Mini-Post: Darker Cloth Pads

Hello my lovelies!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Let us all rejoice in this most bizarre and eclectic of holidays, the one day of the year when you embrace the notion of someone telling you that you look horrible. What are your plans for tonight? Ours include a Stranger Things marathon, going out for some food and a spooky pint or two, and maybe a horror film or two.

This post is simply a few items from my wanted list of cloth pads. They are of a darker variety because a) it’s Halloween and I’ve let the darkness consume my soul with more gusto recently and b) with darker patterns, stains are less easy to notice, therefore you don’t have to bother with stain treatments and can just wash them as normal (perhaps with a teeny cold rinse beforehand). If you’re a tad squeamish about blood – not sure what you’re doing on this blog if so – but it’s obviously slightly less visible with darker patterns. You also cannot go wrong with just plain black. Enjoy!

Imse Vimse Set of 3 Black Regular Pads – £14.95

EarthWise Girls Vivi Pad Lite Halloween Specials – £8.50

Honour Your Flow Blue Maxi Pad – £8.25

LorraineMakes Nightmare Cloth Pad – £6.70

MuffDusters Dr Who Pad – £8.00

FannyPaddams Daisy pad £6.00

Silly Panda Skulls Pad – £6.00

Silly Panda Hogwarts Pad – £6.00

 

Until the next time!

Rosie

 

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TMI of the Month (Bonus Edition!) – Menstrual Cup Q&A

Hello my lovelies.

Your Period Warrior returns with another Q&A to tickle your time-of-the-month buds, this time focusing on Menstrual Cups. What would you like to know? Here are a few questions I thought might pop up on your journey cupwards. Let us begin!

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Q: What the hell is a menstrual cup?

So this has been the #1 question I have been asked in my ventures into the Land of Sustainable Periods, with slight variances on phraseology. It is basically a little cup made of flexible medical-grade silicone, which is inserted into the vagina on your period. In order to make insertion comfortable, you fold it up to form a smaller point of entry. There are many, many folds available to try. Once inserted, the cup forms a seal with the vagina walls, and the blood/uterine lining is collected in the cup. After 4-12 hours, you reach into the vagina, pinch the base of the cup to break the seal, and slowly walk the cup out. Then you dispose of the blood down the toilet, rinse the cup with water, and possibly a low pH soap or a menstrual cup wash/wipes, dry it, and reinsert. Repeat this process, until the end of your period. Think you could give it a go?

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Q: When were they invented?

*Google search* So apparently a version was patented in 1932, and it’s been through many reincarnations ever since, but popularised most recently in our eco-backlash against the rise of the disposables in the mid 20th century. I also read that apparently back in Medieval(ish) times some women used to just wear darker dresses to hide the bloodstains and general massacres that were taking place beneath. Brave!

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Q: Are they easy to use?

After an initial learning curve, the basis of a few continual cycles of use, I now find it very easy. Bear in mind though, that they are not as simple as inserting a tampon. There is a bit of wriggling and a familiarity with your vagina that comes with using the cup.

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Please don’t worry though! Being comfortable with what’s between your legs may be a taboo concept (even in 2017, bloody hell) but it is a very positive thing! Believe in yourself, you are doing something that is kind of amazing for your body! No more nasty fibres from tampons being left behind to cause all sorts of irritations, no more chemicals, just a simple, clean cup. It may take a little time to get used to, but it is worth it, I promise. My top tips for making the transition to menstrual cups a bit easier, are:

  • USE LUBE. After you have folded up the cup, apply a teeny bit to the rim, and the side opposite to your finger, to help it slide in a bit more comfortably. Now, if you are out & about in public, I don’t expect you to carry around a handy dandy pot of lube, though you can do, but making the cup wet in some respect, even if it’s just a dribble of water from a bottle, can really help with getting it in smoothly. With this, you can even practice insertion BEFORE your period – which is fantastic! I gave this a go as I wanted to be a pro at getting it in and out and shaking it all about, before it got a bit messy with the menstrualities.
  • RELAX. I have had the experience of reaching in and not being able to immediately locate the cup. Now the body’s natural reaction to this is to panic…but in reality, just imagine your vagina – it is not a bottomless pit, it is a small area and nothing can get lost inside you via this location – it may just have moved up ever so slightly. What you need to do is ‘bear down’ with your muscles, and you will feel the cup inch downwards. There are grip rings on the base of most cups, so even if you have trimmed the stem to a pretty short length, or gotten rid of it entirely, you have a little assistance with getting a hold of it. Once you pinch it and break the seal, it is very easy to pull it out.
  • CLEAN THE SUCTION HOLES PROPERLY. There are tiny little holes at the top of each cup that help with creating the suction. They can become blocked over time, which may lead to a tiny bit of leakage. What I would suggest is to give the cup a good old squeeze and rub under a cold tap, maybe turn it slightly inside-out (it’s very flexible), to ensure that the water pushes through the holes and clears them.
  • TRY IT IN THE SHOWER! Much less mess, and you can fumble and spill to your heart’s content. Should I go into spill stories in a separate post? Maybe…

Q: Do they hurt? What if it gets stuck?

No. The only time I felt as though it hurt slightly, was when I had a few consecutive goes at inserting/removing it, when I couldn’t get it to pop open. Now I have gotten a lot better at the whole popping open shebang, and my main tip is to use the walls of your vagina to (again) ‘bear down’ on the cup as you circle your finger around the base. This will help it to sort of ‘fill’ the room around it, if that makes sense? Rotating it slightly helps too. You will know it’s good to go when you feel around the base and you can’t feel any parts that are ‘dipped in’. The seal has then been formed. With regards to it getting stuck – don’t worry – try squatting, as this positions it into a helpful place to reach in your vagina. If you are really getting frustrated with it, leave it for half an hour, and then come back. The more tense you are, the more your vagina will tighten around it. Thus, the more likely it is that when you do finally reach it you will wrench it out and potentially spill blood all over your bathroom floor. Which I may have done. Oh, this blog.

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Q: Why should I get one?

Because your body will not have wads of bacteria-ridden cotton shoved up against your cervix on a continuous basis throughout your period. Because the environment will benefit hugely from not having the 10,000 tampons you use in your lifetime strewed upon its beaches and landfill. Because essentially you only need one little cup, to get you through your entire period – you can wear it on light days, heavy days, overnight…even if you think you’re on your period, but your body’s just trolling you and you’re actually not! Because it encourages familiarity with your body. Because you can do it!

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Q: Which brand is best for me?

There are many, many brands out there. The only one I have definitively tried, is the UK Mooncup. I use Size B, which is for menstruaters under 30 who have not given birth vaginally. (There is also a Size A). The Mooncup is pretty sturdy, and has a very long stem which can be trimmed to your liking – remember that the cup sits very low in your vagina, much lower than a tampon. I would personally recommend it, though having compared reviews online I would say that there are slightly softer cups out there that might be easier for those who are not already used to non-applicator tampons. These include the Ruby Cup, the Meluna, and the Femme Cup. There are cups in all shapes and sizes, colours, grip rings and stems, you name it. But they all do the same job. They collect the blood and  the blood gets flushed away. Own it. KABOOM.

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Q: How do I use it in a public toilet?
The big question! I feel like a little bit of a fraud because as of yet, I have only had to change my cup in a public toilet once, and that was one which had a sink inside, so it was a bit easier for me. I still used the ‘outdoors’ method though, which was to bring a bottle of water with me to give it a little rinse out after I’d emptied it, and then put it back in as normal. This is totally safe, and will not cause harm to you. The silicone does not harbour bacteria, and is perfectly fine to reinsert with just a rinse of water. Otherwise, you could simply use loo roll, or there are specifically designed menstrual cup wipes out there which you could have just in case. I wish I were ballsy enough to waltz straight out of my cubicle, march up to the sink singing “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” and give it a good old bloody scrub with people next to me gaping, but I haven’t quite reached that level. It would invite rather a lot of questions, and a possible witchcraft trial.

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Q: How do I clean it after my period?

You can either use sterilising tablets and water, such as Milton’s, or you can kick it old-school like myself, and simply boil the cup for 6-7 minutes in a designated pan. I sometimes pop in a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to help get rid of any staining, then give it an extra rinse afterwards. Then you simply leave it to dry, preferably on a sunny windowledge if you can (again this helps with staining), and once it is dry as a bone, you pop it back inside the little cotton drawstring bag it comes with. Don’t keep it in anything sealed, just a nice little breathable bag will do. Then it’s ready for the next round, huzzah!

Q: Are they expensive?

Mine was £21.99 from Boots as I recall (big up to the Boots advantage card points I gained there) – and they all sit around the sort of £20 mark I think. Yes that sounds expensive, but if you think about it, you only need to buy one, and that will help you through your periods for the next 10 years. It’s a long-term bargain.

Q: Are there any circumstances in which you would revert back to tampons?

I’m trying to think. Okay, if I were a refugee, or someone who did not have access to clean, potable water and handwash, then yes, I would probably use other methods of protection.

Q: Can you use it if you have long nails?

I don’t have long nails, so I can’t definitively give any advice except…be careful, I guess? Have you reached inside your vagina with said nails before? Hopefully! Just remember to be extra-super regimed with cleaning your hands and nails very thoroughly before and after usage. Use the NHS-recommended cleaning procedure if you wish, as things can get a bit messy sometimes.

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Q: Can you do any of the following with your cup inside you: Go for a wee, poop, exercise, go on an airplane, have sex, be upside-down (e.g. on a rollercoaster)?

Yes to all except the having sex thing…well I suppose it depends on the kind of sex you’re having, but if it’s a classic Tesco-value putting something in the vagina kind of sex, then no, because your cup will be rather in the way. Simple solution: Talk to your partner about it, if they’re cool then take out the cup, put a towel down and go for it!

And on that note, I will close this post. I always like to leave you with delightful images to go about your day with. (Incidentally this post is dedicated to Mason, my most loyal and horrified reader.)

Here is a link to the Mooncup website’s much more sensible answers to menstrual cup FAQs. They also have a handy helpline in case you’re struggling!

Mooncup FAQs

Until next time,

Rosie

x

 

 

 

 

TMI of the Month (Bonus Edition!) – Cloth Pad Q&A

Hello my lovelies.

Your resident Period Warrior is back with a bit more of an explanatory post on the ins-and-outs-and-upside-downs of reusable cloth pads. I’ve set this up as a phantom Q&A, these are just a set of questions that I personally asked myself when I was on the fence about converting to RUMPs. Hopefully this will give you a bit more of an idea of what you’re letting yourself in for, and answers to any scenarios or mentalities that might be putting you off making the change, or even trying them out. I will follow this up with a similar Q&A on menstrual cups, as I use a combination of the two per cycle. Here we go!

Q: What are cloth pads made of?

A: All sorts of materials, and they are usually composed of a top layer, an absorbent core, and a backing. The ones I own are mostly cotton-topped or bamboo-fleece topped, with a hemp or cotton flannel inner core, and a micro-fleece backing. Of course there is a vast pad-verse of combinations to choose from, but I generally opt for a cotton-top as the main factor of choice as I find them the most breathable, the thinnest materials, and most like my underwear, so practically unnoticeable when I’m wearing them. They come in all sorts of lengths and sizes, and I would recommend trying a mixture to see what suits best. The cotton ones also feature most of the adorable prints & designs you’ll see. I’ve seen a lot of BEAUTIES, including many-a-Disney print, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, vampires, llamas, doughnuts…whatever you can think of, it’s probably out there.

Q: How are they different to reusable pads?

A: Obviously the main difference is that you look after them, clean them, and wear them again. You wear them pretty much like a disposable, only there is no adhesive to stick them to your underwear; instead, you fold them around your underwear as normal, and popper them around the back to keep them in place. The fleece backing stops them from sliding around, so they do stay put. One huge reason that I decided to convert was COMFORT – for me, disposable pads felt horrendous, so itchy and warm and plasticky. I found it pretty unbearable and swore an allegiance (now happily defunct) to tampons. The reusables in comparison, are incredible. They feel so soft. It’s such a treat for the most sensitive part of your body.

Q: How do you clean them?

A: I have tried a few different cleaning methods, but the one that I have taken a liken to recently is this: You take your pad off, fold it in half, or popper it up into a little discreet square if you like, and put it in a wet bag. You don’t soak it, or put anything on it, you just leave it in the wet bag until the end of your period. Then the night before I go to clean everything, I fill an ice bucket with cold water, add half a scoop of Vanish Oxy-Clean, and put all the pads face-down in the water. Leave to soak for a few hours, or overnight. When you’re ready to clean them properly, I put them in the washing machine – with my other clothes – add my usual detergent, and then in the drawer I add another half a scoop of the Vanish. This gets rid of any staining – even the white ones are kept pristine this way. The one thing I must stress is DO NOT USE FABRIC CONDITIONER – it affects the absorbency of the pads. Then you just pop them in the tumble dryer on a low heat, or if you’re lucky and have access to a sunny back garden, hang them on the washing line. If you want to avoid soaking the pads beforehand, that’s easy – just put the dry used pads in the washing machine (emptied out of your wet bag) and put them on a cold rinse before you go into the full cycle, preferably a long one, and just use a full scoop of Vanish. That’s worked for me before, so it can certainly work for you.

To break this down into a very basic formula:

KEEP DRY IN A WET BAG + SOAK IN COLD WATER + STAIN TREAT + WASH AS NORMAL.

Q: Isn’t it weird to leave them lying around the house?

A: I am in a very lucky situation in which I live with my partner, who is incredibly open-minded and understanding about the whole procedure. I talk very openly about menstrual cups with him, and I leave my wet bag hanging on the bathroom door, or my Mooncup to dry on the windowsill, or next to the sink. I even asked him if he wouldn’t mind popping my pads in the dryer the other day, as I’d not left myself enough time to, and he was perfectly fine with this. They were clean, after all! I encourage this level of openness but I also understand that a lot of people will want to be discreet about their period. What I would say is this: Take responsibility for washing and drying them yourself, and keep your clean laundry in a drawer, as you would with your disposables. It is very possible to keep these products private, you just have to figure a way that works best for you. And if anybody finds a wet bag on the back of a bathroom door and starts digging around in it, then woe betide them if they operate on this level of snoopery in other areas of life.

Q: Do they smell?

A: No, they do not smell. I feel like this is a perfectly valid question because as I recall, disposable pads would tend to develop an odour after a little while. The reason for this is the chemicals that are used in the core for absorbency: they react with the blood and cause them to smell. Blood itself, does not smell. If anything, I think if mine smells of a slight something, it’s almost mildly sweet? Is that just me? If you left the pads for weeks on end in a zipped-up wet bag then yes, they would become mildewed and a bit gross as they’ve been starved of oxygen, but this is why it’s so important to look after them. I have tested the concept of them having an odour when they are looked after properly, and I can conclusively say that the wet bag with all its glorious folded-up contents, smells of nothing at all. If you are immensely paranoid about this, you could always pop a few drops of essential oil in the bag, or store it next to some Lush products?

Q: Aren’t they unhygienic?

A: Again, no. I feel as though a lifetime of disposables have trained us all to think of period blood as a disgusting, infectious substance. It is not. It is perfectly fine to touch it, to let a pad absorb it or a cup collect it, and then clean those items for another use. The process of menstruating may feel a bit gross, but it is essentially your body doing a spring clean of your womb – nothing scary, nothing that’s bad for you, nothing that’s going to cause an infection if you make contact with it. As long as you clean your reusables thoroughly, I don’t see what the difference is between cloth pads and underwear, or even sex toys. They’re all making contact with your genitals, they’re all being cleaned and used again. Think about somebody’s else’s genitals, hands, mouth? Do you viciously sanitise those before they take the plunge and then throw those away after use? [Insert various lifestyle choices here.]

Q: What about if I’m not at home?

I use a little blue pouch from EcoFemme to carry a couple of spare pads, and another to keep used pads in. Thereon I store the bags in the little zippered compartment in my bag, where I used to keep my tampons and such. Again, just keep something lightly perfumed in there if you’re still in the mindset that they have an odour – again, they don’t!

Q: Do they leak?

A: Based on their main usage (for me) as cup back-up, in case my menstrual cup overfills or leaks for some reason, I have never had a problem with leaking. On the odd occasion that I decide I don’t want to use my Mooncup and just rely on pads, I tend to turn to the ones with a little extra protection, just in case. Some of my regular and heavy ones have a layer of PUL (Polyurethane Laminate), which is waterproof, and very reassuring if you’re a tad wary of how heavy your flow is going to be. And no, they don’t feel like a raincoat.

Q: How many do I need?

A: This is a difficult one to answer, but I will say based on my own experience – that I can manage each period comfortably based on a combination of 10 pads and a menstrual cup. That’s a ‘stash’ that I have built up over time, as I was transitioning slowly and using a mixture of reusables and disposables until I felt I had enough to fly solo. Four of the pads are small thin pantyliners, about 6-7 inches in length; three of them are regular-flow pads which are slightly longer, and three of them are heavy-flow/overnight pads. If you are starting off on a few pads to see if you get along with them, I would recommend buying a pantyliner, a regular pad, a heavy pad, and an overnight pad. Mix them up with your usual period routine and see how they feel for you.

Q: Are they expensive?

A: Compared to disposable pads, yes. I think of them as an investment, as they are feasibly going to last for 5-10 years, and in that period I will not have to even consider buying tampons or pads, or those little plastic purple discretion bags I used to put them in post-usage. Try Precious Stars for a range of budget pads, and Etsy has a gigantic range of UK sellers providing cloth pads. (Extra points for supporting a local business!)

Q: Where can I find more information?

A: YouTube! This has been my main source of information. My top four channels are:

Precious Stars Pads

Rehana Jomeen

The First Door on the Left

Pad Thai

(They are all amazing ladies, but I have to say that Bryony of Precious Stars has been incredibly informative and candid about cloth pads, and started her own business when she was 15!)

All in all, menstruating people, I really hope that this has helped you to consider a trial of cloth pads. Whether like me, you use them in conjunction with internal protection like a menstrual cup or a tampon, or you just want to mix them up with your disposables to see how you get on with them, I wish you the best of luck. Give yourself a huge eco-friendly pat on the back for looking after the environment and your body with such aplomb!

 

Until next time,

Rosie

x

(Image from Lady Days Cloth Pads)

TMI of the Month (Halloween Special) – PERIODS & BLOOD & GORE

Hello my little deathlings.

Welcome to the gynaecological equivalent of a Simpsons Halloween Special. Ye be warned, this particular post is read at your own peril. Seriously, there will be many an English pound put in the Vagina Jar here. (May numerous tributes be made to the imminent extinction of said English pound, whenever Spandau Ballet’s Gold is drunkenly bellowed at a karaoke. You’re indestructible.) Back to the horror story though…

THIS IS ABOUT PERIODS.

Though in all Hallows honesty, for a modern culture prone to fetishizing blood in cinema, games, Autumnal décor and I daresay lipsticks, you would think that a completely natural and healthy procedure of monthly bloodloss would be a perfectly acceptable topic of discussion. To be thrown around a dinner table as casually as a debate over the merits of Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd. (Particularly if the main course is pie, haha cannibalism.)

So what in blazes am I talking about? Basically, consider this TMI of the Month a declaration of independence: I, Rosie, have given up tampons. BYE BITCHES. As a follow up to my previous post (a review of the UK ‘Mooncup’) it is with the lightest of hearts and the heaviest of flows that I relinquish my need to subscribe to a product that is, in my opinion, a very woman-unfriendly product. That might be an ugly phrase but I honestly don’t know how else to put it…tampons are just, not nice. The fact that they absorb everything in their path, not just blood but your own natural fluids. The vagina has an incredible self-maintaining eco system that does not in any way benefit from shoving inside something highly absorbent and laden with bleach and chemicals. Said chemicals which don’t have to be explicitly stated by the likes of Procter & Gamble, as we’re dealing with a ‘medical’ product here, so don’t worry guys. Except about the TSS thing. Let’s get real menstruating people, Toxic Shock Syndrome continues to be this spectre of horror that governs the frequency of our tampon changes. Incidentally, removing a BASICALLY DRY tampon happens to be one of the most appalling moments in an average female day…it’s like you’re dragging a stiff pillowcase out of there, just no. ‘Luxury’ items should feel like silk. To me, this feels like abuse. Which I have tolerated for the majority of my menstruating life. So why not wear a pad? For me, remarkably, disposable pads feel worse, just immensely uncomfortable. It’s the idea as well that everything is so virginally white and labelled as sanitary as if it has been completely cleansed of bacteria (it hasn’t), or merely propagated in a supermarket aisle as feminine wear as if it were a collection of dusky pashminas nestled in a dwindling orchard. The constant euphemisms, the avoidance of discussing what is actually happening to our bodies, the extract-of-Smurf liquid that is delicately poured onto towels in Bodyform adverts…it does not sit right with me. It does not a jot. So I made the transition…to MENSTRUAL CUPS!

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The Mooncup was a very logical solution to this discomfort, and I am so incredibly happy that I persevered with it, and have now settled into a routine that is infinitely better for my body and my current level of cynicism. I can say with confidence that I will not go back to tampons, unless perhaps under very rare circumstances I am in a situation where cleanliness is compromised. Even then, there are ways around it. What I hope to achieve from this declaration of independence, is discussion. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT PERIODS. They need to be talked about, not hushhushed into submission so that the stigma of shame and uncleanliness continues to be circulated worldwide. Periods are here to stay, and they may not be particularly enjoyable, lawd knows the pain can be unbearable at times, but they are a completely normal, safe, clean procedure. If you can handle Episode 9 of the third season of Game of Thrones, you can cope with this discussion. So here you go, if this in any way interests you – and I think if you’ve read this far you must be at least morbidly curious – this is my updated period routine, in all its bloody glory.

*Vincent Price laughter fades into the ominous slam of a creaking door*

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Here we have it, the contents of my Period Drawer. Utterly terrifying, isn’t it? How can you look at those penguins with their scarves and not feel like you’re looking into the face of the bubonic plague of 1356? In all honesty, this feels like I am merely sharing a photo of quite adorable underwear, which in reality, is what it is. This is my reusable stash, everything I need for the next 5-10 years of periods. (I should state at this moment that because I am on the combined pill, currently I do not have periods in the technical sense, but rather ‘withdrawal bleeds’. But because of the consistent change of hormones in my break week, the physical effects are nigh-on identical. So for the purposes of this post, I will refer to them as periods.)

I imagine that if you are not experienced with reusable menstrual products, you probably have some questions. You may think this idea strange and unusual.

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Realistically I feel it would be impossible for me to condense everything about this transition to RUMPs (reusable menstrual products) into one neat post – therefore I invite you all to ask me anything, anything at all, I promise I will answer honestly. I want to promote this concept as much as possible, mainly because I simply was not aware of this idea at all, until a couple of years ago. That it is possible to have a sustainable period. That it’s possible to save yourself from drastically buying tampons each month, and constantly worrying that there might not be a bin in a bathroom when you have to chain-shove onto the next one. That I can look after my body and be in control of what comes into contact with my vagina. I still have the option to protect myself internally (menstrual cups) and externally (cloth menstrual pads)…the only difference is that I clean these products, and then use them again the next month. They are not being hastily shipped off to landfill in frilly perfumed plastic bags to rot for the next hundred years. They are mine to look after, and I can take them anywhere I go. Still sounds scary?

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Well folks, meet my Mooncup.

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Yes this has been in my vagina. But then again, so have a lot of things, so let’s not discriminate on that basis. (Joke.) As an object, yes it looks a little odd, but it has completely changed the experience of my periods. Everything feels so much cleaner, more natural, more manageable. It’s made of medical-grade silicone, therefore resistant to the growth of bacteria. You don’t have to change it anywhere near as often as a tampon – you can even wear it for up to 12 hours! You just insert it (I would recommend using lube but it’s by no means essential), go about your day as normal, then take it out, rinse it out, use a scent-free natural soap or a specifically designed menstrual cup wash to give it a more thorough cleanse if you so wish, then you pop it back in and you’re good to go. At the end of your period, boil it in a designated pan for 6 minutes, leave it to dry, preferably on a sunny windowsill if possible to reduce staining, and that’s it. There is, as previously stated, a learning curve with this procedure. But on reflection, there was definitely a learning curve with using tampons and pads…this is just a more worthwhile cause, in my humble opinion. If anything, you become so much more familiar with your body. Until I used a Mooncup, I had no idea how high my cervix was, I had never checked. I mean it’s not a measurement I necessarily want tattooed on my wrist, but it’s nonetheless interesting to learn new things about a body you’ve lived with your entire existence. Definitely give this a go.

Everything else you see, is merely to accessorise for extra comfort. For several periods I managed perfectly well with just my Mooncup, literally just that. Lubeless and linerless in most instances, it was an almost Instagrammably minimalist period experience. The initial investment was around £21.99 – you can buy Mooncups in Boots, but there is a veritable rainbow of product variations out there, I will link some below and hopefully you can find one that suits you. With minimal comparison but much research I would say that the Mooncup has a rather prominent rim, and is maybe not the easiest option for someone who does not want to get down & dirty with the inner workings of their vagina. I still managed it though, and now I absolutely love it.

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(Well not that much.) There are softer cups out there, along with different lengths, shapes, stems, colours etc. The extras that I own are merely for ‘back-up’, as I used to wear a tampon with a pantyliner in days of yore in case of leakage – damn that grim length of string that collected blood on an otherwise dry tampon – nowadays I will opt for a menstrual cup, with a light cloth liner just in case. During the night I will either wear my Mooncup alone, or just wear a night cloth pad, as they all come in different lengths and core absorbencies. (Did I mention they just clip around your underwear with little poppers? The fleece backing stops them from sliding around. And when you want to store them for cleaning, you can fold them up into tiny discreet squares. Piece of cake. Red Velvet Cake?) I cannot express at this point, just how comfortable these things are. Just the softest material, and they feel no different to my underwear. Period underwear is also an option, I would be very intrigued to try sometime in the future – I do have something along these lines, which is the green checked shorts you see above – they have a thin absorbent backing which stops any potential leakages in their tracks, and they honestly just feel like pyjama shorts. The level of period comfort may have peaked here. As well as the sheer damned satisfaction of feeling in utter control of the bloodflow.

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Other additions to my collection, which have built up comfortably over the past few months, include delicate little ‘cup spots’, which are simply little rounds of cloth to keep your menstrual cup on by the sink post-cleaning, perhaps while leaving it overnight. The blue pouch is from EcoFemme, a wonderful company that specialises in organic materials and a ‘Pad for Pad’ ethic, involving supplying a pad for a person in need whenever one is purchased. The pouch is simply for transporting clean pads around if I think I will need to change one in public, which is extremely rare. I also keep a couple of wet bags for storage of used pads until I go to clean them (I will go into cleaning procedures in a separate post, though that’s not to suggest they are in any way difficult or unmanageable!) The lube was an additional purchase, but I mean it’s never a bad thing to have lying around the house is it? Lube it up, baby. I would recommend to be sparing with it, however, as it can be a slippery procedure and a tad messy sometimes.

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In essence, all of my cutesy accessories can be boiled down into one very eco-friendly product, which is the menstrual cup. The beautiful simplicity of merely collecting your blood in a tiny cup and flushing it away, could not be more appealing to me. In no way do I find it disgusting, or unsanitary. On the contrary, this awakening has opened my eyes to the grimness of disposable products. I remember reading a statistic that between 10,000-15,000 tampons/pads are used in the average woman’s menstruating lifetime. Where are they now? In our oceans, on our beaches, in our landfill. This can’t go on. You must be thinking that I have been possessed by some hippy spirit. All I can say is that, sometimes we should listen to the hippies, because they care about the Earth, and their bodies. I don’t believe I can start a revolution, but I really hope that if you have read this then you will at least consider trying it out. Please ask me any questions you may have. The grimmer, the better! Doesn’t everyone love a bit of gore, deep down? The art of the menstrual cup may be one that takes a few cycles to adapt to, but once it’s mastered it is definitely worth it. Don’t be perturbed when you have the inevitable scare of not being able to reach the stem upon removal and considering all manner of tools to attempt to retrieve it manually.

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I expect a reasonable amount of backlash to my declarations here, but I welcome them. I also welcome the idea of battling taboos, and rethinking our own social stigmas in an effort to reach for the greater good. To those who may think that reusable products are disgusting or unsanitary, I will simply say this. Look at your underwear. Surely I cannot be the only person who has had to hastily shove them back on post-sex? So what do I do with said underwear, covered in all manner of joyful substances? I wash them, and I wear them again. If you get a little blood on your underwear in an underestimated-flow scenario, and heaven forbid a stain, what do you do? You wash them, and wear them again. Sex toys, you cannot tell me you only use them once and then dispose of them? Obviously there are exceptions to this theme (before anyone mentions condoms) but the fact is, there are all of these wonderful products out there that are designed to be reused, over and over, for up to 10 years. They do involve an initial investment, but think about how much your body and the environment will benefit from it. Can you not even deem it possible to give this idea ago?

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Now this blog has become much longer than I ever intended, and I haven’t even scratched the surface…but I will close here, and I hope it has at least made you think about your options. If discretion is your utmost priority, there are ways of going about it that still involve reusable products. Don’t doubt yourself, you can do it! As a final farewell to my disposables, I will leave my trusty box of tampons in the bathroom at work – as I said before, I still don’t think they are a very friendly product, but nevertheless I don’t wish to just throw them away, and hopefully someone in need will be able to use them. Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend.

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If you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you for your interest. I will leave a few links below to more information on the subject, and sites to buy products from if you want to give them a go. And if you do decide to give them a go, tell people about it!! Think of it as one of the amazing hurdles you will conquer in 2017. (Incidentally if you are my boyfriend and have read this in its entirety, I salute you.)

How to use the Mooncup

Precious Stars Reusable Menstrual Products

No More Taboo

Eco Dreams

Honour Your Flow

Telegraph Article: Fluffy Vagina Blankets

 

Until the next divulgence of intimate details!

Rosie

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How Cruel is My Wardrobe? (OOTD #5)

Hello my lovelies!

Another quickie. Yesterday I went to a BBQ at my friend’s house, and my clothing of choice was a big-old purple maxi dress in a marvellous tie-dye print – perfect for splooging blobs of mustard-based hot dog sauce on. And splooge I did.

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Dress: This was an old ebay find, for around £12 I think. I just love the fact that it’s the softest, billowiest jersey material, features lace-up back details, AND it pretty much matches my duvet covers. I don’t know why I’ve never worn it before as it has a marvellous LA-in-the-70s vibe about it. What I’ve taken from this in terms of streamlining for a cruelty-free approach to my wardrobe, is something I mentioned before about FEELING UP YOUR CLOTHES. Touching them gives me such a better idea of whether I will wear them again, or whether to pass them on to somebody else. Take it, feel it, pass it on. (I think that may be a History Boys’ quote, but out of context.)

As such! Today I have amassed another charity bag/rag bag/ebay pile to pass on to others, of clothes that I blatantly do not wear anymore. If there is anything about them I do not like, such as the fit, material, or length, it’s out the door. That doesn’t mean it is to be replaced by something else, but rather, it brings the comfortable and better-fitting clothes to the forefront of your wardrobe, to be looked after, and worn to your heart’s content.

Peace & love & whimsical tie-dyed hippy dreams,

Rosie

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A Thoughtful Outfit

Hello my lovelies!

In the spirit of a sunless level of baking heat in the UK, I was searching through my wardrobe the other day and looking for fabrics that are more forgiving in terms of breathability. Loose-fitting being a priority. Other than a very baggy t-shirt I wear for bed, I found I was struggling. I saw this as an opportunity to purge several items of summer clothing that basically did not make me feel good, or fit me particularly well – straight into a charity bag – and I bought a couple of items from Thought (formerly Braintree), to hopefully help me through this trapped-under-cloud level of heat. Here in the North it is sometimes referred to as “claggy” weather.

Thought advertise themselves as “Contemporary Sustainable Style”, and there is a huge focus on minimising their impact on the environment, whilst making long-lasting, key pieces and basics for your wardrobe. Here we have a Maxi Skirt in “Steel”, and a striped singlet vest top in “Cloud” – I actually thought Cloud pertained to white, so I did end up buying the wrong colour…but in the end I rather liked this one, and decided to keep it. They were both in the sale, which is perhaps an odd and seemingly backwards concept for an environmentally ethical clothing company, but it does provide them with a vital boost in their sales which will benefit their supply chain as a whole. The skirt, made largely of “breathable bamboo”, is rather floaty and has a slit at the side, with a very forgiving waistband.

The top, made of “helpful hemp”, is a tad larger than my usual size, but that definitely works for my criteria of assistance in the heat. This makes sense, as the company itself originates with a desire for comfortable clothing on Australian beaches. I feel very comfortable in these, and have already mentally paired-up a number of outfits I can derive from my current wardrobe to wear with them. I really love the focus on longevity, which is a perfect counterweight to the contemporary trend for fast fashion. Each item’s tag bears the slogan: “WEAR ME, LOVE ME, MEND ME, PASS ME ON.” There are even tips on their website for looking after your clothes, which I think is a neglected art at the moment…I am entirely clueless in this arena!

One slight criticism however, is the additional contents of the order. The outer packaging is made of recycled materials and you are encouraged to care for it again, however inside was my order return form, tissue paper, a promotion for organic wine, and this rather unnecessary leaflet – inside was almost blank, barring a thanks for ordering – surely this could have just been printed on the outside packaging? Anyway, small gripes, small gripes!

I encourage everyone to have a wee rummage in the sales of more ethical sources such as Thought, People Tree, Nancy Dee, and the Ethical Supermarket, if you are in need of key pieces to boost your wardrobe. The basics are really the items that you want to last a while, and these sources encourage the use of sustainable materials, good quality manufacturing and perhaps the want to look after your clothes more, having spent a bit extra on them.

Until the next blog!

Rosie

x

Plan With Me! Bullet Journal (July 2017)

Hello my lovelies!

Late as usual, here is my hastily-scribbled July spread. I wish I could offer a more delicious aesthetic – plumply-bosomed apples tumbling from prosperous trees in a hazy peach sunset – but the English reality is that July is thus far rainy, stormy, and I am a busy bee, with little time to pollinate her…penmanship?

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The same goals keep cropping up, month-by-month, which is not really in line with the concept of my bullet journal. They are more *Barbossa accent* GUIDELINES I guess, approaches with which I would like to embrace this particular month. I need to stop being angry at myself, even if it is validated which I believe it usually is, it’s not good for anybody in the bubble of my existence on Earth. Be positive, Rosie.

Until the next blog!

Rosie

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