End Of Year Round Up


HAPPY NEW YEAR

There have been highs and lows in 2017!

We end the year having processed around 1000 hires! We have 200 active (hired within the last six months) users and 200 items for them to choose from!

We have 12 volunteers (plus the librarian!) that attend the library sessions, 2 of whom trained to be babywearing consultants this year! That gives us a total of three conultants, five trained peer supporters and five admin volunteers! Each one of them is amazing and give their time freely to benefit others.

We run from five venues all around our bit of the North West and covering different types of venues too from a Parish Hall to Soft Play!

This year we received our first ever funding grant! This meant we could add our new free stretchy wrap hire scheme and we had a photoshoot with Hazel Hughes Photography to get professional photos to use as advertising.

But getting this scheme up and running scheme was one of the year’s lows. Unfortunately it all became very difficult when the original wrap manufacturer (Snugiwraps) disappeared into the sunset with the funding for the wraps. Although the biggest high of the year was the librarians around the rest of the country and our new manufacturer (Hana) stepping in to save the project!

We introduced late fees in February, intentionally set high in order to encourage people to deal with it sooner rather than later. This has worked extremely well with overdue hires reducing by 50%! We have still had some that gone significantly overdue though and due to this and non contact from those hirers I have submitted three small claims court proceedings this year. Each one has made me indescribly sad.

On the whole though we’ve had a superb year, many babies have been carried and many parents and discovered that they can use their hands again! Here’s to an even better 2018!

– Rachael

Festive funnery


The library will close completely for Christmas on Dec 22nd, after that there will be no hire, no returns, no consultations and very limited email and social media contact until early January.

For most of the year my house looks like a fabulous sling shop, over the festive season though I try to make it look more, well, festive!

It’s also the season of giving so this year I’m giving you TWO special offers! Read them both very carefully so you know what you’re doing!

 

Hire anything (except accessories!) from the library and if your return dates falls within our Christmas holidays you’ll get an automatic free extension!

Green and Red Illustration Christmas Naughty or Nice Card

The second offer is a bit more complicated and even more special. I’m hoping to encourage people out of their comfort zone to try something new! On the myturn database some items are marked as “special offer” they must be reserved via the myturn system (create an account, select the item and dates, and then “check out”, if you don’t get an email confirming your reservation it isn’t reserved!), check the sling library dates before reserving as you have to set a session to collect from.

If you fail to collect you may still be charged the £10 and the item offered to someone else. Items cannot be returned early and cannot be swapped. If you do not return your item on time you will be charged the full usual library hire fees and may be charged late fees on top as per the standard t&cs. Please do not hire unless you agree to these terms.

New wraps!


It all got a bit exciting in the librarian household recently as these boxes arrived:

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But what was inside I hear you cry? This from Hana Baby!

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Well actually more accurately all of these:

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Yep, that’s what a whole load of wraps looks like! But they are very special wraps:

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They will be for our free stretchy hire project starting in Wigan (hopefully very soon, keep watching for details) and they are personalised with our logo! They you so much to Melissa for helping with this. Part of my funding bid was to have personalised wraps this is to promote the scheme but also to discourage theft!

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That’s (some of) the wraps all packed ready for Carolyn when we start lending them out, watch this space!

And lastly one very excited librarian trying on the new wraps!

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We had our photoshoot with Hazel Hughes Photography so we’ll have some really lovely promotional pictures to show you soon that should help us with advertising!

 

Project update


I think it’s time for another project update don’t you (for details on what the project is see here: http://bit.ly/supersecretspecial). This one is, well, the best word to describe it would be long so grab a cup of tea and please read to the end, it’s important!

So, funding came in back in March and I put the wheels in motion, I spoke to Steph at Snugiwraps and sent over the money for the wraps and a secret element that I am determined to still keep a secret for a bit longer!

It seemed to go well at first, but then my emails didn’t get replied to. I noticed an announcement on the Nova Carrier facebook page (also run by Steph) about a delay, sent another email and when there was no reply to that I got a sinking feeling. To cut a very long story short it all became incredibly stressful with a lot of back and forth and a lot of phone calls and emails to try to sort things out. The upshot of it all is though, I am told that without resorting to court action I won’t be getting the goods I paid £1100 for or a refund of my money.

But this update does have a happy side to it, after all this project is about making our little section of the world a nicer place in a small way.

I want to tell you about the customer service girl Ana, who stepped in to help Steph and try to help her get back on track, so many people got their items or refunds thanks to her working tirelessly.

And I want to tell you about Louise and Carolyn, who have listened to every panic stricken word I’ve had over the last few weeks, helping me get things in perspective and figuring out a plan to ensure the project will still run.

Because that’s the thing the project is still going to run! And thanks go to some absolutely amazing people. Hana Baby wraps for example, I contacted Melissa and explained things, she agreed to supply wraps on the same terms as I had (which meant she had to offer a hefty discount, which she then discounted even more!), keeping me updated and generally being patient with me.

Plus, the other sling librarians. I mentioned what had happened, I needed them to be aware, I’d suddenly got very ill and while I would recover perfectly fine it would take a little while. I thought it was important they knew my situation even though I wasn’t in a position to say anything publicly for a while.

The next thing I knew I was flooded with kindness, compassion and offers of wraps for the project. Then when I explained Hana was sorting out wraps for me, monetary donations started arriving. I picked them up in the short bursts that I was able to work and it was almost overwhelming to be wrapped in this cocoon of loveliness! Maebh from Sling Heaven offered to donate her “Warehouse Sale” takings to me, so she auctioned a number of items to other librarians who bid and all the money came to me. Carol Kite from Salisbury library organised a bring and buy sale, librarians donated items, other librarians bought them. I mostly cried with gratitude! Carol entitled her sale “Sling Librarians To The Rescue” and that summed it up for me really.

This has been a really unpleasant time, I’ve felt hopeless and lonely. Then along came the people above and they restored my faith in people and lifted a weight (that I didn’t realise was even there) from my shoulders. Between them the librarians replaced every single penny, and more besides (which we’re using to get another library’s free hire scheme!).

So, the project will continue, Hana are busy sorting the wraps for me and they should be here soon! I’ll update again when they are because I’ll need you for something very special! For now though, go and thank a sling librarian, they will have just done something very wonderful!

Maternal Mental Health – Naomi


Hi, I’m Naomi. I’m a peer supporter at the library, if you come to the St Helens meet you will probably have seen me there! I am many things. I am a mother, wife, vegan, not so closet hippy and I am also a sufferer of post natal depression. I have had depression for most of my life. It disappears for months or years at the time, but it always comes back. After the birth of my second child, I was on cloud 9 for the first 2 weeks. When my husband went back to work, leaving me with two very young children by myself, I really started to struggle. I had the perfect home birth I wanted, and fought very hard to get, I had a supportive husband, precooked meals in the freezer and I’d even managed to get out of my pyjamas and outside of the house, so why did I start to feel down and sad? Practicalities of life with two smalls hit me like a small ton of bricks and I started to flounder.

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Taking the biggest (and smallest) to visit the rescue ponies at Shy Lowen

I had worn my eldest child in a variety of slings since she was around 6 weeks old, a stretchy then moving to a woven. I discovered Rachael, and the library, when Livia was around one and I met Rachael for a back carrying consultation. I learnt to back carry and Rachael told me about a peer supporter training course and very kindly let me loose on parents at sling meets, sharing my love of babywearing. When I found myself outnumbered by both girls, and after the eleventy millionth nappy change (newborns eh?!) Livia wanted me to sit with her and make worms out of playdough, I pulled out the brand new Oscha woven wrap I’d bought for Genevieve and wrapped my teeny newborn to my chest, pulled up a ridiculously small chair and got busy making ‘worms’. For the first day, I felt I’d got the parenting smalls lark down! It’s my go to on those bad days. It takes so little time to wrap her up now, it’s my parenting secret weapon. Reflux? Sling. Teething? Sling. Won’t nap? Sling. Wants cuddles and the big one wants me to fetch/carry/play/make food? Slings. It’s even my go to for a poorly, grumpy, teetering-on-the-edge-of-a-meltdown 2 year old! Slings, almost literally, have given my sanity back and have enabled me to reconnect to my children when I feel so overwhelmed that I just can’t cope any more, even the process of wrapping and making sure I meet TICKS (very important!) gives me enough of a breather to calm myself down. It also gives me the chance to make food, wash my face, brush my hair and all those really small things you can’t do with just one hand!

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Parenting a poorly big girl

Slings won’t fix postnatal depression. Only a supportive village (also found at a sling meet!) and professional help will do that. They do, however, go a long way to helping you deal with the day to day stuff that life with smalls throws at you and enabling you to do the things that help take care of you and your mental health which can seem insurmountable on some days.

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Joy And Joe Gallery Opening


Saturday 22nd of April was the grand opening of Joy And Joe’s babywearing Gallery (And shop!) right in the centre of St Helens! I think you’ll agree it’s a bit exciting! So I grabbed a demo doll (Ingrid) and set off out to do a bit of wrapping geeking!

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First job when I got there was create some directions for people on the day and in future too! So first of all find the bus station and Millenium Centre, then look for Bickerstaffe Street between the Millenium Centre and Hair Design as demonstrated by my forehead

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Follow the road around to the right (if you come in through St Helens Central train station you come straight onto this road so turn left not right!) and you’ll be faced by this (except without me and Ingrid usually!)

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Look for this sign and go up the stairs, at the top the first door is Joy And Joe! If you want to visit all their wraps you just need to make an appointment with them!

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But enough directions! Wraps!

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This was one set of rails, there was shelves behind, then in the other room, another set of rails and more shelves so many wraps! Tiem to change the KoKaDi I arrived in and put Ingrid in something more appropriate!

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I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a Quad blend for ages so that’s exactly what I did. It was a beast to get through the rings! It’ll be superb when it’s broken in though, soft supportive and generally amazing! This is Electric Violet SMP (35% silk, 40% linen, 15% cotton, 10% ethically sourced lambswool)

I posted up on facebook to let people know where I was. I was requested to find Lansbury (many of the named for people who work with J&J or for local places, it’s obscenely cool!) so I did!

Lansbury 1 Lansbury

At this point I was ignoring the mayor because wraps! “Winged Dream Lansbury” is another Quad Blend (45% Mako cotton, 25% linen, 25% lambswool and 5% silk), it was a little rough!

After the thicker wraps I felt the need for a much thinner one, so I found the thinnest one there, somewhow my photo os that has vanished 🙁 (I will have to selflessly go back and take another!)  “Fountains Of Love” Elyse 50% Mako cotton, 35% Cashmere, 15% Bamboo It was like wrapping with air, so light so breathable but still right on the money to hold a baby up!

One of my St Helens volunteers rocked into view then to join me in the geekery! “What shall I wear?!” Said Naomi, since she’s currently enjoying wrapping with a 3 I grabbed a shortie and disovered it was shorter than I thought, one (alright 3, the wraps melted my brain!) slip knot(s) later and here’s Naomi!

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I’ll tell you more about this wrap at the end!

I decided to go back to the Quad Blends because I obviously hadn’t used my musces enough!

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Cartosyle Roxanne! 45% Mako cotton, 35% Merino wool, 10% linen, 10% Silk. This one doesn’t come with an official sensitive skin warning like Lansbury Bridge does but I found this one to be a bit itchy on the delicate skin of my chest. I suspect after a wash it’ll ease up and be more pliable and soft, this one was definitely a work out to use in Loom State!

I suddenly realised there was a full rail I’d not availed myself of and that was where I found Carostyle Hallam. An Exclusive made for the Northern Sling Exhibition and only one left that wrap utterly captured my little geeky heart. I mean look at the middle marker placement on my double hammock!

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Hallam is 45% Mako cotton, 35% Merino wool, 10% linen, 10% Silk The same blend as Roxanne but oddly it was softer, thinner, easier to wrap with. Pliable, grippy, supportive. Seriously, of all the wraps I tried that day this one is my favourite, in fact it’s probably up there as one of my favourite wraps of all time!

At this point Bisi (who runs Joy And Joy) decided to tell me that she’d like to donate a wrap to the library, J&J and St Helens, we’re St Helens let’s do this thing! Now, somehow I channeled sensible librarian and didn’t request Hallam and it’s (likely to be) demanding washing instructions. Instead this came home with me:

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Not the photographer (he went back to Wales!), Amanthus Vicki Feathers! Remember the wrap Naomi was wearing up there! Yep same one, but this one is a size 3 (because we don’t have one!) 50% mako cotton and 50% combed cotton. It will be superb when it’s broken in and we can teach you some speedy supportive wraps with shorties! Come and give it a go!

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And that’s it, one dodgy selfie with St Helens Town Hall as I wandered back to the car dreaming of Hallam and a wrap hub right in the centre of St Helens was open! I suspect I might be back again (hopefully still being a sensible librarian and not leaving with Hallam…)

– Rachael

Go on! Haggle!


About a million years ago (well, it feels like it, it isn’t really!) I retailed slings as well as being a librarian/consultant. These days the library takes up all my time so I leave that to others. I do have a few items left over though of stock so I thought we’d have a bit of fun with them!

You can buy any of these items for any price you want there’s only one catch, you have to get me to agree to it! The price we agree will be all in, so including paypal fees and second class postage. Send your offer (And let me know what you’re offering on) to info@kangarinos.co.uk I don’t bite and you never know what I might agree to (but I do like to haggle!)

Go!

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Storchenwiege 4.6m (size 6) Leo Cafe rrp: £65 SOLD!

 

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Storchenwige 4.6m (size 6) Leo Rose rrp: £65

 

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Kozy Carrier Dundee (brown zebra stripes) rrp: £58.50 SOLD!

 

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Wrapsody hybrid (stretch) Aphrodite (purple) rrp: £64.99 SOLD!

 

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Wrapsody Breeze (gauze) Hope 4.6m (size 6) rrp: £60.99 (each) SOLD!

 

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Wrapsody Breeze (gauze) Aurora (discontinued print) 4.6m (size 6) rrp: £60.99 SOLD!

 

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Storchenwiege 2.7m (size 2) Ulli rrp: £44 SOLD!

 

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Wrapsody 4.6m (size 6) Leo Natural rrp: £65 SOLD!

 

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Storchenwiege 5.2m (size 7) Ulli rrp: £70 SOLD!

Woven wraps


Woven wraps are often overlooked at the library but we want that to change!

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Woven wraps have so much going for them!

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They’re versatile

Infinitely adjustable

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There’s a wrap to suit every pocket, there are excellent budget brands that cost under £50, but you can also get a beautiful one of a kind handwoven for, um, everso slightly more than that…

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And oh so very very very pretty! LOOK AT IT!

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So, to encourage you to fall into the rabbit hole of woven wraps for April we’re offering half price hire on woven wraps only!  You can see what we’ve got here, please let me know you’re coming for the offer and if there’s a particular wrap you’d like (check the sizes, if you’re not sure what size you need then ask!) And keep an eye on the facebook page as we’re going to try to post some inspiration for you!

 

Secret revealed


Well, this is it the big super secret special library project revealed! After all these teases and all the waiting (which went on longer than I anticipated!) it feels weird to be telling you so, a bit of background first.

In the summer I met with some of the managers at Wigan Council, over a series of meetings we discussed a new venue (our central Wigan one) but also accessing funding.

They agreed that my idea should meet with the council’s guidelines so I set about writing an application to prove that using slings was beneficial, but it was to be judged by people who had no idea what a sling was!

The peer supporters, especially Louise, were invaluable, talking me through and checking what I did. But I know how cash strapped councils are so I didn’t rate my chances.

Then the email arrived.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Funding (Well, most of it) had been granted so…

Over the next few weeks/months we’ll be getting ready to offer a FREE four week hire of a stretchy wrap to any baby under the age of six weeks that lives in the Warrington, Wigan or St Helens area! (Be aware that to start with it will only be offered at one session in Central Wigan but anyone from our three areas can travel in to access it.)

Isn’t it exciting! My aim is to make sure that all new parents can access slings as they are so beneficial especially in those early days. Making it free means people are more likely to try it out and they’ll get safety advice directly from us.

I’ll keep you up to date with how it’s going to work, how we’re doing and what we’re doing as we get things ready so keep an eye on what we do! We’re going to need your help with some bits too!

– Rachael

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Babywearing and language


I have been sent a very funny guest post by www.thingsmydaughtersays.co.uk Be warned it contains some um, well it doesn’t contain some naughty words but it also sort of does. Essentially if you’re very very sensitive to swearing maybe skip this blog post! But my very confusing warning will make sense when you read it!

 

I always thought that babywearing seemed like a good idea, so I made sure I went to the sling library when my daughter was a few months old to see what we could work with. In the end, we fell in love with a Connecta, bought ourselves a beautiful birds of Norway design and use it all the time.

 

There are loads of reasons why I love carrying my daughter, but the main one at the moment is communication. Arwen is 20 months old and is learning a handful of new words every day. As an ex-English teacher, I’m fascinated by her language and have been keeping records of all her words as she learns them. And what I’ve realised recently is that a great way to find out what new words she’s learnt is to pop her in the Connecta and go for a walk. The beauty of carrying her is that we can talk the whole time. I found out that she knew the words “bird” and “plane” on the same walk, when one of each flew over us. Had she been in a buggy, I would never have heard her say either.

 

She loves to point out things when we’re out and about now; a recent trip to a farm showed that she knows the word “cockerel”, for example. The first time she saw one, she said its name perfectly. After that, she insisted on referring to it as “cock-cock-cockerel” and laughing away to herself. She may have inherited her parents’ incredibly grown up sense of humour.

 

I love taking her out and listening to her point things out as we’re walking, though the woman whose face she shoved her finger into as she shouted “people!” didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I did. And I had possibly the most tedious walk ever on Tuesday as it was bin day. So Arwen pointed out bins. Every one we walked past. I’ve never noticed how many bins are on our estate before, but I can tell you now, it’s about a thousand bajillion.

 

The only drawback to it that I can see is that when she gets excited, she tends to shout. And as we all know, there’s nothing in the world more exciting than traffic lights. If I ever develop tinnitus, I’ll know it’s all down to repeated shouts of “go go GGGGOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!” when the green man shows his face. (Does the green man have a face? I’ve just googled images of a green man. I’m still not sure of the answer.)
But despite the concern for my future hearing, I love the closeness of carrying Arwen and chatting to her as she discovers the world in all its glory. Especially when she shouts “cock” at the farm.