An ode to towelling – by Alex C, ex-crusader and very bad poet

Oh towelling how I love you
Let me count the ways
You are just right
For chilly nights
And languid summer days

Your easy-going nature
Makes lazy mummies smile
You flit with zest
From washed to dressed
And skip the ironing pile.

Your colours they are myriad
From reds, to blues to cream
Organic cloth
Is just so soft
And always very green!

So when I dress my darling
The muck magnet called my son
I’m always pleased
When from head to knees
He has his towelling on!

Rockpooler hoody – an ex-crusader blogs!

 One thing I really like about Team Frugi is their pessimism.

 

I don’t mean they wander about gloomily wondering why the glass is half-empty and quoting Kafka at each other.  I mean they are realistic about the British weather.

 

Well, what other company would produce a ‘summer’ top that my little boy has been happily wearing during one of the coldest Februarys on record?

 

Rockpooler Towelling HoodyThe Rockpooler Hoody has to be one of the most versatile pieces of clothing ever.  It’s warm enough to wear in winter (albeit with a vest underneath) but cool enough that your beloved won’t melt whilst wearing it in a (British) summer.  Aussies – you can stop reading right now. 

 

The colour reproduction in the catalogue is a bit confusing – I thought it looked like it was blue and cream, inspired perhaps by a New England seascape.  It’s actually blue and grey.   Which is a coincidence, because that was the colour of my face after chasing the postie down our snowy street to grab the parcel before it was whisked away leaving me haplessly clutching one of those really irritating ‘while you were out’ cards.

 

 

The top’s actually a bit of a grower – looks perfectly acceptable off, but really comes into its own when worn.  Then, the tunic styling can be appreciated fully, and little details, like the lined hood, show up.

 

Frugi clobber doesn’t tend to need ironing, and this needs it even less than most.  And it seems to have remained even softer than other things too, despite repeated washing.  I’d definitely like to see this fabric being given a starring role in future collections – towelling is for life, not just for summer!

 

Reviewed by Alex C – Frugi Customer & Retired Crusader!

The Owl top

Reviewed by Alex C, Frugi customer and crusader  

Red.  It’s a funny colour, isn’t it – babies and children look universally adorable in it, yet many adults would rather stick a lobster with DTs down their kecks than be seen in scarlet. 

Now this top is seriously RED.  A wonderful strong, clear, vibrant red, with no hints of orange, pink or blue.  The sort of red which makes you think of Christmas, or film stars’ lips.  Oliver looks fantastic in it, and I love it.

On the practical side – like all Frugi gear, it washes really well and doesn’t need ironing, especially if you give it a quick smooth before it dries.  It’s soft, thick and warm, with some nice practical buttons to make dressing/undressing easy.  I particularly like the fact that the layered effect looks genuine – the top (short-sleeved) layer really does sit over the bottom (long sleeved) layer so that it looks like two garments, not one.   

On the first wash it bled very slightly, but nothing one of those fab little colour magnets couldn’t mop up.  On the second wash I didn’t notice any colour leaching at all. 

I’m often dubious about tops with appliqué designs on, as the needlework can be poor on the reverse and irritate the skin beneath.  No such problems here – Oliver wore this quite happily with no vest.  Admittedly, he has the hide of a rhino, with nary a hint of eczema, allergy or sensitivity, but I was impressed even so.  Another reason to be wary of appliqué is that all too often it’s hand-embroidered using the nimble little fingers of children in sub-contracted sweatshops.  (Nimble until they’re crippled by arthritis that is).  No such concerns here.  Workers at Frugi’s Indian manufacturing partner seem to enjoy such good conditions that I’m thinking of asking for a transfer.  Just until next Spring, that is.  It’s 30 degrees in Mumbai today.

Any suggestions for improvement?  Not really.  I suppose having a design which went from front to back might have made the top more distinctive.  And there’s my perennial gripe about the large sticky-outy labels at the neck.  But as ever, I’m being pit-nicky.  This is a great top which I wholeheartedly recommend.  Buy it! 

Lined cord cargos

Review by Alex C, Frugi Customer and Crusader


I haven’t always been a fan of Frugi’s trousers, so it was with some trepidation that I road tested the Lined Cord Cargos from Frugi’s Autumn/Winter baby range.
 

I needn’t have worried; these are everything I hoped they would be, and I’m well and truly smitten. 

Where do I start?  

As with all Frugi clobber, the fabric is thick and soft – I can identify with that!  Crucially, though, these trousers have a bit of ‘body’ to them, unlike the floppy cotton which was used in the summer range.  The cut for cloth styling means real nappies are accommodated with ease, but they don’t look baggy and shapeless – the stylish cut is evident from all angles. 

My favourite bit has to be the adjustable toggles at the waist – what a brilliant idea, and why don’t more people do this?  At 1½ Oliver is far too BUSY to stay still while his ham-fisted mother farts around with belts.  Toggles and elastic at the waist are such a fantastically simple solution and can be adjusted in a couple of seconds.  I want more of these!  In fact, when I rule the world I will make it illegal to manufacture any clothing for toddlers which doesn’t incorporate these. 

The bottom of the trousers is ribbed, which is another big plus – it means they can be easily turned up (and they stay up) if your child (like mine) suffers from duck’s disease – a long body and short legs.  Good for welly-clad puddlebusting too, of course. 

The nice brown colour goes with virtually everything, and the appliqué guitar on the back pocket adds a distinctively Frugi touch, although to be honest I’d like the trousers just as much without it. 

Any suggestions for improvement?  Not really, although I have noticed the fabric seems to be very quick to pick up ‘bits’ in the wash, and will probably need dabbing with Sellotape after a couple of washes.  A bright funky lining might also be a plus, adding a distinctive note to the garment when the legs are rolled up.  And I found the zip fly was just not necessary, as the trousers could be easily hauled over Oli’s rump without undoing it.

All in all, a triumph for Team Frugi!

Toddler-grows! By Alex C, Frugi Customer and Crusader

At last – toddler-grows!

As all mums quickly realise, a babygrow is de rigueur for every newborn.  A soft, comfortable onesie which can be opened and closed quickly (albeit with a bit of practice if you’re a first-time mum) is the central part of what is quaintly called the baby’s ‘layette’. 

Lots of mums move their bubs swiftly out of babygrows and into pyjamas – if you’re one of them, check out Frugi’s uber-cool jim-jams.
 

However, I’m sticking with babygrows for a while yet.  Why?  Because we have stone floors in our house.  Being a typical 18-month-old Oliver is far too busy to bother with things like socks or slippers, so the integral feet of the babygrow are the only things that stand between his tootsies and the sub-zero temperatures of our rather-beautiful-but-totally-impractical-and-I-told-you-it-would-be-difficult-to-clean slate floor. 

And besides, who can resist the snuggly charms of a toddler in a babygrow?  I don’t want Ol growing up too fast – he’s got the rest of his life to wear pyjamas. These babygrows are rather special, too.  They’re made from Frugi’s fab organic super-soft cotton. They come in a lovely range of colours and sizes.  They’re beautiful and natural, with no garish Disney cartoons on.  There’s plenty of room for the voluminous cloth night nappy, but they don’t look too baggy with a ‘sposie on underneath either.  The popper fastenings are particularly clever as they do up right between the legs, so there isn’t that irritating little gap you get between with other babygrows. 

The eczema friendly version has no back label, which is great as one of my few gripes with Frugi clobber is the size of the labels and the fact they don’t lie flat (I’m told this will be rectified soon).  The care label is in the same ultra-soft fabric as the garment itself. 

I love these babygrows and will be really sad when Oliver grows out of them.  They are remarkably good value too –consider the amount of fiddly tailoring that’s needed to make them (eg the feet and the poppers) yet they’re nearly half the price of the pyjamas – another reason to stick with the onesie, in my opinion!

Suggestions for improvement?  Very few, but integral scratch mitts in the smaller sizes might be appreciated by some parents, and non-slip rubber grippity doo-daas on the feet would be useful for the older tots.

Owl and the Pussycat bodies

(Review by Alex C, Frugi Customer & Crusader)

Organic Baby Vests
I like these a lot.

 A pack of three long-sleeved bodies decorated with piccies inspired by  Edward Lear’s famous nonsense poem The Owl and the Pussycat – there’s The Owl (brown), the Small Guitar (scarlet) and the Pea Green boat (confusingly, blue).

The gorgeous thick, soft, organic cotton will keep little ones really snug and they are very versatile – wear them as vests, underneath pyjamas or simply as tops.  They are a cut a bit larger around the bum to comfortable accommodate a cloth nappy (though they are fine with a disposable too) but they are actually fairly slim fitting through the torso, which I like as it makes them look a little bit smarter.  No off-the-shoulder looks here.

They wash very well (remarkably the red one barely bleeds at all, even on first wash) and if you’re like me, it’s easy to convince yourself they need no ironing.  The more conscientious amongst us may like to give them a quick pressing, so it’s good that you don’t have to go to the faff of turning them inside out – it’s fine to iron the picture. 

Any downsides?  Well, I did feel like a bit of a ponce reciting ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ to Oliver’s childminder (yes, I do know it off by heart).  And the literary allusions may be totally lost on people who’ve never heard of the poem.  Also, I would have made the Pea Green Boat body……erm, green.  But I’m nit-picking.  These are lovely clothes and a staple wardrobe item.  Buy them! 

 

Aren’t we lucky…

Like a lot of people, I think best (when I think at all)  in the shower.  And what I was thinking during this morning’s shower was how lucky we are to have so many things which make life with a baby or young child so much easier.  Things which just weren’t available when we were kids.

I’d find life much more difficult without:

Baby sleeping bags (eg Grobags)

Quick drying fleecy pocket nappies (eg Fuzzi Bunz, Blueberries)

Everything from the Organix range (their little boxes of raisins, corn-based finger foods and so on)

Squishy sachets of organic pureed fruit and veg from Ella’s Kitchen – expensive but it’s a quick and easy way of getting goodness into Oliver

Cheestrings – as discussed on email with fellow Crusaders this morning, these are hardly organic or unprocessed but cables of processed cheese are a pretty harmless vice, I reckon. 

CBeebies – ditto.  And I can’t be the only person who finds presenter Chris rather (ahem) easy on the eye, surely?!

So what makes life easier for other parents?

Alex C – Frugi Customer & Crusader

 

 

 

Autumn/Winter catalogue

Just thought I’d drop the team a note to say congrats on the new catalogue.  I don’t just mean the collection (though that’s pretty darn good) – I mean the catalogue itself.

I think Lucy’s article about buying less, but better – of everything – was superb.  So true – and as she says, a quick look at popular culture shows that people are picking up on this.

I really liked the acknowledgement of other Cornish businesses too – the huge Fatsacs and the Ugg-like boots.  When I read this catalogue, I feel I actually know something about the people behind it – you are not a faceless corporation, you’re a family, just like us.  What about a group photo in the next catalogue – I’d like to see what Henri, Rose, Lauren and all the others look like!

Dino Tee

Dino Tee
Product Review by Alex C, Frugi Customer & Crusader

Two words – BUY THIS.  No, make that three – BUY THIS NOW (there are only a few left in the sale – snap them up). 
Dino Tee

 

This tee-shirt, is, in my humble opinion, one of the best items of clothing ever produced by Frugi.  Which means it’s one of the best items of clothing ever produced, full stop. 

Where to start?  Well the catalogue doesn’t really do it justice – the little visual joke of the dino winding its way round your child’s tummy can’t be captured on a photograph.  It’s a nice greeny colour which goes with lots of things, and the poppers on the neck (or even the “poopers” which is what I typed before I spell-checked this article) mean it can be thrown on a young wriggler very easily. 

The lovely soft cotton is comfortable and irons well, if you’re an ironing sort of person. You don’t have to be – any little wrinkles will drop out with use.  (Why can’t my face learn that trick?).  As the cotton is good quality, I think it will probably give more sun protection than cheaper, thinner fabrics, but please don’t test this theory out and barbeque your bub. 

I particularly like the fact that this tee is smart enough and unusual enough to impress (Granny, other mums, the scary health visitor) but casual enough that it doesn’t look like you’ve tried that little bit too hard.  Oliver will be wearing this tee to a birthday party on Saturday, and I guarantee I’ll be asked about it at least half a dozen times. 

Well done Frugi!

Explorer Pants

Explorer Pants – a thumbs down
Product Review by Alex C, Frugi Customer & Crusader

Groucho Marx once famously said:  “These are my principles.  But if you don’t like them, I have others.”
 

Well, the time has come for the lovely people at Frugi to show how principled they are.  Will they allow this Crusader a free voice on this blog, even if it means losing a few sales? 

Because the awful truth is, I don’t like these trousers. 

Don’t get me wrong.  They are beautifully made, of super-soft organic cotton and I know that my bub, Oliver, is extremely comfortable in them.  They wash, dry and iron well (although see note on buttons below) and in fact they are my partner’s favourite item of clothing (for our son, that is – I don’t think Dave could squeeze in to them himself). 

So where’s the bad? 

Well, comfortable is one thing.  Baggy and shapeless is quite another, and I think these veer towards that.  Even Oli’s most voluminous nappies can’t fill the cut for cloth styling of these trousers, so they just hang.  When they’re buttoned to ¾ length, the softness of the fabric means that the inside leg (ie the opposite side to the button) tends to unroll and hang down, giving a curiously lop-sided look – this is noticeable even on the catalogue photo of the product. 

Then there’s the buttons.  They’re made of wood, which looks fantastic – much nicer than plastic.  But they are an absolute bugger to fasten and unfasten.  I’ll admit to being a bit cack-handed, but I find these buttons a real struggle.  So much so that I have to decide BEFORE dressing Oliver whether I want the trews to be full-length or ¾ length and turn them up if necessary before I put them on him, because he won’t stay still whilst I faff with the length when he’s wearing them.  Even unbuttoning them to put them in the wash takes me five minutes! 

And talking about the wash, the buttons fall down a bit there, too.  I found the stain used on the wood leached onto the fabric during washing, and a small area around each button is now faintly yellow (a bit like a curry stain, actually, which is what I thought it was at first – Oliver being partial to the remains of our Friday night takeway). 

If you’re reading this, it obviously means the Frugi crew ARE principled and vigorously espouse freedom of speech!  So don’t turn your back on them – this is the first product of theirs I can’t recommend.  Try the Explorer zip-offs instead, or the gorgeous cords from the new range.