We have long been fans of the eco friendly lifestyle - we eat a vegetarian, mainly vegan diet, we recycle, and are proud animal rights supporters, with Sarah previously being an active campaigner, and we reduce our use of plastic. So it was natural that when we had a baby, we would incorporate this - we wanted wooden toys, eco friendly toiletries, and bought a reusable wipes kit and cloth nappies.
Something we weren't sure of however, that we had seen on social media, were cloth sanitary pads. Although eco friendly we are also luxury lovers, and like our home comforts. They seemed perhaps a bit too extreme or radical for us - uncomfortable, bulky, unreliable. However, we weren't keen on the usual plastic sanitary towels and tampons finding them uncomfortable, a constant expense, and bad for the planet, and hadn't entirely liked Mooncups which we tried around 10yrs ago, finding them fiddly and difficult to use away from home.
So when we were asked by our favourite nappy brand Tots Bots, to try out some cloth pads from their sister brand Bloom & Nora, we thought it was a great way to see if they were for us.
Bloom & Nora describe their brand as 'purveyors of fine period wear', and we loved the girly, vintage style of the products and brand information.
We got the idea of the pretty, luxury styling of the brand and products when they arrived in this packaging - this is definitely not your usual no frills eco brand!
Bloom & Nora has two different styles of cloth pad, called, unsurprisingly Bloom, and Nora. Both are Oekotex certified, meaning no chemicals are used at any stage. They come in super soft fabrics, have popper closure wings, and no-leak binding.
Both styles come in four sizes; Mini for light flow (perfect if you aren't sure when your period will arrive but don't want to keep wasting liners!), Midi, which is probably closest to usual pad size, Maxi, for heavy flow, and Mighty, which is ideal for overnight, or post partum bleeding.
Bloom pads come in bright, bold colours, and are made of completely natural materials.
Nora come in clean white with floral designs, and are designed to repel stains. They are quick drying, with a stay-dry core and a waterproof top layer.
Also part of the range are these adorable matching 'out and about' bags - they are waterproof, and have two compartments to keep clean and used pads separate.
We thought these were such a great idea, especially as they popper together, so are very compact.
I was surprised at how much I loved Bloom & Nora. As someone who had the opinion of 'I really should use them as they're better for the planet, but I just don't think they are reliable/comfortable/discreet enough', I was completely proven wrong.
The slim shape and wings that popper underneath the pad instead of around it make them extremely comfortable, and they were much thinner than I was expecting them to be. Despite them being discreet to wear, I found them more absorbent and reliable than regular pads - the binding around the edge is a great idea. They were so much nicer to wear than plasticky pads or tampons. I was definitely able to wear the smaller two sizes with skinny jeans without worrying they were visible, whereas I would probably use the larger two at night. I did find there was quite a gap between the sizes of the smaller two and the larger two, with the larger two being quite similar in size.
They were really easy to look after - they can be washed along with your underwear, just without fabric softener, as like with cloth nappies, this affects the absorbency. I did find the Bloom pads needing stretching back into shape a little after washing, as the inners seemed to shrink slightly, giving them a curved shape - though this isn't a bad thing due to them being curved during use anyway.
The Nora pads were my favourite, although I did love how soft the Blooms were, the fact that Nora pads are fast drying made them feel much more comfortable to me as they had a fresh, dry cotton feel to them. For this reason I would be more likely to use Nora during the day, and the super soft Bloom at night. I also found they washed slightly better than the Bloom pads.
If you prefer stain resistence and a stay-dry feel, go for Nora, if you want super soft and completely natural, go for Bloom (although the Nora are also very soft, and the Bloom hasn't stained as of yet!)
Choosing the eco friendly option is often seen as making a scrifice where appearance, luxury or functionality are concerned, but we have increasingly found over the years that this isn't the case.
It's a lovely feeling that choosing an eco friendly option is actually the option that is girly, indulgent and luxurious, and actually works better - we are definitely Bloom & Nora converts!
Even if you have no interest in eco friendly products, I would still highly recommend you give Bloom & Nora a go, as quite simply, they are a better, prettier, luxury version of regular sanitary products. Although - you can definitely be safe in the knowledge you are also doing good things for our planet- each regular sanitary towel contains as much plastic as four plastic bags - which all ends up in landfill.
Bloom & Nora pads are available from TotsBots with pads starting at £4.99 for a Mini up to £8.99 for a Mighty. You can also purchase money saving 3 packs, or trial kits containing one of each size with a free Out & About bag.
Bloom & Nora kindly provided us with a Bloom trial kit and a Nora trial kit, in exchange for us sharing our thoughts.
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