Review: Raglan Road Ruby (Danu slings)

 

rrr19Back at the end of August Danu slings sent us a size 6 Raglan Road Ruby(RRR) to test and review. Go on, say Raglan Road Ruby Review ten times fast – I double dog dare ya!!! OK, less of the humour, more of the technical details that I know you all need before you can fall in total love. Raglan Road is the first in Danu’s Patrick Kavanagh Series – our version was the Ruby colourway; a rich red and maroon with a 48% Irish Linen, 26% Red Combed Cotton, 26% Maroon Merino blend in their tri blend. Weighing in at approximately 280 GSM it’s on the thicker side and a size 6 will set you back £155 so it’s sitting nicely in the mid price range for that size(I’d almost say it’s potentially priced a bit low for what you get but shhhh!! keep that to yourself!). My TesterBabe is 3, roughly 16KG and still has days when he likes to be carried a long way and other days when we’re yo yoing up and down.

rrr2When RRR arrived the first thing I noticed was how you could really see the tri blend fibre mix up close and that it made for a very interesting colour mix. The pattern is a quite unusual repeat of small circles and lines which really does give the illusion of a road surface with just a wee bit of a shimmer that’s hard to capture in photographs. RRR lends itself equally to dressed down jeans for a casual jaunt and dressing up for an occasion due to the design’s simplicity and classic colour choice. It’s definitely one to have in your stash if you like understated elegance and are willing to put some effort into it. The overall appearance is a head turner – akin to a classic film star – effortlessly classy with just the right amount of “look at me” to be perfect. I’m also a little bit in love with a carry showcasing both sides equally.

I’ve had a few Danu linen wraps before so I wasn’t surprised that it felt rather on the stiff side as it wasn’t far along on its route when it came to us. However, I was a wee bit surprised that I found it scratchy on bare skin but that’s not necessarily going to be the same after it’s well beaten and softened up nicely. I’d love a round robin of RRR to see what it’s like at the end of it’s journey through the UK and would do a comparison review if it ever came back(wishful thinking because the list is a long one and TesterBabe is old) Being as heavy as it is it didn’t feel heavy in hand; I was quite pleasantly surprised by both that and how tightly it braided to fit into my bag.rrr7

I found I had to work *very* hard to get passes into place and it felt as if it wrapped slightly short but on measuring it was came up as a true 6. The grip of the pattern is a double edged sword because unbroken in I found it quite an unwieldy beast and, on one occasion, I needed some extra help to get a solid knot when the poor TesterBabe was quite distressed post close encounter with a bee’s stinger. *But* once you’ve sweated out the pass placement and worked out the slack due to pattern grip the resulting wrap job will be rock solid and last for hours even with a very big kid. It stays nicely on shoulders, and whilst I wouldn’t call it uber cushy, I’d say you’re not likely to find that it’s digging after a relatively short space of time and some of that is definitely down to the type of linen used and the weave – all of which contributes to the double edged sword effect.

RRR also made an appearance at our September meet but, unfortunately, we were too busy to get any good photos. The consensus there was that it needed a lot of work initially but that there was great potential pay off if you were willing to tame the wild Irish beast as well as a general feeling of it being fabulous for older babies, toddlers and big kids but not one that would be reached for as a first wrap for a newborn/young baby due to needing a bit of notsogentle persuasion for passes to fall into place.

I’ll leave you some photographs from our day out in Sheffield along with Danu’s explanation from their website for how RRR got a name:

Drawing inspiration from On Raglan Road this wrap harps back to youthful summers spent in Ireland, on the farm in Inniskeen. Days out haybaling with a ton of cousins, building more dens than you could remember. Wild berry picking and jam making, and nights around open fires listening to local songs. Raglan Road was always sung, and has always reminded me of those summers.

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

Craftly Little Slings Ringsling

So the lovely Leah decided that I should try the travelling Crafty Little Slings ringsling in a lovely rainbow, it is made with lovely fabric, very soft 100% cotton with a gathered shoulder and red rings, which are solid. It measures 2m from rings to the long taper. 

I’ve looked the sling over a few times and most of stitching is fine however there are some areas that are narrower than the others however this is not noticeable when wearing and in my opinion this adds to its character and I don’t expect perfection from a wahm, after all she’s one person not a huge company. It has her signature swirl stitching which I find a lovely and unique touch. I believe you will find this on every one of her products.

Most of the time the ring sling was used for hip carries on the school run and quick trips in and out the car it was very nice and comfortable for both 1 year old and two year old. I got curious so decided to try a back carry with it which was fastened on the tail so if you wanted to do back carries as your preferred carry I’d want a slightly longer wrap just to be safe.

I have to say I love the colours, a lovely bright rainbow it’s very cheerful and brightens a dark day, I loved having this wrap stay with me a while and I’d happily recommend to other people.

Her prices are extremely reasonable too! She can be found Here if you want to buy one. 

Slingmeet Diaries – Behind the Scenes

Becoming a sling library has been long and hard our next step was to update the website with all carriers available to hire. We have 65 carriers to photograph! 

The first issue we had is that we didn’t have the right sized baby for all the carriers. Secondly some of us (me) didn’t want to be photographed. So we needed some volunteers. We are very lucky and had some amazing volunteers. 

Now we had some victims, I er mean volunteers we needed a location. For ease we decided to keep it at The Corner so people knew where to come. Even though the lighting wasn’t great. 

One of the lovely admin took all the photos. We were ready to go! 

We got there set up and started shooting around 11:30 it was none stop until about 2pm we even managed to get some photo tutorials and some videos too. All will be available to see soon on our website and the tutorials will be given out with hired slings. 

Now to up date the website! this may be long but it will be sooooo worth it. See you in the other side. 

Slingmeet Diaries – Becoming a Library

You *might* have heard us mention becoming a sling library. 

 Well here’s a glimpse into all the stuff you don’t see.

We have been slowly buying carriers with any profit that is made from the door sales. We now have a reasonable amount of carriers ready to hire, around 60.

There have been many hours of discussions about how to hire, deposits, fees etc.

We decided that a deposit will always be required in case of theft or loss. We were worried that this may price someone out that wants to try stuff but doesn’t have enough to cover a deposit, it also opens us up to thieves that may want to steal our hard earned slings.

 We did a few polls on the group asking about duration and fees to help us better understand what exactly you guys wanted. 

 Now we had the mammoth task of cataloging all the carriers! This is how it looked 



 We made a list of everything we own and gave it it’s own personal canvas bag. This took two of us around 3 hours to achieve!

We also took flat photos ready to publish on the website

Here’s a few out takes:


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Raffle

After running Slingmeet for a year and coming across many hurdles along the way we decided it was now or never to get hiring.

Before we could get hiring we needed to get insurance (you can never be too sure) *but* you can’t get insurance without having qualified as a peer supporter so we needed to get some folks trained!If you’d like to know a bit more about what the course entails you can find the description here. We decided to do the course with Born To Carry; now we just needed the money. Our Supporters to be all agreed to fund half the course themselves with Slingmeet funding the other half in exchange for them helping out at meets and being willing to hire out carriers.

How could we raise some money to fund the peer supporters? Raffle!! So we went around asking people if they would kindly donate a prize. Now we had prizes we just needed ticket buyers. In the end 109 tickets flew out the door by close of raffle giving us enough to pay for the course and potentially fund a new carrier, pay a bit of outstanding debt off and/or get our insurance up and running without dipping into our already very low contingency fund. We couldn’t have done this without those who donated prizes and those who supported us by digging deep and buying tickets so, again, we say THANKS!

We had some amazing prizes donated:

1.Bag(semi custom) – Carrie’s crafts – winner to discuss specs with Carrie

https://www.facebook.com/carriescrafts?fref=ts

2.Pudding Pantry £20 voucher – to be collected from Kris Wells
https://www.facebook.com/thepuddingpantry?fref=ts

3.Younique fibre mascara – Claire Louise Legder – winner to contact Claire to arrange

4.Star blanket(semi custom) – Truly Hooked – winner to be arranged between TH and winner
https://www.facebook.com/trulyhooked?fref=ts

5.Pair of Passes to Pirate’s play centre – winner to contact Katy Kerr/Pirate’s to arrange
https://www.facebook.com/Piratesplay?fref=ts

6.Barefoot books bundle – Nicola Kelsall – winner to contact Nicola to arrange
https://www.facebook.com/sharebarefootbooks

7.Crayon roll – Inspired by little Pumpkin – winner to contact page to arrange
https://www.facebook.com/inspiredbylittepumpkin?fref=ts

8.Babywearing figurine – Aneliese Rawlings-Jones – winner to contact Wolfmother Arts to arranged
https://www.facebook.com/wolfmotherarts?fref=ts

9.Younique fibre mascara – Claire Louise Ledger – winner to contact Claire to arrange

10.Custom babywearing artwork – Binky creative – winner to contact page to arrange
https://www.facebook.com/BinkyCreative?fref=ts

11.Pair of Passes to Pirate’s play centre – winner to contact Katy Kerr/Pirate’s to arrange
https://www.facebook.com/Piratesplay?fref=ts

12.Custom Fiddle beads necklace – winner to contact fiddle beads to arrange
https://www.facebook.com/FiddleBeads?fref=ts

13.Backpack from Little Herbert’s shoe shop – winner to contact Little Herbert’s to arrange
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Herbert-Shoe-Shop/179494242226107?fref=ts

We asked the lady that is going to run the peer support course to draw the numbers for us. And here’s how it turned out!

Prize one – semi custom bag – ticket number 5 Jess McEwan
Prize two – pudding pantry voucher – ticket number 6 Michelle Dyson
Prize three – 3d mascara – ticket number 41 Danny Bell
Prize four – star blanket – ticket number 42 Leah Gibson
Prize five – pair of passes to pirates – ticket number 67 Jenny Hicks
Prize six – barefoot books – ticket number 68 Victoria Pang
Prize seven – crayon roll – ticket number 72 Gisela Agar
Prize eight – baby wearing figure – ticket number 73 Rebecca Wilson
Prize nine – mascara – ticket number 76 Claire Osborne
Prize ten – baby wearing artwork – ticket number 83 Nikki Dixom
Prize eleven – passes to pirates – ticket number 100 Katy Kerr
Prize twelve – custom fiddle beads – ticket number 108 Gisela Agar
Prize thirteen – backpack – ticket number 109 Lucy Gotheridge

Katy Kerr owns Pirates, so when she won she kindly re-donated her prize and the redrawn winner was Mayita Wyldeck-Kelly. And in a similarly generous vein(as our mamas and papas prove to be) Gisela decided not to claim both the prizes she won and donated the crayon roll to be redrawn. The redrawn winner was Rosemary Hayward. Even better, one of our SlingDads won a mascara so we expect to see some particularly pretty bw selfies in the future when Danny gets all glammed up!

Happy half birthday!

Wow wow wow. We have just held our 6th slingmeet so I thought I would take a little time and reflect on the last 6 months.

When we took the slingmeet over we had to find a new venue as the costs at the library were to become way out of our budget. After lots of suggestions and phone calls we stumbled across The Corner we went to view although not perfect it would certainly fit the bill it’s a multi functioning space which allows us to have chairs and tables where ever we want and it was within budget!

Now we had a venue we had to start advertising to make all our hard work a success. Whilst doing all this we made a Facebook Page to go along side the group (link) that was already set up and designed a logo so that the slingmeet had an identity. We also had a Website that needed a serious make over. We also decided that we would do this blog which we hope you read and love.

If you have attended a slingmeet you will know we like people to sign in (if you haven’t why not? ;)) well we have been doing a little data crunching and the numbers are quite amazing so we thought we would share with you.

Since January 2014 we have seen 132 new people walk through those slingmeet doors! Thats 132 vs the 6 of us. That’s not counting all those folks that come back each month. We are very lucky and fortunate that we have some really helpful people in Nottinghamshire that come along and help us out by taking few folks and helping them out. As you can imagine it can get very busy for us and we are trying our best to make slingmeet run as smoothly as we can whilst also ensuring that as many people as possible get the help they want.

This month we trialled a ticket system where you were asked what help you wanted when you signed it. Again this allowed us to see how many of you needed help and were/weren’t getting it. I’m pleased to say that after some feedback the 35 people that wanted help 34 got help! Wow not bad for a first go. The ticket system will continue as it was a success. Bring on next month 😉

We are a curious bunch so we ask you how you found out about slingmeet here’s what you said.

Here was us thinking we would need to spend hours each month advertising slingmeet yet we were so wrong. We haven’t really done much advertising at all. We have cards (if anyone would like a few cards to hand out while you are out and about just shout up and we can sort that out for you) and leaflets but you guys are awesome and are helping us out massively.

We also ask you your postcode we love to know where you are all coming from to see us. It’s so lovely to see that people are coming from far and wide to visit and learn about safe carrying.

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So what I’m trying to say is a massive thank you to everyone that has attended so far and for those that have told your friends. We hope that you have found the perfect carrying solution if not come back and let us help you 🙂

As the meet is so successful we are looking at adding another meet to make 2 a month this will mean we can help even more of you! There is also the opportunity for a workshop to take place right on your doorstep, I am happy to come where ever you need as long as there are 6 people attending. Email or pm for more details.

Through the slingmeet we have found a fantastic community that meet up regularly at various places in Nottingham so if you can’t make a slingmeet and need help come along to a Nottingham mama (page link) meet just make sure you tell us in advance in case there is anything you want to try we can bring it along.

Babywearing while pregnant

Let talks about babywearing in pregnancy. Can you? Should you? Is it safe? I’ll tell you!

I am currently 32 weeks pregnant and have always carried my little boy who is coming up for 2. When I found out I was pregnant I didn’t even hesitate to continue carrying him. I wouldn’t advise starting to carry in pregnancy as it’s something your body needs to get used to and you use muscles differently.

Up until I had a bump I could still wear him on my front although we very rarely do front carries. I found I didn’t carry him as much in early pregnancy not because I didn’t want to but the constant nausea made it hard to do even the simplest of tasks never mind taking my little one any where but short journeys. Aside from that and being tired more easily we did go for walks with friends I was just careful to listen to my body and rest when I needed.

I have found some carries and carriers better than others. For example as my bump is growing I’m finding anything with bulk at the front so buckles or knots is fine to start with but can slip down a little and start being diggy. I am opting for wrapping which is my first choice but I’m either tying at the side or Tibetan as this isn’t pressing on my bump then.

I can still carry for the same amount of time I might just be a tad slower than before 😀

Some of my lovely friends and I recently did a sponsored walk for sport relief the route was planned around the city centre ending up in a park where we could sit and eat. Two routes were planned a mile or two miles. The mile was suitable for toddlers, the two miles had a lovely steep hill! Only suitable for babywearers or pushchairs. At the point we were splitting for the mile or 2 I looked at the hill and chose not to go. I’m so glad I listened to my body as my almost 3rd trimester body and carrying a 13kg toddler would not have ended well! So what I’m saying is don’t be a hero take it slow you are making another human being.

Please if you are pregnant and worried about carrying an older child then take it easy or opt for the pushchair! You know your body better than anyone else!

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More Adventures in babywearing

This might not feel all that adventurous but…. housework!

We all need to do it right, or to a certain extent anyway, well try getting housework done with a young baby crying, or a crawling baby under your feet, or a toddler who is scared of the hoover, or a teething baby who doesn’t want to be put down. You get the idea its difficult.

In our house my youngest likes to nap on me; in the sling or being held; she’s not fussy(!). And most days she likes to nap around 4pm. As I also have a three year old; 4pm generally has to be preparing dinner time. So in to the sling the youngest goes. On my back to keep out of the way of the oven and sharp things. And I can get dinner done and the pre-schooler fed no problem.

slingy sleeping
Nap Time!

 

One job that is often neglected is hovering the stairs and upstairs. Well, one Sunday afternoon my eldest was busy with daddy in the garden and cleaning the car, so I thought it was as good a time as any to get the hovering done. My youngest is 11 months old and crawling and has mastered the stairs; or going up them anyway! I didn’t want her following me around trying to help, so I got her up on my back and she could feel involved without actually being in the way. Nice clean stairs!hoovering the stairs

Shame it all needs doing again now already!!

New Beginnings

Spring is a time of new beginnings. Trees bud, chicks and lambs appear, and the world comes alive. This spring, my son and I are experiencing a new beginning, somewhat bittersweet for me. He is nearly two, and we are reaching the beginning of the end of our carrying journey.

Today we popped to the shops, as we often do. But he asked for the “bumbee”(bumblebee backpack reins) rather than wanting up. So, off we went, hand in hand, with the sling tucked into to the bag. This was a momentous occasion. Just two months ago, any suggestion he use his own legs was met with wailing and, very quickly, he’d be up. Or we’d start out our journey slingin’ it. If I had a penny for every time I was told “He’ll never walk if you always carry him,” I’d be writing this from a rather sunny holiday destination instead of wondering if we should take a brolly!

As I look down on that curly little head bobbing along in front or lagging a bit behind when something draws his attention, I am very aware of his transformation from a baby to a toddler. All too soon, he will become a school aged child who turns into a man before my very eyes. I am acutely aware that this is my job – to help him take these steps away from me. This half mile wander, checking out all the sticks and birds and ants and leaves and fence posts and CAAAAAATS!! at a snail’s pace, is just the first step in a very long journey.

One day the slings and carriers will be part of our distant past, along with nappies, sleepless nights, teething and tantrums. The stash will have long since moved on to cuddle new life just beginning it’s fabulous journey, but for now the sling still has a place with us. Before long, he’s tired of chasing cats. He stands in front of me, blocking the way and saying “up”.

As I fashion a quick ruck, relegating “bumbee” to the bag, I catch sight of our shadow. It has morphed from two separate people to one fused entity in the space of a few moments, and I wish I had my camera because these two images sum up how I feel about this stage of our journey. We are often still the one joined image but he has chosen his right time to take his first tentative steps away from me. There is no universal right or wrong time for this to happen. No timetable of must or should; only a gradual negotiation and encouragement for him to carve his own path.

But until he’s ready to be a big boy all the time, I’ll keep a sling in the bag and try to remember to take a shadow photo before these moments of slingy fusion are gone for good.

Not the most beautiful shots ever but I finally got some!

shadow1shadow2.1

Shire Slings Love Geek

20140421-201447.jpg20140421-201517.jpgI have become the lucky owner of a Shire Slings Love Geek size 6 100% cotton it’s petrol and apple green.

I placed my order on a Tuesday and I was treated to a red card by Royal Mail on Thursday. Super speedy delivery! As it was Easter weekend they held my wrap hostage until the Saturday.

I duly went down to free my parcel and started to unwrap it in the car (far too impatient to get home) it was packaged so well! It was doubled bagged and both those bags are biodegradable. Then once I had fought through those I found it wrapped perfectly in brown paper.

I was getting excited. I opened it carefully at one end to reveal it wrapped in a gorgeous lime green muslin and secured with string it had a brown cardboard label with it’s contents and a tiny little booklet with FCC instructions.

20140421-201509.jpg20140421-201457.jpgI was at the allotment that day so tried my best to ignore that it was sat so lonely in my car. I took a few pictures before she went for her bath.

After her bath with Eco balls at 30 then a tumble on low ensuring she was dry for our trip to see the trains on the Sunday.

20140421-202106.jpgI did a double hammock despite her crunchiness it wasn’t a bad wrap job  on the return journey I did a quick ruck using the ‘wrong’ side.20140421-202138.jpg I have deemed that although I love the wrong side I think the right side suits us better. I have noticed that after her bath she has lost her shine which I prefer.

 

 

 

I love that the rails on this wrap are different which helps if you are learning new carries or are new to wraps. This wrap will take some breaking in before it’s beautifully soft.ss3.1

I forgot to measure her before her bath but i have ironed and measured her now and she’s 70cm wide and 470cm long so just over a size 6 which is 460cm.

The wrap it’s self is absolutely perfect not a single flaw. Although the label says can be washed at 90 which Shire Slings are aware is incorrect (can we link to the facebook status saying?) the only other thing is that the middle marker isn’t quite in the middle. After measuring it’s 4cm off I know I’m picky! The middle marker is a lovely black cotton label which folds over the top rail.20140421-202049.jpg

To be continued when she’s softer….