Christmas at the sling library

christmas-2961385_1280.jpgThe nights have firmly drawn in and everywhere there are little hints that Christmas is only a month away. Personally, I am ignoring that fact as I have only purchased 5 gifts. However, the arrival of the festive season also brings our annual Christmas closure.

Our last session of 2017 will be Wednesday 20th December in North Shields. From January, our North Shields session will be running just once a month as Madeleine will be taking over running of our Killingworth session.

December Sling Library Sessions

Friday 1st December – Ace Playce, Killingworth 1.30-3pm (with Madeleine).

Wednesday 6th December – Birth and Baby, North Shields (this session won’t run from January) 9.30am-12pm.

Thursday 7th December – Tesco Consett, Genesis Retail Park, Consett 1.15-2.45pm.

Friday 8th December – Miss Tina’s Washington 1.30-2.45pm

Saturday 9th December – Saturday Slings at Home 2-4pm

Wednesday 20th December – Birth and Baby, North Shields 9.30am – 12pm.

There will be no session on Saturday 23rd December – sorry folks but I’ll be in mad panic mode for the big day.

We will reopen for Sling Library Drop in sessions in Consett on 4th January 2018. Postal hire will be unavailable between 23rd December and 2nd January.

Slings hired on Saturday 25th November for  £10 will benefit from 3 extra weeks sling hire. That’s almost a month for FREE! Those hired from Birth and Baby on 6th December will also gain 2 weeks extra hire to take them to when this session restarts in New Year.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Rachel and all at NESL



Mind blown – a weekend of revision and new learning.

Several of the team here at NESL HQ have today figuratively had our minds blown. Since Friday, Suzie and Madeleine (along with 4 other ladies) have been completing their Slingababy Consultancy training (more details of that to come direct from them in next few days). For them this meant a trip to Birtley and the Thought Foundation Building, rather than a road trip to Rugby. The 4 days of this course when I completed it in 2014 completely changed how I function and work as a consultant, I hope they are having similar revelations. From the expressions I have witnessed from both, I think it is safe they have!

One of the reasons I am such a strong advocate for training with Slingababy is that once you have completed the course you can reattend as many times as you wish. With a course arranged just 20 minutes from my home, it meant I had the opportunity to reattend for the first time. Due to work commitments, this means I have been only able to attend days 2 and 3 but those two days have been amazing. Despite already completing this course, I cannot believe how much I taken onboard over the past two days. My brain is in overdrive as it processes the information it’s received and makes connections between my past learning and experience, and what I have learned this weekend.

Here is just a sneak peak at what we have been up to. As of Tuesday, Madeleine and Suzie will both be available for 1:1 appointments and they have some plans up their sleeves too.

Lumiere Festival Sling Sessions

vn-large-Lumiere-set-to-light-up-Durham-again-in-2015For each of the last two visits of the Lumiere Festival to Durham, we have opened to provide extra sling hire sessions. We plan to do the same this year! The Lumiere Festival runs from 16th-19th November (ticket details are here).

This opportunity  allows families who are planning a trip to this spectacular event to do so hands free. It also allows the babies/children being carried to view the events from adult height rather than knee height. lum1The festival also gets extremely busy, so by using a carrier children are kept close an safe in the crowds  (it is estimated 200,000 people visited in 2015). Even things such as getting the bus/park and ride into the city centre can be a little easier with a sling. Artichoke, the event organisers, even recommend that you use a sling rather than take pushchair. As a mum of two, I would also never have imagined taking mine if we hadn’t carried them.

This is what their website says:


“I want to bring my child in a buggy, is this OK?

We’ve learnt from feedback at previous Lumiere festivals that getting through the crowds with a pushchair can be really difficult. If you can, carry your child in a baby carrier or a sling so they can enjoy all the installations with you. “

So how can you get a sling?

Due to my own work commitments I cannot provide the same level of “open house” sessions that  have done previously but we will be offering some extra drop ins. You will be able to hire a carrier at any of the following events (extra sessions marked in bold). For exact times please visit our Facebook page.lum3

Wednesday 1st November – Birth and Baby Family Centre Drop In (North Shields)

Thursday 2nd November – Community Room Tesco Consett (Genesis Retail Park, Consett)

Friday 3rd November – Ace Playce (Killingworth)

Friday 10th November – Miss Tina’s Washington (Barmston Village, Washington)

Tuesday 14th November – Open House 1.30-2.45pm (Rachel’s House).

Thursday 16th November – Open House 1.30-4pm (Rachel’s House).

Friday 17th November – Open House 1.30-2.45pm (Rachel’s House).

I will potentially be able to offer a limited drop in on Saturday 18th but this will not be confirmed until nearer the time.

What does it cost?

lum4Slings that are hired from the normal monthly drop in sessions will be charged at normal hire fees (£10 for 4 weeks) as these sessions only run once per month.

If you wish to hire from the extra hire sessions, it will be cost £3.50 per carrier. They will need to be returned by to our next library drop in (and normal hire form must be completed and credit/debit card details stored via Stripe). Slings must be returned via the Red Drop Box on or before or in person on Saturday 25th November (2-4pm). If sling is not returned by agreed date, we will assume that you wish to extend your loan and charge card accordingly.

We will have a very limited number of baby/child ear defenders and babywearing covers available too.  Both slings and accessories will be available on a first come, first served basis.


Carriers for All Scheme

Way back in April we launched our Crowdfunding campaign with GoFundMe with the aim of raising £300 to create a free long term loan scheme. We we’re successful!

This scheme is specifically for babies born with life limiting or life altering conditions, or families suffering with PND. Although, please do get in contact if you feel you would benefit and don’t hit these criteria and we will always try our best. For example, families in receipt of some benefits can access discounted hire fees already.

At present, we are only able to support families in County Durham.

Please email if you would like more information or to apply. We will need supporting evidence from either your GP/MW/HV or other HCP.

Dear Lady on the Tube

Yes I saw you looking, standing there in your corporate suit, immaculate make up and smart handbag.  I saw as you glanced me up and down and gave me a look of distain. I tried to look you in the eye to show I didn’t care (but yes I did). I know I looked hot, tired and a bit disheveled. But, hey I was a tourist. Visiting a city you don’t know well is tiring, especially when you are sightseeing with young children.

If I had been there alone, you wouldn’t have given me a second look. It would have been easier for me to blend into the back ground and hubbub of a bustling station. I know why you kept looking. The leggy 5 year old falling asleep on my back in a carrier was hard to miss. Hey, if he’s been having a piggy back I expect you wouldn’t have looked either (or even asleep in a buggy). 

Children need close contact with caregivers. It provides stability and a sense of calm. A busy underground station is scary when your five. You are standing at knee height, it could be easy to lose the hand of mum. A five year old who is exhausted from walking miles around museums and the city centre is also going to slow you down as he trudges along the platform and up the steps.

So yes, I’ll carry him. I’ll carry him for as long as he needs me. In doing so yesterday, he got to have a nap and thus be able to enjoy the rest of his day trip to the capital, I didn’t require a seat on the tube (although thank you to the lady and gentlemen who both offered theirs to me), I took up less space than I would have if I’d used a buggy.


I’m pretty tough skinned. After seven years of carrying and helping thousands of families to carry their own babies, preschoolers and older children, I have heard and seen it all. Carrying older children may not be common, it doesn’t though make it wrong. 

So, to the lady on the tube I simply ask that you don’t judge other mothers and fathers as you judged me yesterday. I’m a tough cookie, I will keep doing what I need to for the good of my family. Other mums and dads though, may not yet have the confidence to carry on regardless (Thanks Beautiful South) and may be put off by that look.