This episode is sponsored by Baby Mumma! They are giving away a mixed brand starter pack including four nappies and a wet bag, worth RRP$170! All you have to do is leave a review on the Nappy Leaks Facebook or in the podcast app, screen shot your review and send it to nappyleaks@bubblebubs.com.au. Winner will be drawn at random on January 11, 2020. Competition is open worldwide to people over 18. One entry per review. International winners must cover postage.

This week the ladies discuss eco-conscious gift ideas. They have some great ideas including cloth doll nappies, newborn nappies for Christmas babies, re-usable cutlery sets, breastpads for mum and hand-made thoughtful teachers gifts. Swim nappies are also a great idea especially in Australia and New Zealand while we enjoy this heat. Reusable swim nappies are a great “gateway drug” into cloth nappies and useful for so many different ages. They also have some ideas for eco-conscious wrapping including using wetbags and muslin wraps which we have a blog about right here – https://www.bubblebubs.com.au/blog/2018/12/10/giftwrappingwithmuslinflats/

Buying local from small businesses, buying or making hand-made gifts or using reusable wrapping options are just a few ways to get started with a more conscious Christmas. There are so many great ways to think about our community and environment this year so don’t let the opportunity pass you by.

Vicki Simpson is the outgoing President of the Australian Nappy Association and has been advocating for and selling cloth nappies in Australia for over 15 years. She is the owner, creator and Chief Nappy Nerd here at Bubblebubs. Vashti Wadwell is the outgoing Member Secretary of the Australian Nappy Association and is the owner of Australia’s first bricks and mortar nappy store, Nest Nappies, in Brisbane, Australia. Both Vicki and Vashti have used cloth nappies for more than a decade each over three children and turned their passion into a business.

Transcript: What to give to new parents at Christmas

Andrew: Welcome Vashti.

Vashti: Hi, Andrew how are you?

Andrew: Good. How are you, I was going to say Welcome Jenna, but…

Vashti: Right, Jenna and I are interchangeable now apparently. I wonder how Vicki feels about that? 

Vicki: [grunts]

Andrew: How do you feel about that, Vicki?

Vicki: [grunts] 

Andrew: Sorry, welcome Vicki.

Vicki: Hey Andrew.

Andrew: OK, now you’re allowed to talk. [laughs] So today’s sponsor. Today’s sponsor is Baby Mumma in Adelaide. And what is kind Baby Mumma giving away?

Vashti: Well Baby Mumma, Larissa has offered to donate a mixed brand starter pack, which consists of an Alcmena Version 3, a Seedling Baby pocket nappy, a Bubblebubs Candy, a GroVia 1 and a Seedling Baby beach bag. And that’s got a recommended retail of $170. Now the thing I love about Baby Mumma is that they do free demoes for those in Adelaide, and for any listeners not in Adelaide there are  Baby Mumma consultants in other areas, including Riverland in South Australia, Perth, Wangaratta, and Gladstone. So that’s got all those nice regional areas covered, which is fantastic. And they’re not just nappies. They do a wide range of ecofriendly goodies and baby carriers as well. So thank you Larissa from Baby Mumma in South Australia. 

Vicki: So when are you going to open a bricks and mortar store, Larissa?

Vashti: Yes, Larissa. Come on. Adelaide needs a bricks and mortar.

Vicki: Adelaide had one.

Vashti: They did. 

Vicki: And they did really, really well. No, no, Nature’s Cradle.

Vashti: Yes, of course.

Vicki: And it was doing really well and it was actually for personal reasons that brain fart…

Andrew: Her kids grew up? Was that the personal reason?

Vicki: No, it was actually some really serious personal issues that they closed down. They were doing really well. They were at Brighton I think. But yeah, they were actually really leading the charge. They weren’t a dedicated cloth nappy store, but they were one of the first cloth nappy stores in Australia. And they did really, really well. Linda, Linda, there you go, Linda from Nature’s Cradle.

Andrew: There you go, Baby Mumma, you need to open your own store.

Vashti: Go for it, Larissa.

Vicki: Yeah, I think they moved from Brighton to Glen… something.

Vashti: Glenelg? 

Vicki: Whilst I know that’s an Adeladian city, suburb sorry, I don’t think that was it. But anyway. Google will tell you anyway.

Vashti: But Larissa, you need to open a bricks and mortar shop. Come on, please.

Vicki: Or Hayley or someone. 

Vashti: Hayley as well. But yeah, no, thanks Baby Mumma, we appreciate it.

Andrew: If you don’t, somebody else will. 

Vicki: That’s right.

Andrew: And of course full disclosure, Vicki and Vashti do not get paid or any kickback from these sponsorships.

Vicki: What?

Andrew: I’m the only person that benefits.

Vicki: Since when?

Andrew: Since always.

Vicki: Damn. So I’m doing this for nothing?

Vashti: You’re doing it for the love of it, Vicki.

Andrew: We’ve been doing this for over two years for nothing.

Vicki: How did I not know this until now?

Andrew: Because I guess I just covered it up. 

Vicki: Really? 

Vashti: Because obviously those people that you have working for you are keeping things from you. Jenna. Andrew.

Vicki: They’re keeping lots of money. They’re keeping money from me.

Andrew: I don’t work for her. 

Vashti: That’s what you think. No, we do it all for the love.

Vicki: Apparently. 

Andrew: So to enter and to win this wonderful prize, because that’s a lot of nappies, isn’t it?

Vashti: It’s four nappies and a wet bag.

Vicki: I was thinking it was a lot of nappies, yeah.

Vashti: It’s four nappies, a great little starter pack. And it gives you a chance to try a few different brands, and also a few different styles. So you can work out which brand or which style suits you best. And it comes all packaged in a beautiful wet bag, so you don’t need any extra bags or anything like that. 

Andrew: So you’re getting a wet bag as well?

Vashti: Yeah, getting a wet bag.

Vicki: Didn’t you hear that?

Andrew: No, I didn’t. I’ll have to play that back later and listen.

Vashti: It’s $170 worth there.

Andrew: That’s pretty good. So to win this wonderful prize, all you have to do is like us, or leave a review on the iTunes store, take a screen shot…

Vashti: It’s not the iTunes store anymore.

Andrew: Sorry, that’s right. I’ve actually written it down and I didn’t read that. 

Vicki: That’s not like you to not read what you write. 

Andrew: Apple Music. Sorry, Apple Podcasts, you’ve got to leave a review for us on Apple Podcasts. And then take a screenshot and email it to nappyleaks@bubblebubs.com.au

Vashti: You can also jump on our Facebook page and leave a review.

Andrew: I said that. Didn’t I say, swipe right…

Vashti: No, you did not say Facebook page.

Andrew: OK, swipe right on our Facebook page, dude.

Vashti: Oh my God, what sort of apps are you using? Busted freaking custard. You have to screen shot it an email.

Andrew: Which is the good one, swipe left or swipe right?

Vicki: I have no idea. I don’t know, you’re telling the story Andrew.

Vashti: I don’t use those apps Andrew, is there something you need to tell us?

Andrew: Jenna. Jenna. Swipe right or swipe left?… before your time? 

Vashti: Does that mean you’re starting to use them now? 

Jenna: If anyone can tell me how to have time to have a husband, a job, a toddler and also have an affair, I would love some time management skills. Because I don’t know when I’d fit that in. 

Andrew: Well you know what they say. If it’s really important to you, you’ll find the time. [laughter]

Vashti: That’s actually like the thread I was reading last night about clothes driers, and if it’s really important to you to save the environment, you’ll find the time to hang your washing on the line.

Vicki: Is that the one that I went on there and I said heat pump drier, and that I give zero fornications. I can’t swear on the podcast.

Andrew: You swear on Facebook.

Vicki: Do you know me? Have we met? I actually don’t care…

Vashti: You can come and do our washing. And run our families and our businesses and then you can tell us how we dry our washing.

Vicki: And this is exactly why I have this zero judgement attitude on the podcast as well, because you know what? I ain’t doing it perfectly, so who am I to judge? I’m not getting up to your baby and breastfeeding your baby, so if you feed them a bottle, you get someone else to feed them a bottle, that’s on you, not me. I’ve got no horse in this race.

Vashti: And this is the thing, I will freely admit, especially with Brent being away for seven months this year, running a business and travelling and managing three kid and stuff like that on my own, I use the drier, non stop. And so when I decided that our very old 21 year old drier was done, we went out and we bought an eight star heat pump drier.

Vicki: They’re fricken awesome, aren’t they? They are amazing.

Vashti: At least I know that even if I am using a drier to dry my clothes…

Vicki: You’re doing it the best way you can.

Vashti: …that I’m doing it the best way I can. Now, I’m not saying that everyone’s going to run out and spend $1,500 on a clothes drier, like seriously.

Vicki: Very expensive. 

Vashti: We were very lucky to be able to spend that money and that was purely because Brent was on contract overseas so he was earning some extra money at the time. 

Vicki: They do pay for themselves. It’s an investment.

Vashti: My electricity bill has dropped.

Andrew: It’s not just the electricity bill, that thing is made like a solid brick. Like that thing is heavy.

Vicki: It’s heavier than the washing machine.

Andrew: Funny thing, well it’s not now because we just bought a washing machine that matches it.

Vicki: Don’t tell people what I did. That’s actually really embarrassing, because that’s one of those really ridiculous purchases. We just had our laundry done, I have been living with the crappiest laundry for ten years.

Vashti: You have not seen my laundry.

Vicki: I finally spent the money, and truly it was only a couple of grand, to get the laundry done, and it was beautiful. And I’m looking at my washing machine, which was perfectly fine, it’s like seven, eight years old. It’s an L.G. 9 kilo…

Andrew: That was the machine that did all of Gabrielle’s nappies.

Vicki: Gabe’s, yeah. And there’s still life in it too. 

Andrew: It’s done so well.

Vicki: I’m actually giving it to my niece, so it’s not like it’s going in the bin or anything.

Andrew: Giving it to somebody who needs it.

Vicki: I had one of these moments where I had my beautiful heat pump drier, which was a Bosch Series 8 and it has a look, OK, the Bosch has a look. And so I said to Andrew, can I just get a new washing machine because it matches the drier? No other reason than I just had this beautiful laundry and I wanted my washing machine and my drier to look nice together.

Andrew: The only reason I said yes was because the doors open opposite ways.

Vicki: Yes, they did. There were a couple of other reasons, but the real reason was it looked the same as my drier.

Vashti: And that’s Vicki’s Christmas present as well.

Vicki: No it’s not.

Andrew: Vicki was in the laundry the other day and I said yeah, I’ve got to go behind there and everything. So Vicki goes to move the machine…

Vicki: I couldn’t move it.

Andrew: She couldn’t move the washing machine. It was empty, hadn’t been used. She could not physically move the washing machine. It is that heavy. I couldn’t believe it was heavier than the drier.

Vicki: So underlying the purchase the reason we bought A the heat pump drier was quality, and it’s going to last me for 10, 15 years. We’ve gone through a lot of washing machines over the years, and that was why I ended up getting the Bosch washing machine. Whilst it was a frivolous purchase that wasn’t actually necessary, it was one of those, it was definitely a want, not a need. But underlying that, just because I wanted it didn’t mean I was just going to buy something cheap.

Andrew: That L.G. one lasted well. It’s got a lot of life in it.

Vicki: It’s seven, eight years old. No, six or seven years old.

Andrew: And the funny thing, that washing machine was actually a replacement for one that failed, because we had that one before that.

Vicki: Yeah, we had a couple of Electroluxes that failed. 

Andrew: And oh my gosh, people say that those extended warranties you don’t get your money back. Damn, we have.

Vicki: You do.

Andrew: Because they basically give you a new washing machine.

Vicki: What they do is they actually take it away and they replace it, and that’s why when they’d replaced it the second time, I said no, I’m not going for the same washing machine. We actually spent more on that L.G. and got a better quality one, which is pretty much what I’ve done with the Bosch, because the intention is to not have to replace it. 

Andrew: If we have two machines fail, then that’s when you said let’s not just replace it with the same one, let’s do it with something else. So that L.G. machine has done well.

Vicki: So anyway my laundry looks amazing and it is currently a kitchen at the moment, because the kitchen is in the middle of being ripped out. 

Andrew: We’re like people from the U.K. We have our kitchen and our laundry in the same room at the moment.

Vicki: I’ve never appreciated a functioning kitchen like I have, and we’re only three days in, and we’ve got three weeks until our kitchen is finished.

Vashti: Oh no.

Vicki: The fridge is upstairs, the sink is downstairs, and half the food is downstairs, and the pots and pans. Anyway.

Andrew: It’s pretty.

Vicki: Anyway I was talking to you, the kitchen got ripped out yesterday.

Andrew: You’re saying that like somebody else did it. We did that.

Vicki: We did it. Well the thing is, the kitchen installers were going to rip it out. They were A, going to charge me for it, and they were going to throw it in the bin. And that just does my head in, because the carcasses are still in decent condition, and all I wanted to do was actually replace the doors. I just wanted to replace the colours. So I chucked it on Gumtree and I put 300 bucks on it or something because I just didn’t want to give it away. I didn’t want anything for it, but I didn’t want to…

Andrew: But you found a new life for it.

Vicki: I have. And so the people that are coming to get it on Friday, I’m not actually going to charge them for it, they can have it for free. But it’s going into another house. It’s going to have a new…

Andrew: A new life. That’s good. So onto some reviews. Vicki, would you like to read a couple of reviews?

Vicki: So our first review is from Kidonas3. And they have said, “Came across this recently as I started cloth nappying and it’s a great practical, easy to listen podcast. Great to listen to while I’m feeding bub.” Excellent, that’s exactly what we have been aiming for. And one from Megan Una. “This is a light, funny podcast full of information about cloth nappies. Vicki and Vashti are both full of knowledge and experience in the cloth nappy world. Really enjoy listening to the podcast.” And when she says light and funny, she’s referring to me. 

Andrew: [laughter] Well that was funny. 

Vicki: And one by Oh Good, has called this the Cloth Bible. “Thank you with Mum’s advice a bit, or shall she say a lot, outdated, this is a great resource to help with our cloth journey. Four months in and loving it, but definitely a lot more to learn plus a new podcast for Mum to listen to in the car.” And you will soon, we should get her on the podcast in a few months times. I think once you’re a few months in, whilst there is still a little bit more to learn, you learn pretty quickly, and you’ll catch it up, and you’ll be the expert telling all of your friends how to do cloth. Encourage somebody else to start a podcast.

Andrew: Yeah, and interestingly, our number one show at the moment, not counting number one and number two, is number 28, Washing Cloth Nappies. Which actually has peaked at position 45.

Vicki: Not 47, 45. 

Andrew: When I say 45, it’s the real number.

Vicki: If you say 47 I wouldn’t have believed you. 

Andrew: So it’s like it’s Christmas time and Christmas decorations are up and Christmas lights are up, and I’m talking metaphorically because we haven’t done any of that yet. 

Vicki: Yeah, because that’s an 80 kilo Christmas tree that you have to take upstairs. 

Vashti: Is that how much your weighs?

Vicki: Isn’t it?

Andrew: I take it up in pieces, I don’t carry the whole thing at once.

Vicki: It’s in three pieces. It’s the best thing I’ve ever bought.

Andrew: Tell you what though, it never falls over.

Vicki: It’s a pre-lit tree, and it’s in three pieces. It is the easiest tree to put together. We’ll have it for the rest, pretty much the rest of our lives. 

Vashti: We’ve had one since before Braith was born. I bought it because we used to have this teeny tiny little 15 cm Christmas tree. This is pre-children that sat on top of our entertainment unit.

Andrew: Television?

Vashti: No, our entertainment, I’m serious, our entertainment unit is one of those huge…

Vicki: Back in the days when you used to have…

Vashti: …big wooden thing with doors on each side…

Vicki: Now everyone has their T.V.s on the walls.

Andrew: No, that’s not old, that’s just single life, married life.

Vicki: Actually, you know how I was talking in the last podcast about my Dad and the 25 years, the things that have changed. T.V.s they used to be huge big things, and they’re now on the walls. They used to be a piece of furniture.

Andrew: Well they were on the wall before, they just took up the next room.

Vashti: Well our entertainment units takes up half our lounge room. It’s massive, and we don’t have a T.V. in it. So we’re a T.V. free house these days. Everything is on the iPads.

Vicki: I was going to say, don’t you complain about your son stealing the iPad to watch television?

Andrew: We don’t have a home line, a home telephone line. We just have mobiles.

Vicki: We do actually. We do, it just doesn’t have the phone plugged into it.

Vashti: We’ve got the home telephone line because my mother in law only calls on home lines. Although I have to admit, this year she hasn’t called the home line and I think it’s because Brent’s been away all year. But yeah no, so we had this 15 cm Christmas tree that sat up on the entertainment unit, and one year, this is pre-babies, I think it was just before I fell pregnant with Brace, my mother in law and my niece were coming up for Christmas. So I thought we need to do full on, we’ll have a big Christmas. So I bought this great big six foot Christmas tree. And it’s massive, and it’s still with us, and it still looks amazing. 

Andrew: I saw it there the other day. You’d better take it down.

Vicki: When you picked her up for Germany, in September?

Vashti: No, it came down in February this year.

Andrew: So today’s topic is cool gifts to give to someone who’s expecting.

Vashti: I have some amazing ideas for this.

Andrew: What about you, Vicki?

Vicki: Mm, am I allowed to plug? Because I’ve got something that has just come out.

Vashti: The Just Hatched Pebbles, it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a gorgeous little newborn nappy and it comes in its own little…

Vicki: With a gift card inside it, it’s own little gift card.

Andrew: Wait a minute, is this in the warehouse yet?

Vashti: A mini wet bag.

Vicki: A mini wet bag. 

Andrew: I don’t like to plug things we don’t actually physically have yet.

Vicki: Yeah. 

Andrew: We’ve got it?

Vicki: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: OK.

Vicki: Definitely, by the time this podcast is out, they will be available. Hopefully they won’t be sold out, I am a little bit worried.

Andrew: Actually I saw the prototype, it looks good.

Vicki: The sample, yeah.

Andrew: It kind of goes back to the early days of Bubblebubs where you actually used to get embroidered nappies made that said Just Hatched on it.

Vicki: I embroidered them. Yeah, I’ve still got some nappy cuts.

Andrew: You had an embroidery machine.

Vicki: Yes, I did.

Vashti: What happened to that?

Vicki: I gave it to my Mum, because I just did not have the time to embroider, so I gave it to her, and she never used it either.

Andrew: Damn, that machine was expensive.

Vashti: I can imagine.

Andrew: It’s really cool though. You just basically put the fabric in the holder, and pushed the pattern you want and it punches it out. It’s amazing.

Vicki: Yeah, says the man who never used it. It really was not that simple.

Andrew: I watched, it was fascinating.

Vicki: You had to sit there and rethread it whenever you changed…

Vashti: You have to rethread all the colours. 

Vicki: And then there was the editing of the design before that, and you know…

Andrew: They were really popular, those just hatched nappies, they were really popular back in those days, weren’t they?

Vicki: Yeah, they were. Well it’s why I brought them back. It’s that first nappy that you get to keep. I’ve got all my kids’ first nappies. So…

Andrew: And thousands of other nappies.

Vicki: Which you found a couple of months ago. You found them, pulling the laundry out.

Andrew: We’ve renovated since then, so they’re lost again.

Vicki: Yeah, found some really old Candies that were on Gabe, and he’s like seven or eight now.

Andrew: Because I’m looking for some old nappies, I like to take pictures of old nappies. The Candies really last, and it’s good to find old ones that have got the old label on and have been through quite a few washes, and take pictures of them. 

Vicki: Really neglected, way before the revised washing instructions. Back in the day when we used to recommend quarter or a half scoop of detergent.

Andrew: And these things would have gone through the drier too, these Candies would have gone through the drier too, because we didn’t know not to put them through the drier.

Vicki: No, we knew, we just didn’t care.

Andrew: I didn’t know that.

Vicki: Yeah.

Andrew: So that’s your pick?

Vicki: And doll nappies. 

Andrew: Doll nappies?

Vicki: Doll nappies too. Well you’re asking somebody who just produces one product. This going to be more a Nest kind of thing.

Vashti: There’s a few companies who do doll nappies. We’ve got the Rumperoos ones and the Bubblebubs ones. There’s a couple of other brands out there who do dolls nappies as well. And it’s so nice, I had a customer in a couple of months ago now, she was picking up a few bits and pieces for herself, and then she saw the doll nappies, and she bought one. Well, she ended up buying three. But it was purely to take to her library because she was sick of at rhyme time, all the dolls at the library having plastic nappies on their bum.

Vicki: And they’re not… even though obviously the dolls don’t wet them, but they stop sticking so they literally are throw away.

Vashti: They stop sticking, if they’re the really cheap ones, when you pull the sticky off, it actually rips the outside plastic because the sticky is so hard and the plastic is so thin, and stuff like that. So while your doll is not going to wet them, they really are only a one use.

Vicki: Single use, almost

Andrew: So you’re telling me that there’s single use nappies available for dolls as well?

Vicki: Yeah, didn’t you know that? 

Andrew: No, that’s just a money…

Vashti: A cloth nappy for a doll, all it is is a little bit of fabric that’s shaped into a nappy…

Vicki: It’s nothing flash, and I tell you what, if you’re looking to make something for your little one, I love handmade stuff and I love second hand stuff for Christmas. That really does it for me. But it doesn’t have to be anything flash. It really is almost like a figure eight, with a little bit bigger on the wings.

Vashti: And flat at the top and bottom.

Vicki: You could probably google some patterns, to be honest.

Andrew: Oh, make them yourself.

Vicki: Make them yourself, look they’re not hard, and even if you don’t have great sewing skills, as long as you’re using things like microfleece, it doesn’t need to be overlocked or anything like that. You can hand stitch it if you have to. Honestly a machine is probably going to be easier if you’re putting Velcro on it, but if you’ve got a little snap press, depending on the age of your baby, you can put some little snaps on

Vashti: Well if you’re in Brisbane, you’re always welcome to bring your handmade dolls nappies into Nest and we will pop some snaps on it for you, free of charge.

Vicki: Yep, or if you happen to be around an expo, Bubblebubs take a hand snap press. I was putting some snaps on somebody’s…

Vashti: Feeding smocks.

Vicki: Yeah, some smocks, just recently. It was exactly easy because I had to get it through the Velcro. Had I had it here, it would be kind of more industrial presses would be easier. But we’re more than happy to put snaps on anything you want, anything you need. I’m going to regret that, aren’t I? That’s alright, because expo season is over until February. So by the time this is out, you’ll have to wait until February to come and see us. 

Andrew: What’s next, Vashti?

Vashti: One of the things I always love giving, if you’re not planning on giving cloth nappies to a new parent, some other really beautiful things are wet bags. Wet bags are an amazing gift, and they can double as gift wrap as well. So if you are buying something else, you can actually put everything in the wet bag and use the wet bag as the wrapping paper. I had one customer a while back who went to a baby shower. She bought a range of different bits and pieces. Some from me, some from other places, but she bought a really gorgeous wet bag, put everything inside the wet bag and then tied it all up with a big ribbon. And it was a reusable ribbon, and she tied it so that it could be reused again and stuff like that. It was the most beautiful looking present. You couldn’t, you would just be absolutely amazed if you got that as a new parent. So I absolutely adore using wet bags as wrapping. And mini wet bags are absolutely fantastic as well. You can pop just a few little bits and pieces. So even if you’re looking at getting something for your child’s teacher at the end of the year, or something like that, pop a few little bits and pieces inside a mini wet bag, and give it to them.

Vicki: When is this coming out? 

Vashti: December, so it’s probably past…

Vicki: Because a friend of mine actually makes these gorgeous handmade snowflakes. And it’s probably a little bit too late now, but think of it for next year. 

Vashti: I actually need to talk to Sherry about that.

Vicki: So they’re all hand beaded. They’re like these hand beaded little snowflakes. You remember them from last year? I get them every year for the kids. No, you don’t? There’s one sitting over there that I actually gave to my retailers, because she did them in blue and red for me. But anyway they come…

Andrew: Oh yeah, yeah.

Vashti: Mine is actually packed away with my Christmas decorations.

Andrew: When you say little snowflake, I was actually thinking it was something encased…

Vicki: No, it’s a beaded snowflake, so it’s got like five or seven points, and then it’s got a little laser label on it that says, you can say whatever you want, but thanks for teaching me 2011. I know that they go down really well with teachers. They use them on their tree. They’re not like another coffee mug or another box of chocolates or something. But it’s also something that they do remember the kids by.

Andrew: I have never seen a teacher knock back a box of chocolates.

Vashti: Teachers love boxes of chocolates, but there’s only so many boxes of chocolates you can eat. 

Vicki: 25 boxes?

Vashti: And if you really love them a teacher, buy them a big bottle of alcohol. On top of your reusable goodies. 

Vicki: But they like things like…

Andrew: In glass, yeah buy them alcohol in glass.

Vicki: It’s really hard to buy stuff for teachers. Even as impersonal as it is, pencils or markers or stuff like that. 

Vashti: Things that they can use for the classroom for the following year. I mean, your child is not going to get the benefit out of it, but your child got the benefit out of things that they spent their own money on that year. And this is the thing, 90% of the stuff that’s in your child’s classroom, a teacher has gone out and spent their own wages on. They don’t get any extra money for the things that they put into the classroom, and they spend a huge amount of time. Teachers get great holidays and stuff like that, but nine times out of ten, those holidays are spent in the classroom planning, or they’re up… I get messages, we’ve go this messaging app thing for our kids teachers. And I get messages on that from some of my kids’ teachers at 11 o’clock at night. So they’re still working at 11 o’clock at night, sending messages out to the class about things that are coming up, like swimming lessons or camp notes. Just things that are happening in the classroom. So that’s where they’ve got to do it. So I love supporting my teachers. I generally made them some homemade Christmas cake and some shortbread. And then wrap it all up beautifully. This year I’m actually going to wrap it in a mini wet bag, so that they can reuse it.

Andrew: Actually I mentioned in the last podcast, John Cooke. He actually used to wrap presents in the posters that he sold. Because he had…

Vicki: You know why?

Andrew: …he used to do these great big posters. We did one for the Sev Trek cartoon, and he did some…

Vicki: …they’re still in my garage.

Andrew: Yeah, he used to wrap presents that he gave other people in his own art work.

Vicki: I would do exactly the same thing to get rid of the posters out of my garage, however they’re not in the same theme as my Christmas tree, and yes I am one of THOSE people.

Andrew: Yes, she is. See John Cooke is actually now a lecturer at a university in America. So he actually moved to America. So left all the posters to me before he left.

Vicki: So kind of him. 

Vashti: Is that the same line with the t-shirt you gave me?

Vicki: Yes. And bookmarks, did he give you any bookmarks?

Vashti: No, I don’t think I got a bookmark.

Vicki: See, I won’t let him throw them out.

Andrew: Do you wear that?

Vashti: I think the t-shirt gets worn to bed occasionally, but it’s a bit tight around the neck.

Andrew: You’ve got the beam me up one?

Vashti: Yeah. But anyway, going back to presents…

Andrew: That’s it, we can give them all away as a present. Actually I think Sev Trek should sponsor the next podcast.

Vicki: You could have 300 posters.

Andrew: $300 worth of posters.

Vicki: No, 300 posters. 

Vashti: You too could be using Sev Trek posters for your wrapping paper. Yeah, wet bags make amazing wrapping paper, and it’s something that’s reusable, it’s something that can continue to be used. It’s great if your child has special friends at playgroup or for new parents. I know I’ve used wet bags and filled it for my kids with little bits and pieces for their friends for birthday parties and stuff like that. It’s just a really nice way. It means that you’re not using paper to wrap anything in. And it can still be used. I also love swim nappies as Christmas presents because you know, Christmas time here in Australia is all about spending time at the beach or the pool, under the sprinkler. Maybe not under the sprinkler this year with the Level 4 water restrictions.

Vicki: It is going to rain tomorrow.

Andrew: No it’s not, I haven’t put any water in the pool. 

Vicki: No, by December. Let’s hope.

Vashti: Fingers crossed, because my water tank is so empty and my kids are bugging me to fill up the blow up pool. And I’m like yeah, no. Not until the tank is full. We will not be using town water for the pool. But swim nappies…

Vicki: We’ve been saying that about the bath too. No, you can’t have a shower or a bath. Stinky. I’m joking.

Vashti: I’ve got friends who are an hour, I’m serious. I’ve got friends who are an hour and a half west of Brisbane, and their kids are showering once a week because they’re on Level 4 water restrictions. And then I drive through the city, I was on my way to work yesterday, and there’s somebody standing on the side of the road watering their footpath.

Vicki: But climate change isn’t a thing.

Vashti: Apparently not. 

Andrew: You see yeah, well…

Vicki: Shall we go there? Shall we not? Perhaps not.

Vashti: No.

Andrew: We’re hard up for water now and I can just imagine next year we’ll be in flood, like we were last time.

Vicki: Yeah but remember that’s how the Brisbane floods happened. The entire month of December it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained and rained. And then we had that inland tsunami up in Toowoomba that just, there was just nowhere for it to go. 

Vashti: The ground couldn’t take any more water. I remember even before the floods.

Vicki: We were about to run out of water. Like 2010 they had predicted that Wivenhoe would be down.

Andrew: We were two months away from the dam being empty. 

Vashti: I remember even before the floods hit Brisbane, walking through my backyard, the ground was so soft. And you could just feel the moisture in the ground. And then the floods hit. We had a lake in our backyard.

Vicki: So did we.

Andrew: We had a river in our backyard.

Vashti: We were ankle deep in water moving up to the chook shed. I was sitting there going poor chooks, where are you going to go?

Andrew: They had speedboats up and down the river.

Vicki: Yeah, in the park behind us.

Vashti: That was the thing, that was the year that we got the chooks, and one of the chooks, because we got them as hatchlings, one of the chooks turned out to be a rooster. And he started crowing during the floods. And we’d found him a home, but we couldn’t get him there, because that home was at Laidley. And I had my neighbours starting to complain, going what are you doing with that rooster in the suburbs? We were actually bringing the rooster into the house at night, after he’d gone to sleep, because it’s the only way you could pick him up because he was so aggressive. We would wait until he went to sleep and then we’d go down there with a towel and wrap him in a towel, bring him inside and put him in the shower. Our main bathroom is in the centre of the house, so it’s got no windows or light or anything. And he wouldn’t crow until like 7 o’clock instead of 3:30.

Andrew: Wow, he was crowing at 3:30 in the morning?

Vicki: Yeah, so if want a vote for daylight saving, yeah, the roosters will crow at 4:30 instead of 3:30.

Andrew: Would the roosters know when to crow though, if we’ve got daylight saving?

Vicki: They might have been in cahoots with the cows.

Andrew: So what have we got? What’s next?

Vashti: Swim nappies. Swim nappies rock, and it’s a really great gateway drug to cloth nappies, if you’re trying to get…

Andrew: That’s an excellent way to promote nappies.

Vashti: It is, isn’t it?

Andrew: Gateway drug.

Vashti: If you’re wanting to get somebody sort of slightly interested in cloth nappies, give then a reusable swim nappy.

Vicki: And there are some brands that come with mini wet bags as well.

Vashti: There are. 

Vicki: So you can package it, a rash vest…

Andrew: Some brands?

Vicki: You can package it…

Vashti: It this sponsored by Baby Mumma? Or sponsored by Bubblebubs? 

Vicki: That’s all I’ve got. That’s all I’ve got for Christmas, the rest is nappy.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s all I gave you. 

Vashti: The other thing is, if you’re looking at something for mum, reusable breast pads are really nice, if she’s…

Vicki: When then turn into reusable makeup pads later.

Vashti: Or drink coasters. There’s lots of ways to use you reusable breast pads after you’ve finished with them in your bra.

Vicki: I’m so not using them as a coaster. I’ve used them as a make up pad. 

Vashti: You can get some really pretty ones. There’s some that are printed, and stuff like that. And they do look really pretty, so you can sort of put them down on the table and you would never know that they were a breast pad.

Vicki: But the pretty side would still be on the underside, because it’s P.U.L. on the top, then the liquid would just roll off the edge…

Vashti: Yeah, true.

Andrew: And go underneath and get sucked up. I can just imagine you’re at the party and you’ve had quite a few to drink. How did my breast pad get all over the bench? Put them back on. 

Vicki: OK, no that’s a dad joke.

Vashti: So that’s a really nice present for mum. There’s lots of other things out there as well. If you’re looking for ways to wrap without using wrapping paper, baby muslins, or muslin clothes are a really, really beautiful way that you can wrap. I’m pretty sure Bubblebubs actually did a blog post last Christmas on wrapping your presents. There’s actually a Japanese art form of wrapping presents in material. And there is a huge amount of ways to do it where you wrap the present and tie it up and it looks amazing.

Vicki: You kind of do it on the angle rather than your traditional square.

Andrew: Do you use muslin flats or something for that, do you?

Vashti: You can, yeah.

Vicki: Or muslin wraps. Muslin baby wraps.

Vashti: Jenna has googled for us. 

Jenna: Furoshiki, which I’m sure I’m not pronouncing correctly. 

Vashti: I think it is, it’s pronounced very similar to that. It’s a Japanese art form of using material to wrap a present.

Vicki: I want to see if the transcriber can actually get that spelled right. 

Andrew: We’ll be checking.

Vashti: That’s a really good way of reducing your environmental impact over Christmas as well. For parents with new babies, muslin wraps come in handy for everything because they can be used as sheets in cots, they can be used as pram covers when you’re in the sun. They can be used to wrap your baby in, they can be used as breastfeeding covers. And then once your baby is past that stage, I used, well even while my baby was at that stage, I used a muslin wrap as a change table cover when I was out at public shops. And then later on down the track you can use it as a table cloth when you’re at the local park or something like that, or lay it down on the grass to have a picnic on. So muslin wraps carry on for many, many years. Which is fantastic.

Andrew: Can you wash your car with them?

Vashti: Definitely. It’s beautiful cotton. I’ve got some gorgeous bamboo ones. Imagine Baby does these really, really beautiful bamboo cotton swaddles that are so soft and so light and airy. So gorgeous.

Vicki: I’m just wondering how I can justify my colour scheme. My pictures, no, it’s not going to be muslin cloths. In my non-judgemental way, the way I don’t judge you guys, don’t judge me for my prettily wrapped presents. It’s my thing.

Vashti: But there’s lots of other reusable items out there as well, if you’re looking for something.

Andrew: Like straws, reusable straws.

Vashti: Yeah, reusable straws that can come packaged in beautiful little canvas bags. You can get your reusable cutlery sets and stuff like that, and they all come in their own little… you can get P.U.L. or canvas bags. And so even if they’re dirty when you pop them back in the P.U.L. bag, you can take them home and wash them, and then wash your P.U.L. bag as well, which is fantastic. Your keep cups, if you need another keep cup. I really don’t need another keep cup. 

Andrew: We got some really nice cups recently. What were they called?

Vicki: You’re telling the story.

Andrew: I can’t remember what they were called. Those new metal cups with the insulation in them. 

Vicki: Oh the brew mates? They are really expensive and really worth every cent. They are amazing. They’re basically an insulated cup. They promote them very much for wine by the pool kind of thing. But just any drink with ice cubes in it, the ice cubes actually stay in there for hours. As long as your drink is cold. If you’ve actually got a hot glass of soda that you’ve put in, it keeps the whole drink cold, but the ice cubes will melt. But if you’re actually putting cold water into a cold, with the ice, the ice will actually stay.

Andrew: That’s where I got those round ice cube things from. They’ve got these little…

Vicki: These perfectly round spheres to put in his scotch glass, that he never drinks scotch…. 

Andrew: Perfectly round…

Vicki: He’s like this old Mr Burns, except he doesn’t actually drink scotch.

Andrew: No, I wanted the round ice cubes because I saw it on Star Trek once.

Vashti: Wasn’t there an episode that Homer may have accidentally been Mr Burns’ son? 

Andrew: If they haven’t covered that storyline, they will soon. It’s been going for 31 years. 

Vashti: Is it really that long? Oh my gosh.

Andrew: It was renewed for Season 31, and I think it breaks a record during Season 31, I can’t remember what it is. 

Vashti: For those that don’t pick up, Vicki and Andrew’s surname is Simpson. So that’s where the references come in.

Andrew: I love it, I don’t have to spell my last name. Ever since that show started 30 years ago, I have not had to spell my last name ever. Everybody just knows how to spell my last name. Fantastic. 

Vashti: Love it.

Andrew: Of course it makes it really hard to get domains you want though. 

Vashti: True.

Vicki: I think even aside from what you’re buying. I’m kind of going to flip it. It’s all nice, all good and well, as you said you don’t need any more keep cups, and that sort of stuff. Buying less. Actually just buying less. Last year my kids got a pool, and that’s pretty much all they got.

Andrew: And they’re still playing with that toy. 

Vicki: Still playing with it.

Andrew: We’ve finally found a toy that they would play with all the time.

Vicki: I reminded them of that this morning, because Arabella was having a whinge about I’m in Grade 6 now and they don’t do swimming lessons, it’s not fair, it’s only the younger… I said really. So the fact that you come home from school every day and jump into a pool, it’s unfair that you don’t do swimming lessons anymore? Like I don’t understand the logic in this. Literally they dump their bags, hop in their togs and in the pool. I suppose just be more aware of what you’re purchasing.

Vashti: We do something these days, I got really sick of my kids were getting more and more each year. We were trying to better ourselves…

Vicki: Just stuff.

Vashti: …each year and it actually got to the point where they were opening their presents…

Vicki: Next please, next please.

Vashti: …and we had no idea where anything had come from, and we had presents getting lost in wrapping paper and stuff like that. So we’ve actually cut it back in the last couple of years and we now do something that they want, something that they need, something to love, and something to read. So they get four presents. And that goes in their Santa sack.

Vicki: And I start that at the beginning of the buying season. I always start with those intentions and never end that way.

Vashti: We’ve always done, the Santa sack has always been lots of small things that Santa would get them and stuff like that, because we do that big thing that it’s not fair that Santa buys them these huge big presents and then they go and talk to their friends, and their friends’ parents have only been able to afford something small from Santa. So we always do small things from Santa. And then there’s one big combined present from all of us to them. So something for them to share and stuff. But yeah, we do the four things in their Santa sack and we’ve actually reduced down that extra present from all of us to all of them to be something that’s really useful for the family. And while they may not like the fact that they’re getting something for the family, it’s actually really interesting…

Vicki: A car.

Vashti: Jenna’s moving down the hall with her reusable cutlery.

Andrew: Jenna just…

Vicki: That’s because nobody does the washing up here, so nobody wants to use the cutlery here. I reckon that’s why she brings her own cutlery. Here she comes racing back.

Jenna: As I’ve told you 32 times, I’m allergic to dishwashing liquid.

Vicki: What?

Jenna: I’d like to point out, I really have told her this before. Because it comes up a lot. I’m allergic to dishwashing liquid, so it’s easier for me bring mine, take it home dirty and put them in the dishwasher.

Vicki: I think your pregnancy gone has gone through…

Vashti: This is coming out in December.

Vicki: I think your pregnancy brain has gone whoa, you didn’t tell me this stuff.

Jenna: I did tell you.

Vicki: As if I would forget something like that.

Jenna: Andrew, does Vicki ever forget things she’s said to you?

Vashti: All the time.

Jenna: I’m going to run away now while I still have a job.

Vashti: Have you been fired yet today?

Andrew: I just thought it was funny, because she goes into her bag and she grabs a knife and fork, and she’s got the knife and fork in each hand, and then off she goes to the kitchen. I thought oh yeah, Jenna’s going to eat. 

Vicki: Because she’s in her first trimester and that’s all she does. She actually doesn’t work at the moment. When this podcast comes out of course that will be…

Andrew: You know why she’s having a baby? She’s making our next model. She’s making the next Bubblebubs model.

Vashti: Of course.

Vicki: She’s making my life a misery, that’s what she’s really doing.

Vashti: Because she’s going to go on maternity leave.

Vicki: So she thinks. 

Andrew: You know she listens to this, don’t you?

Vicki: Oh.

Vashti: The last thing I’ll probably recommend is not only buy less, but do homemade gifts.

Vicki: It’s not so much buy less, it’s just be…

Vashti: Be more thoughtful about what you’re buying. Make sure that what you’re buying is actually going to be used and that it’s not a throw away item that is going to be used for five minutes and then forgotten. So be thoughtful about what you’re buying.

Vicki: I’d like something for the kitchen.

Vashti: Shop local. Shopping local really helps.

Andrew: Hopefully we’ll have a kitchen by then. 

Vicki: That’s right, a bench. Sorry Vashti.

Vashti: I have all these grand plans most years to start my Christmas shopping early.

Vicki: You’re a night before Christmas girl as well like I am.

Vashti: I end up being the week before Christmas, and literally the last couple of days before Christmas the last couple of years.

Vicki: Chermside is open 24 hours, that’s all I can say.

Andrew: Actually from a retail point of view, back when I was working for Tandy all those years ago, the week before Christmas we would do as much sales in that last week as we did the rest of the month.

Vashti: Yeah exactly.

Andrew: Everybody shops the last week of Christmas.

Vashti: Well do you know what?

Vicki: And the dads all shop, all the men all shop on Christmas Eve.

Vashti: I’ve actually changed it this year. I have already bought three Christmas presents.

Vicki: See I do that and I give it to the kids because I can’t, I can’t…

Vashti: I’ve already given Braith one of his Christmas presents. But I gave it to him, it was actually supposed to be a birthday present. I gave it to him four weeks ago when it was released. 

Jenna: We do Done by December. So we have everything. And here’s the key, you bring it into the house and you wrap it straight away, so then you never have the marathon wrapping and you don’t get tempted to give it to them. 

Vashti: Well OK, so I bought one of my staff members one of their Christmas presents the other day, on Saturday.

Vicki: Do we have to buy Christmas presents for our staff? Oh God.

Jenna: I just bought salmon in for lunch, so I don’t expect to have a job by December, so it’s fine. 

Vashti: I will point out that we’re recording this mid October, OK, just to give everyone a little clue on how early I’m shopping.

Vicki: Is it really mid October already?

Vashti: It is. 

Vicki: Far out.

Jenna: I have Casey’s present done. I’ve had Ryan’s present done for months, and I’m starting work on my made gifts this month, and then next month I’ll finish buying. But I’ve got like a list of most of what I’m buying people. I’m still brainstorming.

Vashti: See, you’re way more organised than me, but you are an organised person.

Jenna: The stress of December and all the parties and all that stuff, I find that all really hard to deal with if I’m not organised. So I go in December 1st, tree goes up, everything goes under it.

Vashti: No, I went and bought one of my staff members a present, I was very impressed with myself, and it’s all wrapped and tucked away in the cupboard. So I know where it is.

Vicki: Is it because you bought it in Cologne?

Vashti: No. I bought it from a local Paddington retailers. So I was shopping local and I was shopping small. And I am literally going to be doing that. I walked up and down The Terrace on Saturday afternoon, and I’ve picked up three other things that just didn’t want to buy right then, but I’ve got them in the back of my head for certain people and I’ll be back to purchase them next payday, because I actually get paid these days, which is really nice.

Andrew: It’s always good when you find your business has grown big enough that the boss gets paid.

Vashti: But yes, shop local, shop small, shop thoughtful. And handmade. Even making family Christmas cakes or shortbread, or homemade Baileys rumballs or something like that.

Andrew: That would do it for me, I love rumballs.

Vicki: Please don’t give me fruitcake.

Vashti: OK.

Vicki: I actually didn’t realise how picky an eater I was until I started to travel.

Vashti: Yeah, you are.

Vicki: I really am picky. 

Vashti: But yeah, homemade stuff I always good. I make shortbread every year. Every single year I make shortbread. It was a tradition that my Mum started, and it is so well received. People are actually, I’ve had people start asking me, hey when are you making your shortbread? Are we getting shortbread this year? 

Vicki: I have all good intentions of cooking, but you know, sadly time. 

Andrew: I think we’ll finish there.

Vashti: Hopefully we’ve given people some ideas. 

Andrew: I got some.

Vicki: Have you? Can I have a kitchen for Christmas? That’s all I want.

Vashti: Well hopefully you’ll have a kitchen before Christmas. 

Vicki: God, if it’s not in before Christmas, I will neck myself. 

Andrew: They’re making it now, they’re making it now. Thank you, Vashti.

Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you, Vicki.

Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks, Jenna.

Jenna: [mouthful noise]

Andrew: Bye everybody.

[Music]

Andrew: Vicki Simpson is a wife and mother to three children, President of the Australian Nappy Association and owner and founder of Bubblebubs. Vicki has been making and selling cloth nappies through her website for 15 years. Bubblebubs is now one of the most recognised and awarded cloth nappy brands in Australia, and is currently expanding to other countries. You can find out more and contact her through her website, bubblebubs.com.au. Vashti Wadwell is mother to three children and has been using cloth nappies for 13 years. She is the owner of Australia’s first cloth nappy store, Nest Nappies, located in Brisbane, Australia. She can be contacted through her website, nestnappies.com.au. If you would like to give us feedback, go to nappyleaks.com.au. If you are finding this podcast helpful, the way to thank us is to leave feedback in the iTunes store or wherever you listen to podcasts. I am your host, Andrew Simpson. 

[Music]

Vicki: Well actually maybe, do you know what? I should maybe put it out on the podcast and then just get heaps of emails. We’re recruiting. We’re going to be recruiting, guys.

Andrew: Who wants to be a social media person for Bubblebubs? Apply now, send your email to [beep].

Vicki: Take that out. You take that out. 

Andrew: [laughs] I’m going to leave that in. I think…

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