. Once it was on, it just did not move. No sag, no slip, no sliding. I had Rosie on my back in a knotless ruck and she stayed high and supported for the duration.

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In fact, it kept her so high that even though she was tired out, she stayed awake for longer because she could see absolutely everything over my shoulder. When I moved her onto my front, she got nestled in and went almost immediately to sleep. Again, out of habit I wrapped her a little higher than needed to compensate for the almost inevitable sag, something that seems to happen even more when babies drop to sleep in the wrap. And again, that was a mistake as it just did not sag at all. She ended up fast asleep while I had to put my head to one side to see where I was going.

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It’s also fairly thick at approx 267gsm, so don’t feel you need to layer up too much!

So, I loved it for it’s wrapping abilities, at least. But the pattern? I wasn’t sure. It reminded me of something but I couldn’t think what. Until, that is, my husband started talking about how it looked like childhood. And he’s right, it does! Lots of my woven wraps have rather ‘adult’ colours and patterns; they are generally not something that a child would choose. This, on the other hand, with its whimsical unicorns and hearts and fruit pastille colours is most definitely something a child would love.

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And it really is reminiscent of childhood. It reminds me of the nineties, of childhood bedrooms and My Little Pony and Care Bears and Trolls (remember them?). It’s nostalgic, pleasant, innocence. It’s eating rice krispies on the living room floor and watching Saturday morning cartoons. It’s long summer day and playing out clothes, when trees were climbed and bikes rode.

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It’s just childhood, in the nicest possible way. And I found that despite my initial feelings, I love it. It makes me feel so connected to Rosie. I want this to be the wrap that she looks at in twenty years that gives her fond childhood memories too.

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This may not be a typical Baie wrap, in terms of the design, but it has well and truly charmed me.

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One and done

Next month, my dear sweet Rosie will be turning one. So some folks have clearly decided that now is the time to demand to know when I’ll be having more kids.

Now, here’s the thing. I’m not all touchy and bitter. I don’t mind when family and close friends ask. It’s casual acquaintances and strangers that get me. Even then, it’s not rude per se to politely enquire, ‘Do you think you’ll have anymore?’

Providing, of course, you leave it at that.
It becomes rude and annoying when you say to me, ‘So when are you having some more?’

To which I reply, ‘Uh, never.’

It becomes even more rude and annoying when you then say, ‘You can’t say that! You’ve got to have more!’

And it becomes infuriating when you say, ‘I think you’ll have more. You can’t just have one.’

Whoa whoa whoa, sunshine. Take a step back. I don’t recall a time when you were put in charge of my reproductive organs. I’m not even entirely sure I’ve got full control of them, and most definitely not at certain times of the month.

So… why is this rude? Well, you’re assuming a hell of a lot of things, for a start. You’re assuming I want more kids. You’re assuming my husband wants more kids. You’re assuming we can afford financially to have more kids.

You’re also imposing your beliefs and choices on me, for another. So you had three or four or more. Or you only had one but you wanted more. Or you think that big families are the happiest families. Or you think that my daughter needs siblings. Marvellous. Really. Good for you. Your choices are your choices, I respect that. But you are not respecting mine. Look at it another way. The flipside to this would be me saying to you, ‘Jeez, really, another kid? I don’t think you should have it. In fact, you can’t have it. You’ve got to get rid.’

And furthermore, you’re putting me in an extremely uncomfortable position. I don’t necessarily want to explain to you (often a complete stranger) that I don’t want more kids. You have no idea. It could be that we can’t afford it. It could be that I suffered with bad postnatal depression and I’m scared it will happen again. It could be that I had an intensely traumatic labour, or that my child was in hospital as a newborn, or ill, or I hated the newborn stage, or even that my lady bits are wrecked beyond repair. Would you like me to say that to you? When you ask why no more, in the middle of Asda, would you like me to say, ‘Because my fanny fell out?’ (It didn’t. But I might start saying that to make people feel uncomfortable)

Maybe, just maybe, I don’t want anymore kids, for reasons that are none of your business. And maybe you should keep your opinions and your comments to yourself. It’s my uterus, and if I don’t want any more kids I won’t have anymore kids.

The moral of the story is, if you’re not in my ‘frequently dialled’, don’t ask personal questions. You might not like the answer.

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She doesn't want to hear it either.

Baie aeolus shadow – review

The latest wrap I have been playing with is the new and as yet unreleased Baie Aeolus Shadow. This wrap combines the popular pre existing dragonflies design, and the most recent colourway – a rich plum purple to black gradient.

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This version is a blend, 79% combed cotton and 21% linen. It’s also another snug weave wrap, which is the slightly thicker of the two weaves Baie use. The linen and the weave combine to make this wrap feel quite thick and solid, but not ridiculously so. It’s strong, but I’m not going to have to get out my whip to tame it. For the most part, it felt grippy and supportive. I did however find that the finishing knot in an fwcc needed to be tied double as it had a tendency to slip and work loose – although I didn’t have that issue with the passes.

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On the darker side of this wrap there is a slight white fluffiness – I find this to be barely noticeable, and Juliette assures me that this is normal. It’s down to the use of natural undyed cotlin, and will disappear with use and washes.

This wrap has two very distinct sides. One side has a gradient background with natural undyed dragonflies, and the other has a natural undyed background with gradient dragonflies.

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Due to the darker colours, the undyed tends to appear pale grey or purple in places. And the contrast is striking! I think I personally prefer the darker side to this wrap, but I do like the fact that it has two separate personalities. Due to it’s dual personality I feel that this wrap will go with a big variety of clothing, and be suitable for any number of occasions.

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The design, as you now know, is dragonflies. But here is something you didn’t know. Aeolus was designed by Juliette; one half of the Baie team. The pretty, stylised design of the dragonflies is based on the sound holes in an instrument called the English Concertina, which Juliette plays semi professionally. Aeolus is also a God of Wind in Greek mythology, which is rather apt for a dragonfly as they are considered the best fliers in the animal kingdom.

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All things considered, this is a strong, capable and versatile wrap that still manages to be pretty. It’s soft enough for little squishes, but strong enough for bigger toddlers. And you can wear it with pretty much anything!

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Baie Trowen Sweetheart – Review

For many years now I’ve been with my (long suffering) husband and been faithful. Now, however I have a new Sweetheart. A Baie Trowen Sweetheart, to be exact.

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Released rather fittingly on Valentine’s Day, Sweetheart is the latest in the very successful Trowen line. It features the same celtic inspired pattern as the other Trowens but with a plum purple to black gradient warp, and a striking fuchsia pink weft. On one side the background features the gradient with a solid colour pattern, and on the other it is the pattern itself that features the gradient, while the background is a solid colour. I am not sure which is supposed to be the ‘wrong’ side – I personally don’t consider there to be one. The truth of the matter is, Sweetheart looks stunning any way round.

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And it wraps like a dream! 100% combed cotton, this is one of Baie’s snug weaves, meaning that it is more tightly woven than a plush weave. The result is a fairly thick, dense fabric that looks and feels fantastic. Having never tried a new Baie before, I was not sure what to expect but right out of the bag this wrapped well. It feels fairly thick but it’s not beastly and it’s very supportive. It holds my ten month old in a fwcc (my least favourite front carry) without feeling diggy, or pulling my shoulders. There’s also practically no sagging or slipping; the material holds well without needing to be re adjusted every ten minutes.

I picked it up en route to Bolsover Castle and just could not resist using it immediately. The setting was perfection, and made me feel like a non murderous Lady Macbeth. In fact, I’m pretty sure if she was a babywearer this is what she’d use. It’s dark, it’s dramatic, it’s elegant and it’s just a little bit gothic.

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I feel like this wrap looks it’s best when dressed up; this is the wrap I’d go for if we were going to any kind of an event. Having said that, that doesn’t mean it’s unsuitable for everyday wear. It adds instant drama and elegance to any outfit. It’s just so classy you can’t help but feel fabulous in it.

In fact, even the tote bag it came with is glamorous. In classic black and gold, this is a sling tote bag I’d actually use as a bag. And the gold is shimmery.

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Speaking of what came with this, I should add that Baie also sent some fabulous literature. Well designed, well written with clear instructions that show you how to do two different carries.

Overall, I’m really pleased with this. It looks and feels luxurious and high quality. It’s beauty and strength pretty much instantly guaranteed it a place in my rapidly growing permastash. There is no compromise with this – you don’t have to substitute good looks for good wrapping abilities. It does everything. And I can honestly say I’m no longer just Baie curious – I’m converted.

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First world mum problems

So, I was talking to a group of my ‘Mum chums’ (what a fantastic phrase) and we were discussing the small inconveniences that happen as a part of motherhood. You know, baby is due to wake up at any second, but now you’re shattered and want to nap. (This is happening to me right now, and I am writing this to avoid dropping off. Tiredness everywhere.) Anyway, a little spark went off in my head and First World Mum Problems was born. Here are what me and my friends came up with.

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And there you have it. What are yours?

Danu Bronte George RS – Review

As my birthday is at the beginning of January, and it’s generally such a cold and miserable month anyway, I thought that maybe I should get a new carrier and cheer myself up a little. I looked around and decided to go for Danu. I had taken advantage of their voucher offer before Christmas so it was practically already paid for.

In need of another ringsling, my husband and I looked at a couple and decided to go for the beautiful blue and white rose patterned Bronte George. Our little girl is Rosie, and if she was a boy she would have been George, which makes this particular design very appropriate.

The Bronte series is so called because the homeland of the Bronte sisters is very near to where these wraps were woven. George itself is named partly to honour George Smith, the editor who published Jane Eyre when no one else would, and also the first birthday of Prince George.

The roses are wild Irish Roses in full bloom, a freehand design that pays homage to Danu’s Irish heritage. It’s  very pretty, and gives the wrap a textured look. The roses look almost 3D, as though you could very nearly reach out and touch them.

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Just getting it out of the packaging

It’s a gathered shoulder with matte blue rings, and the way it’s sewn combined with the pattern means there isn’t really a wrong side, so this rs can be worn either left or right shouldered.

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Gathered shoulder, matte rings.

At 2m long, it’s a good length and there appears to be a decent but not overlong amount of tails. The sewing and hemming is impeccable, and the labelling discreet and tasteful.

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This is pretty much it for wash care instructions. Although you can easily ask in the Danu Devotees group on Facebook, personally I would prefer a leaflet of some kind with some basic care instructions. I had to ask to find out whether I should wash it before use. The answer is yes by the way.

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Nice tail length

With a 55% linen and 45% cotton blend, this carrier has the highest linen content I’ve tried so far. I fully expected it to be beast like, and to be fair it kind of was. However, after a wash, a steam iron, and a good hour or so being pulled through the rings it softened up considerably. Don’t get me wrong, it still has a ways to go, but it’s definitely on its way. With a bit more work I believe this ringsling will be absolutely wonderful.

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We love how supported she feels.

I found that it was easy enough to get Rosie in, and it felt very supportive. It tightened well, and during our trip to, back from, and round Asda she didn’t need adjusting as it held firmly with no slippage whatsoever. Rosie is a smallish 9 months at around 17lbs, but judging by how supported she feels in this, it should last until she’s much bigger. The high linen content will definitely help in this regard, as linen is one of the strongest and most durable vegetable fibres there is. It should also be quite cool and breathable in summer – just think of how lovely linen trousers are on hot sticky days!

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Coming back from Asda

Regarding linen (and this is seriously geeky, so feel free to skip) – it’s one of the more tricky fibres to weave. It has to be done in an air conditioned space with a relative humidity of at least 75%, and during the weaving process the fibres have to be kept as free as possible of dust, as it can reduce the quality of the fabric. It’s therefore very interesting to know that Danu not only wet spin their linen but also, unusually, spray water onto it during the weaving process. This makes the finished product much more pliable and helps to smooth out the fibres, giving the fabric a greater lustre. (Ok, geekery is finished, you may proceed!)

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Gorgeous George

In short, I’m just a bit in love with George. He’s Irish, beautiful, supportive, strong, cool, he’ll get softer with time, and he’ll be able to manage a toddler with ease. What more do you want from a man – er, ringsling?!

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He's so good with kids.

Bronte George is available here for those that wish to share the love. Enjoy!

Joy and Joe SMP Midnight Rainbow – Review

I was very lucky to recently get my hands on the newest offering from Joy and Joe – a beautiful Midnight Rainbow version of SMP.

One of only two currently in existence, this new wrap features a double weave, similar to Moorish . The difference, however, lies in the thread count. SMP has a much lower thread count by comparison, making it rather thinner than the snuggly thick Moorish. It does, however, retain some of the bounce of Moorish, although I have found the SMP can get a little diggy after a couple of hours. In all fairness though, Rosie was attempting to throw herself to one side to watch my feet, and I’m sure that can’t have helped! A double sateen weave, the SMP works great for all sizes, from little squishies to great big galumphing toddlers. It’s grippy, and the passes stayed put very well.

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The very word sateen puts in my mind images and ideas of silky satiny slippery fabric, but this just not the case. The wrap feels like very soft, worn in jeans. Particularly the darker side, which seems to have a little more grip.

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This wrap features the well loved and popular SMP design of paisley skulls, on a very vibrant rainbow background. One side features brighter colours, and the other side features darker rainbow colours. Personally, I think I prefer the brighter side as the contrast between the rainbow and the skulls is much more evident, although I do like the more subtle side to this wrap.

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The brighter side

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The darker side

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Side by side comparison

With it’s bold, bright colours and eye catching design, the SMP Midnight Rainbows is certainly an eye catcher.

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This wrap has been subject to a steam treatment as part of the finishing process. This helps to soften the yarn and remove any debris from the weaving process, meaning that it should be suitable to use immediately and require very little breaking in. Well, having been the first person to use it, I can say here and now that it does what it says. SMP arrived floppy and comfortable already. It does require some breaking in, but it really is very minimal for a brand new wrap. It wrapped very well, and I immediately got Rosie into a ruck with no difficulties, where she promptly fell asleep. Now, I’m informed that this extra treatment will be reflected in the price, but having experienced it for myself I’d say it’s well worth it. When you’ve bought a beautiful new wrap and you’re desperate to use it, spending time and effort breaking it in can be a pain!

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It measures pre wash at 62cm wide, and 3.8 m long, giving it a comparable width to Moorish. As a prototype, the length measurement only serves to show whether washing and ironing shrinks it at all. Post wash and iron, it has no shrinkage, showing the same measurements.

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Overall, this is a grippy, floppy, supportive wrap with a very striking design and vibrant colourway. The steam finishing treatment is worth the extra, as it’s ready to use straight away. I have really enjoyed the chance to use this, and I predict that this will be a great addition to the already hugely popular SMP range.

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Joy and Joe Moorish – Review

Having recently received Moorish Timbre from Joy and Joe Baby, I decided it was high time for another review!

As usual, the wrap came with complimentary tea bag, biscuits and tote bag. It was well wrapped to protect it during transit, and well presented on arrival.

The wrap itself is a double weave, so in effect there is no ‘wrong’ side, although both sides are contrasting colours. This double weave makes it super snuggly and warm, and also adds a bit of bounce. It’s 100% Egyptian cotton.

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The lighter side

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The darker side

The design is influenced by traditional Moorish and Moroccan architecture, in black and a very very pale blue. So much so that the blue colour can quite often present as grey. Personally, to me the design is very reminiscent of snow flakes or spiderwebs. Either way, it’s striking.

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My wrap measures 62cm wide, coming in a good 6cm narrower than Luceo Non Uro, another Joy and Joe creation. You can read the full review here. The size difference is negated, however, as the grippier quality of Moorish more than compensates. LNU by contrast is slightly slippier, so I find that the passes tend to stay in place a little better with Moorish. My wrap measures length ways at 3.9 m, making it a size 4.
My wrap is a second; which means there are some aesthetic defects. This does not compromise safety in any way. These flaws are quite visible when the wrap is laid flat, as shown here:

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However, I have found that they don’t tend to be evident when the wrap is in use. That could be more to do with the carry I use, predominantly a Front Cross Carry but it works for me either way.

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A flaw is visible here, but not hugely so.

Aside from the aesthetics, the stitching and hemming is of high quality, and even, with the middle markers unobtrusive. The labelling is minimal but manages to include TICKS with an additional warning about not allowing babies chins to rest on their chest.

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In short, I really like this wrap. It feels immediately like a workhorse. It’s sturdy, bouncy, comfortable and feels like it will last the distance. I’m not scared of it; I feel I can give it some punishment and it will take it. It has washed and ironed well and needed very minimal breaking in. Certainly, it being a second has added to this, as I don’t feel I need to be overly careful with it. That said, this wrap still manages to be very attractive and I do love the design. I’ll definitely have another double weave at some point.

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Rosie loves it too!