Smol | Laundry's Latest 'IT' Brand

This is deep guys. You have been warned. So, I'm mum to two teenagers and one nearly pre-teen. Well a few years anyway for the baby but he's still veering a tad to close to being a pre-teen for my liking. However, I digress.

My eldest dude is strong-willed, is neither fussed up or down about most things with F1 and cars being the only real exception. He's never been one to fuss or moan and is pretty resilient to life in general - he's awesome. All three of my boys are to be fair and all so strangely different. However, big C had been gently highlighting my flaws at not taking my reusable bags with me when I went out. Then it was a Costa reusable cup. Then picking pens for school that could be filled with reusable ink rather than throw away pens. Then it was 'mum do you really need to buy that item' and he went full out to declutter mode too which as his mum I clearly noticed all of these little things. 

He was definitely taking on a plastic-free, buy less, reuse where possible, eco-friendly and refillable mentality. And, I realised these things were important to him. While he's the strong silent type he clearly cares about the earth, the plant and the future to what degree I will never know because he's the strong silent type, did I mention that? ha-ha. 
But, it's my job to nurture not force. It would be an unwise mother that forced her child to do as she says. That's not me. I considered how I could implement things into our lives and in our house that would make him feel that his beliefs were worthy and being actioned. After all, this house is not just hairy boy and I's house. This is a home that's created from all of us living here, varied and unique hopefully and so, I asked big C to consider what we could do so he knew his ideas were valued. 

We made a few changes, I'll cover those separately but one of the changes was laundry. After all, we use so much washing product and it comes housed in excessive plastic. It costs us around £21 for a month and a half. Which is really bloody expensive. I had consistently seen the add for 'Smol' you know, the one where they offer you '9 washes for £1' and being dubious and distrustful (I'm working on it, y'all) I automatically thought it was a hyped gimmick or that you'd sign up and it would be terrible, or the company would take loads of money from your account and be an utter nightmare to cancel. Much like many other companies out there. 

So I researched. And I researched more, I also found inspiration in From Fiona's post about why she's also becoming more sustainable. The feedback that I was seeing was all positive with normal people asking them to make more products like fabric conditioners etc. This was a positive for me as people don't take the time to request more products let alone comment on a less than favourable company. 

I clicked through. 

Figured once I got to check out there would be a catch or the pricing would be ridiculous. Initially, it asks how many washes you do a week, which type of product you'd prefer and if you're a one capsule or a two capsule kinda gal or gent. I filled it all in and it told me that my 1.5-month capsule subscription would cost, wait for it... 


Yup, £3.85. That's a huge £17.15 saving every month and a half. It sounded too good to be true and I was sure that when my nine wash sample order came that it would be ridiculously bad or not smell as fresh as everyone was commenting. 

Again I was wrong. 

I told big C about the change to Smol and he smiled and said it was good (that's a huge mama win!) and you know, it actually felt really good. These were being delivered every 56 days and I didn't have to worry about running out. They cost us a heck ton less and especially during isolation, I'll take all of the savings I can get. 

Your pack will contain as many of the above capsules to last you for the 56 days. I chose the blue non-bio option so my sons' skin doesn't become affected. Middle C has dry skin and typically we opt for non-bio. There is also a green bio option if you'd prefer. The difference between the both is that the bio contains additional enzymes that break down stains, but in all honesty, I've found the blue does just as good as job as it's major competitor counterparts at washing away stains. 

Also, the sample pack you see above came in 60g of recyclable plastic. But, they have now gone 100% plastic-free so my latest order doesn't have any plastic and that also felt great because the little man will use the cardboard in his many creations and as a family, we're helping to do our part, one small change at a time. 

All because of a teenager.

What I will say is absolutely try out the trial pack. I would be surprised if you cancel your subscription. Wash wise the clothes come out gleaming, stains and dirty marks are all gone and if you have a particularly tough load you can soak them in a melted capsule as a pre-wash and then wash again after. 

The younger generation are pretty fantastic, aren't they? I really don't think they get the applause that they deserve. Either way, consider changing up your lifestyle in some small way and I can bet you will be surprised at how easy the change slotted into your life. 

Elyse & Connor

Statement: Nothing to Disclose. Not collaborated. No affiliate links. 

HSG Test | All You Need to Know

Hysterosalpingography or HSG for short, is a test that allows medical professionals to see the inner workings of the reproductive system and mainly the uterus and fallopian tubes. Most people who are referred for one have either unsuccessfully been trying to fall pregnant and haven't or it's done as apart of a normal fertility workup. 

In our case, it was due to us not conceiving after our ectopic. They didn't presume anything was wrong however it was apart of the normal investigative process. Prior to booking my appointment, the consultant had us try Clomid which also was unsuccessful but we were positive because at least something was being done, even though the NHS itself had failed us so many times. 

In the lead up I read up on the process just so I had an understanding of what was happening as well as being able to gauge myself what they were seeing on the screen, naturally, I've become very distrusting of the NHS so I viewed it as the more knowledge I could gain prior, I would be more relaxed during. 

Off-the-bat I was aware that the NHS (in many cases) will tell you everything will be OK and that it won't hurt, or it's nothing more than a smear type of sensation. But, so many real-life cases told me otherwise. 

Speaking to people online over 95% of them stated it hurt a lot and in some cases, it hurt so badly that they had to stop so the HSG was never completed. On occasion a few mentioned ''they would never go through it again'' and for someone who is trying-to-conceive to say that, you have to realise that it must be more than a little painful. Most TTC will literally put their minds and bodies through anything in order to get that positive test and ultimately a baby in their arms. 

So what does the test entail? 

In my situation, I was on around day three of my periods but my blood doesn't flow all that well (not since my ectopic). I had asked prior if I would need to cancel and she said it was OK to come in. I went in and was made to sign waivers and various forms. Much like if you were having an operation. I was asked there and then ''are you allergic to iodine'' and my response was ''I'm not sure, I was always OK in science'' but let's be real here, no-one was enveloping themselves in that iodine so how was I really to know? 

I was asked if I had brought a urine sample, I hadn't as no-one advised I would need to. All I was told prior was that I must make sure I 100% was not pregnant and the recommendations were to not have sex from the point of your period to the HSG test itself. I was made to give a sample and not surprisingly it was negative. That would have absolutely been an Alanis Morrisette situation right there after a year or not getting pregnant, to have got a BFP on the morning of HSG, right? Keeping it real, I was slightly disappointed. 

They get you up on the bed, legs in stirrups, you know how it goes. In front of me was the actual screen so I knew I would be able to see my actual results in real-time, I'm not sure if this helped or made the anxiety set-in. There were three people in the room, the fertility nurse who was doing my test, the assistant nurse who was well, assisting, she was super fun, such a lovely lady and, my fertility consultant who literally gives me anxiety at the way he poorly manages fertility cases like ours.  

They let me know what was about to happen. The first was the speculum. I've never had problems with those, this ached a little (I've since found out that's my issue and not the HSG, I had a smear and it ached then also). They then advise that they will enter the catheter, and this is where I *was* worried. But nope, I felt nothing, I was actually worried they hadn't done it because I felt absolutely nothing. Then the fertility nurse advised they were infusing the iodine. I saw the uterus fill up slightly like a half-filled glass of wine, and then nothing. 

Panic set in quietly. 

The consultant advised her she hadn't used enough iodine and to re-do it. She tried another few times and it only increased to a full glass of wine type of image. 

He then decided to try again, naturally, I was trying to look calm, but the reality was I was panicked after the first incident of there not being enough iodine. The consultant himself tried and the same thing, the iodine was just retrograding back. So all-in-all they tried about four, five or six times. I honestly lost count. 

I had zero pain. I did wonder if it's because I was aching and had cramps from my menstrual cycle though but glad I didn't have the pain that was recorded from many others. 

While it seems positive. My consultant naturally is pretty blunt, inconsiderate sometimes and not very investigative. He noted I had a cervical erosion, asked if I'd had a smear - I hadn't. Then he stated that I must get one to check the erosion is an erosion and not the start of cervical cancer - cue the panic. Especially since I do get pain in my cervix and bleed a lot. He stated after the smear we would look at treatment for my cervix. 

I asked if there was a plan for my results and if anything could be done and he looked down and shrugged his shoulders and said I don't know. 

We made a follow-up, now me and hairy boy were well aware there were many things that they could do, quite easily for blocked tubes (we only have one tube). A few things include: 

 Vitamins and Supplements - Jury is out on these but you will find so many positive results from the use of antioxidants, serrapeptase, raspberry leaf and other hers. I will cover this in a separate post. 
 Fallopian Tube Flushing - Basically another HSG where they attempt to unblock using a water flush. 
 Fallopian tube cannulation - This is where they go into the tube using a thin wire in the hope of blocking it. It is usually done under day surgery and general anaesthetic, the success rate for 70% of people is around 20%. 

Smear booked and return appointment booked we went in only for ''our'' consultant to not be there. There was a completely new consultant who stated they wouldn't do anything other than referring us for IVF, but we would have to pay because were not eligible for it on the NHS. I may have stated that was unfair given that we meet all of the requirements barr one and, that if the NHS hadn't have buggered up last year, I'd still have my tube. He understood but said that IVF process is ''far easier'' than unblocking the tube and that he doesn't feel anyone in Scotland knew how to do that. 

I was frustrated. Especially since a few more investigative tests and/or HSG's were easy for them and far less costly than IVF. 

What I've since learned is that: 

Prior to an HSG you should be allergy tested at least 24 hours to check for iodine sensitivities. 
  You should not get an HSG done during your cycle. Mid-cycle increased the chances of false results as the uterus can contract closing off your tubes and giving a result showing a blockage. 
  You may not always feel pain. I believe that more pain is felt if the iodine reaches your tubes. Prepare in advance by taking a painkiller before you go in for your test. 
 You absolutely can get side-effects. Those include typically miscarriage or loss if you are pregnant prior to testing, bleeding (but this shouldn't be huge amounts), pain and cramping for a day but may be up to three or four days (I had mild cramps for around three days) and to boot, ended up with a cervix infection that required two-weeks of antibiotics. A cervix or uterus infection can cause kidney infections and if you're someone like me who is prone to kidney stones, the cramping may cause you more pain where your stones are located. 
 Even though some people have results that show a blockage, many are still able to fall pregnant. Even if they have only one tube. It's rarer of course but it does happen. 

I hope to cover more on this topic so if you have a different experience or have any questions please feel free to comment below, email me or Tweet me. This way I can ensure all of 'your' real-life questions and tips are covered. 

Elyse & Connor

Statement: Nothing to Disclose