Browse Category by general HCWC Chatter
general HCWC Chatter

The end of a West Kent Sling Meet era…

Hello everyone, long time no speak. 

Due to personal reasons I’ve been needing to take some time away from West Kent Sling Meet/Have Child, Will Carry lately. 

I’ve thought hard about this and have written, deleted and then re-written this post several times already. 

During the six weeks I was unwell at the beginning of the year I had lots of time to think about everything and the level of service that I as one woman spinning too many plates am able to sustainably offer you. I began to feel that maybe it’s time to to step away. 

That coupled with some personal challenges meaning I don’t currently feel that I’m firing on all my cylinders.  

As a result of this I think it’s only fair to all of you (and to myself) that I step down from running West Kent Sling Meet. I’m still trying to work out when is best for me to stop. I was planning on cancelling this Friday’s session but I can’t bear the thought of letting some of you who have emailed me lately down. 

I will commit to offering sling meets this Friday (5/5/17) and the usual 3rd Friday of this month (19/5/17) as the last one (I WILL be emotional I warn any of you who attend this one now because I’m weeping a bit just writing this!!!) 


Running the sling meet is so much more than simply bringing my stash of dolls, wraps & carriers to the meet every couple of weeks. There is a fair bit of admin for every hire from both the meets and the online postal hires along with the daily attention needed to reply properly to the large amount of emails and messages from the several social media accounts associated with both West Kent Sling Meet & HCWC. Even with all that and the maintenance/laundry and accounts it STILL  hasn’t felt like much work though because I have totally LOVED doing it and before it was me on my own Vicky and the other women who we founded the West Kent Sling Meet over four years ago I know felt exactly the same as I do. We are all still passionate about the many benefits of carrying a child close to your heart. 

But, ever since I suffered with Pneumonia at the beginning of the year I’ve realised in all honesty that I’ve been struggling to manage it on my own and it’s not the kind of project that can just run itself. It’s also not fair to any of you to ‘half’ run it either!

I appreciate that this is frustrating news if you were planning on needing my help and or if you are currently pregnant so I will be checking and replying to/directing any of you who need my help to other local people/services.

I will be able to offer some limited hires/postal hires to anyone who is really in need and can’t access a wrap/carrier from elsewhere too all the time I still have my carrier stash. 

I cannot tell you how much joy I have had from meeting so many of you over the years, you’ve made running a non-profit unsalaried job feel the best paid job in the world with all of your love, kind words & support. 

I am really, really happy that we now have more fantastic sling meets/trained consultants across Kent than we did when we first started out four years ago when there were only a few. Its this increase in local meets that have helped me to come to this decision for a break from hosting because I know that there will be lots of local support on offer still for you all. 

I will list some of the other local meets and some wonderful fellow UK wide postal hire libraries below so that you can use them in my absence if you’re not already.  

I’m still here and happy to help but will just need to feel less pressure for a while and to have some time to figure things out.
Any carriers currently with people can still be returned or extended as usual so don’t worry. 

Have Child, Will Carry will definitely still exist and will continue to live on in one form or another and the shop will remain open for the moment too while I decide what to do next and take a bit of time to paint in my shed, to continue my creative support volunteering at Hospice In The Weald and to maybe even time to focus on my weaving too perhaps? (I’ve had the same warp on my loom for over a year now!) and maybe even get some paid work somewhere too if anyone will ever employ me! 😜


Thanks for reading and apologies for the waffling writing style, it was not an easy thing to type and I’ve had to just get it typed out in whatever way I could before I bottled it!

Lots and lots of love and also mega thanks to those of you who have been super patient with my slowness/disorganised nature of late! 

Kitty x

Links to other local meets/libraries (and some postal hire services)

We have a FANTASTIC Kent Community Babywearing Facebook group which is a fab place to ask questions and to find your local support/sling meets. It can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/730590253722195/

Hold Me Close (based in Marden and covering surrounding area) – consultancy and sling meets 

Maidstone Sling Meet https://www.facebook.com/MaidstoneSlingMeet/

and sling swing classes https://www.facebook.com/slingswingmaidstone/

North West Kent & Medway Slingmeet (based in Gillingham but covering surrounding area) https://www.facebook.com/NWKslings/

Kent Baby Matters – sling meets and breastfeeding support (Tonbridge, Sevenoaks, New Ash Green, Paddock Wood, Edenbridge and beyond) 

https://www.facebook.com/kentbabymatters/
Postal hire libraries: 

South East Slings (formerly East Sussex Slings) 

A sling meets, postal hire service & shop
It’s A Sling Thing, postal hires and shop 

https://www.facebook.com/itsaslingthing/
These are just a few off of the top of my head, you can find a comprehensive list of babywearing services available to you via Sling Pages 

http://www.slingpages.co.uk/

general HCWC Chatter, West Kent Sling Meet

Happy Birthday West Kent Sling Meet

West kent Sling Meet, Buy A Baby Carrier UK

On this date THREE years ago a small group of mothers ran their first West Kent Sling Meet!!!

(Ironically on the first ever meet my daughter/and I were unwell meaning I had to miss it! But I’ve made up for it since having to only ever miss a couple in the years that followed!)

So, seeing as I was asked by a couple of people recently about how we started out I thought I’d write a blog post.
Grab a cuppa, for I’m a waffler and it will no doubt be an essay! (Excuse any typos, this was written on my iphone while I recover from a mild kidney infection snuggled up on my sofa and my thumb has a mind of its own)

I must also apologise in advance if this gets a bit ‘soppy’ in places, I am listening to Kate Bush as I type so we can just blame her for any emotional outbursts!

It feels like yesterday that we all excitedly planned what we had in our personal stashes to bring along and the chattering away via social media group messaging as we all got to know each other having never really met much in real life before with the exception of Christina and I though it was by chance we met for WKSM as we hadn’t been in touch since we had randomly worked together many years before.

 

 

Well the first meet was an overwhelmingly big success as were the ones that followed and it didn’t take us long to realise that this project would demand more time than any of us could have ever envisioned!

 

I was very unaware at the time but I was going through some pretty low times following the traumatic birth of my daughter and so being carried away in the distraction of focusing on helping other parents/carers unbeknownst to me very good therapy and a way to manage my own anxieties, keeping busy was fantastic and I was doing something that I LOVED! Win, win!
I’ll write more on that another day though to save this becoming too long.

 

As parents with very young children and lots of other commitments it was a LOT to take on and those with lot’s of plates to spin already decided to step away and support us from the sidelines, I really want to acknowledge all that they/we accomplished though in those early months though.
Not just the meets that they attended but also the initial energy/ideas/enthusiasm & support given in starting West Kent Sling Meet up again, (it had previously been run by another set of parents but was dormant when we picked it up).

Christina and Victoria, HUGE thank you’s to you both for what you contributed back in those early days.
Christina has since gone on to do some amazing babywearing related work and has gone on to create Woven Wings, a woven baby wraparound carrier brand which creates the most BEAUTIFUL (and I mean B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.) woven wraps, all expertly woven by a highly acclaimed UK mill.

 

Support her via her website and the Woven Wings Facebook page if you don’t already!

Woven Wings website
Woven Wings – Facebook Page
West Kent Sling Meet wouldn’t have been what it is now without the part that you both played in its creation.

 

 

It became very clear that people wanted to try before they went out to buy so we began to research sling libraries, at this time there were three of us, Debbie, Vicky and I and we had a lot of fun working out what to buy and what to do, designing hire forms and setting up the Admin (Oh my there’s a lot of admin involved in setting up a sling library!) Vicky and I attended our baby wearing consultancy training course with School Of Babywearing which was so fantastic and really proved to us just how passionate we were about the benefits to carrying a child close.
Benefits that go far deeper than day to day practicalities.

Exploring the research and the science behind why we as humans are designed to carry our children close to our hearts was so inspiring and really fired us up to share Debbie who planned to do hers at a later date. Sadly some months later Debbie too stepped away from the project to focus on her other growing business, her beautiful daughter and has now returned back to Scotland where she supports HCWC from afar!

 

FullSizeRender 4
(At our training with School Of Babywearing back in 2013)

 

 

Thank you Debbie, you were such a great colleague, we learnt so much together during that time!!! I wish you lived nearer and could come to some meets still!

Then there were two, Vicky and I decided to do as people were asking and set up the postal hire aspect of the business, it took a lot of work and we spent a LOT of time working via social media messenger to grow the business at every opportunity we could snatch! It helped that we were already best friends so naturally wanted to chat at every chance but the hours we both poured in were pretty mad when I think back!!! The hard work paid off and we have been growing steadily and SO proud of the hundreds (I should really do some accounts/admin and get the ACTUAL figure huh?) of children that we have helped to be carried closer.
I know we have said this before but it really REALLY has been such a privilege to have been able to support you lovely lot as parents & carers as you went on your adventures whilst using our carriers. It melts my soppy heart!

Working with my dear, wonderful friend to grow our ‘baby’ has been such a fantastic journey and I’ve loved every minute of it. As you will probably already know Vicky has stepped away from HCWC to focus on some exciting projects, developing her counselling career and to grow a new squishy bubba to carry in the beautiful stash of rainbow wraps that she has collected over the years.
I’m missing her lots as my business partner but excited to get to see what she does next!

 

(Here we are setting up sling meet and playing happy Sling Librarian Families haha)

So (and if you’re still reading this then pat yourself on the back!!!) now there is one!

Things that you can expect to be launched very soon (if all goes to plan)

A giveaway

To celebrate our three years, more details of that will be given away soon… hint, hint, there MAY just be a decadent gift from one of my awesome fellow WKSM co-founders in it though for me to giveaway!!!!

I’m very excited and am just working out the logistics but it IS coming people very soon so be ready!

I’m declaring 2016 the year of celebrating and launching new things so…..

The Shop…. squeeeeeee

It was the next logical and exciting step really because our hirers wanted to support the business and go on to buy through HCWC but I wanted to make sure that the busy postal hire library could cope if I started something else.
It will be small but perfectly formed, I want to share wraps and carriers that I personally love. I won’t be attempting to stock the whole library and I also feel very strongly that I will still be on a quest to find the right carrier for you.

 

  

 

As an educator/librarian my advice is always impartial, after all the right carrier for you is exactly that, the right carrier for you!!!
People are always recommending the carrier they love and use which is GREAT but everybody’s needs/shape are different so to attempt to stock them all is a bit much for me at present and so if I don’t stock it (and even if I do) then I feel VERY strongly that it’s important and ethical for me to share where you can purchase from other qualified independent homegrown businesses run by parents just like me.

This is because I understand and appreciate just how bloomin hard we all work to create businesses that will allow us to do what we love and to stay close to our children as much as possible too! *fist bump for my fellow consultants/retailers/librarians across the country so do support us all and buy your wraps and carriers from independent authorised resellers wherever possible!
There are some other very exciting things on the horizon too but I will save those for another day since most of you are possibly already feeling exhausted after reading all that!!!

Thank you for the last three years, you have ALL been so supportive and wonderful, here’s to the next three!!!

P.s if you are local to Tunbridge Wells then come along this Friday (4th March 2016) and share some yummy cake with me!

 

P.p.s ‘Baby Sinister’ our first and original demo doll now lives with Vicky at her home so do not worry, he will not be walking the streets with that slightly menacing grin on his face! Bless him, he served us very well in those early days before his stuffing popped out!

Love Kitty x

general HCWC Chatter

My Little Shop Of Loveliness 

It’s LIVE!

Baby wearing shop UK, Baby wraps and carriers to buy

Phew, it has taken a while and it’s definitely still in ‘Beta’ mode BUT it’s open and ready for shopping!
More brands/stock will gradually be added in as I unpack and photograph them.

I am really, really excited about this next chapter in the Have Child, Will Carry story.
Over the years so many of you have wanted to support what HCWC do by buying directly and it’s taken time to set up and raise the necessary funds to launch but its thanks to all the support and great word of mouth advertising of this project that I am now a proud reseller of some of the many brands that I adore!

The name, while not the most ingenious of names I am a huge fan of keeping things simple (I’m a simple creature!) and so wanted a name for the shop that was as descriptive as possible in this world of complicated online navigation! Seeing as the hire shop is called ‘Hire A Baby Carrier’ it just made sense.
Yes I do sell toddler wraps/carriers too but that’s just too long winded to add in! 🙂

Would you like a sneaky peek??? (each image is also a link that opens in a new window)

Buy A Baby Carrier UK, Girasol herring rainbow wrap

Buy A Baby Carrier UK, part of the Have Child, Will Carry Collective, is proud to sell Girasol Woven baby wraps and carriers

 

Buy A baby Carrier UK, Girasol woven baby wraps, baby carriers, to buy.          Buy A Baby Carrier UK, Didymos woven wraps and carriers available to buy

 

 

Because this is my first shop stocking I only have a few sizes in each style but I will be re-ordering as soon as I sell out so if you see something is out of stock then feel free to Email Me if you want to find out when more stock will be arriving.

Please be patient with any teething problems I experience, I’ll try my best to make everything run smoothly but I’m not always the most tech savvy individual and my ability to spell seems to have disappeared so typos are inevitable in the early days (until my Mum proof reads it for me – Mother if you are reading this, get cracking!!! hahaha)
I am planning some exciting shop launch giveaway celebrations soon too so if you haven’t already then so sign up to the HCWC newsletter (at the bottom of this page) and ‘like’ the page on Facebook (opens in new page) to stay in the loop!
Thanks so much for all your love and support over the years, I couldn’t have done this without you all!

Love Kitty x

general HCWC Chatter

A New Chapter In The Have Child Will Carry Story

Hi, Vicky here!

It’s taken me days to sit down and write this, which gives you an idea of how much thought and preparation has gone into our latest Have Child, Will Carry decision.

So, it’s with great sadness, but also a lot of hope, that I’ve decided to step down from Have Child, Will Carry, and leave our business baby in the nurturing hands of Kitty. In the last year, I have increasingly had to take a backstage role, and it seemed increasingly obvious to us that something needed to change. It’s been the hardest decision to make, and I’ve cried a lot, but this is the right move for us to make.

UK baby wearing shop and postal hire sling library

I fell in love with babywearing with a stretchy wrap borrowed from my sister, over four years ago. When we outgrew that sling, Kitty was on hand with a rainbow mei tai for us to borrow. From that moment, we inspired each other with our babywearing adventures. We had no idea of what awaited us…

Buy a baby carrier, uk postal hire sling library

It’s been three years since Kitty and I set up Have Child, Will Carry – initially with three other interested babywearing mums. When they went on to different challenges in the first three months, Kitty and I became the partnership in charge! In truth, we’ve been a partnership for a lot longer than that, as dear friends, and we’ll be a partnership until the end.

UK Sling Library Postal Hire, Babywearing shop, hire a baby carrier, buy a baby carrier

When we started HCWC we had just fourteen slings, and no idea of the amount of work we had set ourselves up for! The work naturally divided itself between us and we’ve both been able to use our greatest strengths in the last couple of years, as well as challenging ourselves to learn things outside our comfort zones. We attended our babywearing consultancy training together and, between us, have grown into a thriving and busy sling library that helps people around the country!

Baby wearing shop and uk postal hire sling libraryOUR ‘BUSINESS PLAN’!

From the beginning, we had to incorporate HCWC into an already full schedule. My daughter was just a year old when we started this, and I had just gone back to work. I’d also started a counselling diploma, so my life was FULL! But I felt so passionate about sharing this wonderful gift with other people, that I knew I could make time. For the first two years, I used holiday time to be able to run sling meets! I would use evenings to answer e-mails and prepare carriers for postal hire, and I would use lunchbreaks for post office runs!

Uk postal hire sling library, buy a baby carrier

After a personal loss last year, it became clear I couldn’t keep running at that pace. One of the greatest characteristics of my relationship with Kitty is our fluidity, and Kitty very kindly understood my need to take a step back, and for her to almost completely take over the running of the library. I was still involved in decisions backstage, and still had every intention of returning to a more active role, but I needed time.

Well, my need for time hasn’t disappeared. So I feel like I’m making the right decision. This past year, I have completed and passed my counselling diploma. I’m also five months pregnant, and ready to throw myself into my time with my new baby, when she arrives in June. After that, when I return to work, it will be in my new counselling role, which will challenge and delight me, and take up A LOT of my time! In many ways, I just don’t know what I’ll do without the library and our working relationship, and the special encounters I get with so many lovely parents and caregivers. But then I look at my personal stash, and I re-live my days of babywearing – ready to do it all again when the time comes.

UK baby wearing shop and postal hire sling library

I know where my priorities need to be; it’s the family I love so much, and the work that I’ve dedicated myself to in the last four years. I’m so passionate about the difference that babywearing can make in the relationship between babies and their parents, and I still feel like I’ll be very much involved in that connection, just in a different capacity.

In fact, I was reading a book last night that finally inspired me to write this little post, which was describing the importance of healthy attachment:

“In addition to serving as a secure base for exploration, a haven of safety, and as
a source of reassurance for a distressed child (the hallmarks of the attachment function),
parents do many other things for children. For example, parents ‘‘provide stimulation
for the child that may or may not be appropriately modulated. They provide guidance,
limits, and interactive support for problem solving. In addition, they support the child’s
competence in the broader world, for example by making possible and supporting
social contacts outside the home’’ (Alan Sroufe)

I was reading that for work, and those words just jumped off the paper! That’s what I’m involved in in counselling. And that’s what I’ve loved about helping you all find the right carrier for me. And that’s why, alongside being pretty and fun and cute and enjoyable and handy and handsfree, I think babywearing can be so LIFE CHANGING; it helps us to do all those things. Securely tied or buckled to us, we can be their haven of safety.

We can reassure them in their distress. We provide appropriate stimulation, when they’re up at our eye level, and we explore the world with them. We guide and protect them, and we interact with them as we show them how to open doors, or acknowledge people in the street, or throw a stick for the dog. They see us in our competency, and they learn about the world. It’s so wonderful that it makes me shiver.

Uk baby wearing shop, uk postal hire sling library

So, I need to say three thank yous. Firstly, to one of the great loves of my life, Kitty, for being my Kin and my business partner. We’ve had the most wonderful adventure together, and we’re rightfully proud of our work and our relationship. I wouldn’t have done this with anyone else. Our babywearing adventures together aren’t over, as we await my new arrival, and I hope that we have the joy of working together in the future. I don’t have the words to quite say how much our relationship means to me, but I know we both feel it.

babywearing Uk, sling library, buy a baby carrier
Secondly, to my family, who have supported me and understood that my passion for babywearing sometimes meant I had the laptop open longer than I wanted, or that I couldn’t pick up dinner in my lunchbreak because I was too busy queuing at the post office. My sister, who was the one who introduced me to babywearing, my mum who looked after my daughter when I was at the sling meets, and my husband, who is my supportive partner in all things. And my daughter, who inspired this entire journey!
UK Sling Library Postal Hire, Babywearing shop, hire a baby carrier, buy a baby carrier
And, before this becomes a little too much like an Oscars speech, a thank you to all of you – THANK YOU. It’s been a genuine thrill to work with so many families – I have met so many special people, and shared in so many special moments; what a privilege to have crossed paths with you all. I’ve lost count, but I would think that Kitty and I have supported over 500 families in the last few years. That’s 500 families that hold their babies safely and securely, ready to explore the world together. What an honour to be involved – thank you for letting me be a part of your babywearing journey.

Love, Vicky xxx

general HCWC Chatter

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Have Child, Will Carry!


2015 has been fantastic for us, thank you to all of YOU lovely bunch for supporting us to support you all over the last twelve months (and years previous!)

We’ve got some exciting changes in the air here at HCWC HQ which we’ll be sharing soon but tonight this meme popped up on my newsfeed which reminded me of a certain person I’m lucky enough to know.


Now, if you can’t do a public display of affection on New Years Eve (when I originally wrote this post) then when can you? So apologies now if it gets a bit mushy and embarrasses you Vicky haha!

I saw that meme after getting off the phone from an hour long chinwag with you and I instantly knew that our New Years post should be about giving thanks, and what is one of the things I’m grateful for over the last year?

It’s working alongside my Kin (aka Vicky) who has become one of my best friends over the years. It is a privilege and something that happened totally organically. Neither of us knew how and if it would work and or if it would change the dynamic of our friendship, but it’s been incredible and I’ve personally learnt so much and am a stronger & braver person for it!
The love, time and commitment that’s needed to set up a library/consultancy is more than either of us imagined BUT for me almost every minute has been a joy over the last few years and that’s down to a tasty combo of you (the lovely hirers and likers of our page) THANK YOU for all your loyal custom and for spreading the HCWC word.

Muchos thank you too to Vicky for all yoir hard work and well, for just being you… few people ‘get’ me and put up with my bullshite like you do/have!

THANK YOU and Happy New Year!

2016 is going to be incredible! *raises glass

Love Kitty x

www.havechildwillcarry.co.uk