Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A New Discovery - Luxury Discount Toys

I'm a massive bargain hunter, particularly when it comes to baby clothes and toys. You'll often find me scouring charity shops and eBay, and my mum is a master of the car boot sale {it clearly runs in the family!}. So I can't believe it's taken me so long to discover this amazing discount shopping website. Called Achica, it's a members-only luxury shopping website, but don't be deceived - to join, all you have to do is give them your email address. I spotted some amazing deals immediately - including these gorgeous wooden toys from Orange Tree Toys. Huge thanks to my friend Fiona McKenzie Johnston for flagging this up on her brilliant blog Joy As It Flies!

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

1. Noah's Ark Playset, £17.00 normally £27.95 | 2. Large Train Puzzle, £17.00, normally £25.99
3. Push-Along-Lion, £7.00, normally £10.99 | 4Noah's Ark Bookends, £14.00, normally £21.99
5. Pirate Skittles, £10.75, normally £17.99 | 5. Toy Aeroplane Mobile, £8.75, normally £14.99

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

All I Want For Christmas - 3-4 Years Boy's Gift List

Time for Fiona Mckenzie Johnston's second list! This time it's aimed at boys aged 3-4 years old. Fiona has two children, Sholto and Esmeralda, so you can be sure this is a tried-and-tested selection of presents. With prices varying from super-cheap, to luxury-luxury treat, you're sure to find something in your budget. There's still time to order your presents from Amazon, so get clicking, and make someone's Christmas!

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

1. FIMO Large Pack, £17.99 - Fimo - it's got to be better than play-dough. For a start, you can cook it and keep it, and it might not get trodden into the carpet in quite the same way.

2. Octonauts - The Collection DVD, £6.75 - Sholto LOVES The Octonauts. It's about the only thing that will keep him both still and quiet...

3. Original Penguin Penguin Costume, £24.95 - We went to see The Snowman at Sadler's Wells, and Sholto's favourite part was the penguins. He'd like to be a penguin.

4. LEGO DUPLO Deluxe Brick Box, £45.75-We've got a lot of Duplo already, but as Sholto gets older so his building projects become more ambitious, requiring more bricks....

5. Traditional Wild West Cowboys & Indians Wigwam, £52.23 - What little boy doesn't want his own wigwam?

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

6. BRIO Double Suspension Bridge, £14.91 - Sholto LOVES his Brio train set, and would be thrilled to receive a double suspension bridge to go with it.

7. VTech Kidizoom Twist Plus Camera, £33.33 - My husband is a keen photographer, and Sholto is longing to join him!

8. Bigjigs Toys Junior Art Easel, £34.99 - For painting. Obviously!

9. Poo Bum, £5.24 - Sholto will find this HILARIOUS.

10. Scola Artmix Coloured Paint - Pack of 12, £15.99 - For use on the easel.

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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

All I Want For Christmas - 18mths-2yrs Girl's Gift List

Prepare yourselves for a Christmas Gift List onslaught! I decided I want to feature lists for children of every age, and put up a request on Facebook. ALL the mums I know were crazy-keen to share their lists, and every one is packed full of brilliant present ideas, so I've decided to feature all of them! With Christmas fast approaching, I've asked everyone to pick their items from Amazon, so that you can order them via Amazon Prime, and have them delivered ASAP. First up, my great friend Fiona Mckenzie Johnston, who has two children, Sholto and Esmeralda, and also finds time to write for Vogue Russia, her blog Joy As It Flies AND run a gorgeous interiors business called English Abode {coming soon - you'll be craving their cushions!}. She has exceptional taste, so I'm super-thrilled to feature her Christmas Gift List for little girls aged 18 months to two years old.

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

1. Childrens Flower Shopping Bag, £5.21 - Esmeralda won't go anywhere without a handbag.

2. Children's Blue Armchair with White Spots, £39.99 - Esmeralda is tiny, and can't get into the chairs by herself. She's love her own little one, and this one isn't actually too expensive.

3. Silver Cross Ranger Pram, £54.99 - She would love taking her baby for a walk in this.

4. Kids Ladybird Umbrella, £2.99 - Esmeralda always tries to steal my umbrella when it's raining, she blatantly needs her own!”

5. Kidkraft Large Wooden Precious Play Kitchen, £149.99 - This would be Esmeralda'​s top present for years to come. Her own kitchen. Bliss.

6. Sylvanian Families Champagne Rabbit Family, £15.99 {not pictured} - I've noticed Esmeralda eying up her friends' Sylvanian Families, it might be time to get her her own. I'm looking forward to playing with them with her, too.

7. Sylvanian Families Daisy Cottage, £20.81 - Obviously, the Sylvanian Families need a house to live in.

8. Early Learning Centre Ballet Dress, £15.99 - She's going to start ballet lessons soon. So she definitely wants this!

9. 16 Piece Kensington Blue Tea Set, £29.99 {not pictured} - Esmeralda LOVES her plastic tea set, and I think it might be time for an upgrade . . . .

10. Legler Dream Fabric Doll's Cot, £25.99  - Esmeralda would love putting her baby to bed in this!

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Monday, 16 December 2013

Beauty Christmas Gift List for Mums

Now I don't normally feature my wedding blog posts here on Before the Baby, but I thought this Christmas Gift List would work perfectly for mums looking to add a bit of glamour to their Christmas. Created by Before the Big Day's Beauty Editor, Julia Bowden, it's chock-a-block with fabulous stocking-fillers, and brilliant beauty ideas. My favourites are the Glossy Box Subscription, and the Laura Mercier Luxe Colour Wardrobe Makeup Set....so if anyone's reading this, you know what I'll be looking for under the tree!

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left 

1. Melvita Nectar Bright Brightening Cream, £36 – This is a great brightening cream that you use to get a luminous complexion. It has a lovely fresh floral scent, and gives your skin a dewy glow.

2. Laura Mercier Luxe Colour Wardrobe Makeup Set, £65 – Even though I'm a make-up artist, I always struggle to create a sleek handbag set. This solves all the problems, with a compact case containing the perfect products for eyes, cheeks and face.

3. Glossy Box Subscription - I was lucky enough to get given one of these at the Wedding Blog Awards. A great way for beauty enthusiasts to keep up to date with new beauty products. You get a selection of products each month for as little as £10 per month.

4. Monu Micro Exfollient, £15.95 – A great little find I discovered in my Glossy Box at the Wedding Blog Awards - this is a great dual-action microdermabrasion cream. It's not too harsh on the skin and smells dreamy

5. Ren Clearcalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask, £29.95 - I got to meet with Rui Branco, the Global director of Education and Training for REN last month. He’s the REN Skincare guru and such a lovely man. He gave me lots of advice about my spot prone skin, and this is high on my hit list. It reduces visible blemishes and clears the skin – a great way to kick start a clearer skin regime for the New Year.

6. Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, £28.50 – For hair so dry you don't know what to do with it. Put it on before shampooing for 10 minutes, and it's like having a new head of hair.

7. Neom Organic Treatment Candle in Rose & Neroli, £39.50 – You can't go wrong with this little treat. Great to light in the bath for pure relaxation

8. James Read BB Gradual Face Tan, £22.50 – As it’s winter even more reason to give your face a little sun kissed glow and best of all you can tie it in with your skincare regime. I met with James Last month and not only is he the nicest man on the planet but his products are brilliant. I can’t sing the praises of this tanning range enough. All it’s products smell great, go on easily without streaking and have outstanding results.

9. ProGenius Nude Treatment Oil, £58 - If like me you also have dry patches {as well as spots – lucky me!} don’t despair. To some, it may feel odd putting oil on the skin, but this ProGenius oil nourishes and protects, and sometimes stops the skin from secreting too much sebum thus counteracting the blemishes. With Omega 6, 7 & 9 – it’s a treat for winter-battered skin.

10.  MAC Nocturnals Pigments & Glitter - Black & Gold, £25.50 – Last but not least we all need a bit of Christmas sparkle in our make –up bag. These 5 stackable jars will dazzle everyone for those special occasions and will last you forever.

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Friday, 13 December 2013

All I Want For Christmas - 6-12 Months Baby Gift List

All year, I've been collecting a list on my Amazon Wish List of all the presents I'd like to buy for Ivo. Most of them are non-essentials, and since he's got lots of toys, I felt it would be naughty and spoiling to buy them. Now, I get to choose a few for Christmas! What are you planning to get your baby? I know they don't really know it's Christmas, but watching them eat wrapping paper is all part of the fun!

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

1. jChew Chocolate Bar Silicone Teether, £10.50 - Ivo loves to chew, and it looks hilarious!

2. Melissa & Doug Giraffe, £51.86 - It's enormous! Ivo loves things that are larger than him, and this giant giraffe would blow his little baby mind.

3. Jellycat Medium Bashful Monkey, £15.99 - We have two lovely rabbits, but I think a boy should always have at least one monkey in his life

4. Nuby Monster Sippy Cup, £3.15 - Maybe it would encourage him to actually drink out of a sippy cup? We can live in hope!

5. Melissa & Doug Wooden Animal Nesting Blocks, £9.54 - So I can build them, and he can knock them down just as fast!

6. Lamaze Inchworm Toy, £8.79 - Lamaze toys are amazing, and I love the rainbow quality to this toy. Also, it's long, and Ivo will love to wave it around.

7. Pebble Penguin Toy, £24.95 - Just because it's the cutest thing I've seen in a while!

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Thursday, 12 December 2013

What's Your View on Playpens?

When it comes to playpens, I'm decided.....they're essential. My sister never got one for her son - so I understand there are two camps on this issue, but in our flat, Ivo's playpen {or playden as I like to call it}, is a key piece of kit. We're planning on having another baby while he's still small, and I can't imagine what else you're meant to do with a little toddler, if you've got to breastfeed one, and prevent the other from chewing on wires, and opening drawers. I've started Ivo in his playpen early, because I've heard that if you get children used to them, then they're less likely to complain later. I'm not sure that's entirely accurate, because aged 8 months, Ivo already holds on to the bars like he thinks he's in prison. Equally, he's happy to hang out in his den playing for at least 20 minutes, which gives me time to go the loo, shower and unload the dishwasher. I recommend the BabyDan from Argos {my favourite high-street store for nursery essentials!}. My husband set it up in no time at all, and it's roomier than a travel cot, with a comfortable cushioned base. You can also extend it into a room divider, should you manage to make part of your house baby-proof - an impossible task, as far as I can tell!

{I want this!} Ivo standing up for the first time in his BabyDan from Argos, £69.95

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

My Favourite Christmas Stocking

Every now and then I spot something that I just HAVE to have. Usually it's too expensive, and I make myself wait until the sale. Then I forget to log on on Christmas Day, and miss it entirely. But this time, I'm going to set myself an alarm, because I've fallen hook, line and sinker, for this huge hand-knitted Christmas stocking from The White Company. They've already reduced it 30%, but at £24, it's still too extravagant a buy, particularly since I'd like to buy one for everyone in our family. Wouldn't they look gorgeous hung on the mantlepiece in years to come? I don't have a fireplace yet, but some time in the future..... I'm pretty keen on this mitten as well!

{I want this!} Classic Hand-Knitted Stocking from The White Company, £24

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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Cute Animal Baby Bodysuits

Every now and then I'll stumble across a baby product that I just have to have! This Christmas pug bodysuit by Square Paisley Design falls firmly into that category. But then I checked out their website, and discovered tonnes of other gorgeous designs, including this sausage dog reindeer bodysuit. And now I'm stuck, because I want all of them. Which would you choose?

{I want this} Christmas Pug Onesie / Bodysuit, £9.51

{I want this} 1. Llama Onesie / Bodysuit, £9.51 2. Pug Onesie / Bodysuit, £9.51

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Three of the Best Toy Balls for Your Baby

A few weeks ago we realised that Ivo didn't own a single toy ball! Considering my husband has high hopes that Ivo's going to be a very well paid sportsman of some sort, this was a serious aberration in the world of toy purchases. My husband decided this was the kind of task he could really get his teeth into, and thanks to the wonders of Amazon Prime {I love Amazon!}, three balls arrived in the post the next day. They've all been a huge success for different reasons, and I'd recommend all three for a six month old. P.S. If you've ever wanted to buy a toy, and wondered which are the best, go to the Amazon website, and change the 'Sort By' drop down menu to 'Popularity'. You'll be amazed how many people get really passionate in their toy reviews!

{I want this} Clockwise from Top Left

1. Maisy Mouse Soft Ball, £6.79 - This ball is smaller than the others, and made out of a wipeable plastic. For some reason Ivo gets very excited whenever he sees it, and waves it madly before gumming it with real passion. I haven't worked out why he loves it so much - maybe the texture? A winner either way!

VTech Crawl and Learn Bright Lights Ball, £8.70 - This brilliant ball magically rolls on its own, so it encourages your baby to chase after it. Ivo's not crawling yet, but he's very good at dragging himself along on his tummy. There's lots of buttons to press, and each one creates a different noise, and although Ivo hasn't figured out what's what, he accidentally presses the buttons all the time, and loves the noises and bright lights. It does sing ALOT, and after a while the tune will be engraved on your brain, but I reckon that's just the deal with being a parent.

3. Blossom Farm Chime Ball, £5.80 - This ball is a super-soft and would be suitable for babies much younger than Ivo's six months. It contains a soft-sounding bell, that chimes gently, and Ivo loves shaking it like a rattle. This is the ball we've used for practicing catch - you can throw the ball at your baby, and even if you miss slightly and it bounces off their nose, it doesn't hurt! It's squishy enough for little chubby hands to hold easily, and there's a nice long label that Ivo likes to gum.

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Monday, 25 November 2013

What You Need in Your Baby Changing Bag

As I was writing my last blogpost about my amazing PacaPod Mirano, I realised it might be helpful for new mums to have a list of all the stuff you'll need in your baby changing bag. I was all about being organised before my baby arrived, so my baby bag was packed and ready to go at least a month before my due date {Ivo was late, but babies can be early!}. I did a massive Boots shop online, and had three boxes of baby supplies delivered {see my Essential Baby List}. It seemed a bit silly at the time, but honestly, once your baby arrives, your brain literally stops working, and the simplest of tasks can seem overwhelming. The more you can do in preparation beforehand, the better. So......here's my conservative list of what you should pack in your PacaPod {other baby changing bags are available!}.....

 2 nappies for every hour you're out the house, plus one for luck {start using Pampers & then move to supermarket nappies once you've got the hang of things}
 a full-ish pack of baby wipes {you'll be amazing how many you need}
 nappy bin bags
 foldable changing mat
 pot of Sudocrem {an oldie but goodie}
 hand sanitiser
 full change of clothes
 at least three muslins and bibs
 extra large muslin for general use - my favourites are aden & anais swaddles
 two spare sterilised bottles
 two spare punnets of milk / food if they're weaning
 your wallet, phone, Oyster card {for Londoners} & keys
 iPhone charger {my phone is never charged}
 don't worry about make-up, etc - you won't have time to put that on for many months!

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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Why You Need A Baby Changing Bag!

Before my baby, I never really saw the need for changing bags. Wouldn't a normal handbag do the job? Well that changed pretty sharpish after Ivo's birth, when I discovered the sheer quantity of STUFF you have to carry with you, before you go anywhere with a baby. And the challenge of trying to keep it organised. You can guarantee you'll lose the baby wipes in the depths of your bag just as your baby decides to wee all over you mid-change {little boys will do that nearly every change at first}. Add in baby brain, and unless you've got a specific place in your bag for everything, you won't remember where you've put it. I've lost count of the number of times I've 'lost' my iPhone, only to discover it in my back-pocket. Well that was before discovered the sheer amazingness that is the PacaPod. These fantastic bags have two secret weapons - the unique feeder, and changing pods. I have the blue PacaPod Mirano, and I couldn't live without it. Everything has its place, there's even a key tag, a bottle sleeve, a little bag for dirty clothes, and a changing mat. Every bag comes special straps to help you hang it off your pram, and the pods come out and velcro around your pram handle, if you only want to take one pod with you, rather than the whole bag. They've literally thought of everything!

{I want this!} PacaPod Mirano, £99

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

Best New Baby Present - aden & anais Swaddles

Baby showers may be a new phenomenon for the UK, but they've become a must-do amongst my best friends, and I've known girls to compete to throw the best event. I'm a huge fan - they're a fantastic way to catch up with all your girlfriends before you disappear into the baby bubble for a few months, plus you get presents and cake - sooooooo much better than hen nights! But baby shower gifting can get quite competitive, as the expectant mother usually opens her presents in front of everyone, to much oohs and aahs. Luckily I've discovered the perfect buy - aden and anais Swaddles. Not only are they incredibly useful, they've got the royal seal of approval, after Prince George was spotted leaving hospital wrapped in his little bird swaddle. I use mine for everything - as a cosy cover-up {they fold down to a tiny portable roll}, mopping up dribble, and to shield Ivo from the sun on a recent holiday. The patterns are all adorable, and they have a real luxury feel, partly because they're so huge! My favourite is the Night Sky four-pack, but if your budget's a bit tighter, they come in pairs, and pretty singles as well.

{I want this!} 1. & 2. aden & anais Night Sky four-pack, £35.11 | 3. aden and anais Night Sky Musy Muslin Squares, £18.67 | 4. aden & anais Night Sky Snap bibs, £19.95

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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Introducing Alice Cowen Personal Training for Your Post-Baby Body

If you're a new mum looking to tone up and lose your baby weight, I'm delighted to recommend my great friend Alice Cowen. Alice is back from three busy years in Mallorca, and now available for personal training in the UK. Alice is a secret weapon for her celebrity clients, as she's known to whip people into shape in just a couple of months. So if you're looking for a last-minute blast ahead of the Christmas parties, or a more gradual long-term figure-change for the summer, then do take a look at her website. Alice is mum to one-year old Indigo, so she understands the need to fit health and fitness around a busy mother's schedule, and just how to get that tummy flat again! She's based in Somerset, but comes up to London three days a week, and she's also available for Skype training.....and if you think you can get away with cheating on the squats via Skype, think again! This girl is strict! Read more about Alice on her Bootique blog.

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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Cutest Crocheted Baby Mobile in the World

If you're a regular reader, you've probably got bored of me banging on about Etsy, but I can't tell you how amazing it is for original baby products. All these new eastern European sellers have recently joined, and their creativity is amazing! Latest on my love-list are these crocheted mobiles from CherryTime in Slovenia. Aren't they perfect for a shabby chic wedding? Mojca hand-makes them, so she's open to bespoke orders, and there's plenty more in her Etsy shop - these are just my favourites. Enjoy!

More posts like this one:
Exciting Teepee Dens
My Giraffe Nursery Obsession

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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Lovely Buys for a Star Themed Nursery

Even though I didn't go the whole hog, and decorate Ivo's nursery entirely with a star theme, I still managed to collect lots of gorgeous star items - mostly presents from my friends. Stars are a great theme if you don't know the gender of your little one, so if you're still considering how to decorate your baby's room, take a look at these pretty products. I also own these star swaddles by Aden & Anais, this rabbit by Petit Bateau {a lovely gift from my friend Georgie}, and these star bibs by Mothercare {another baby shower present!}.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Great Wallpaper Ideas for Your Baby's Nursery

Before my baby was born, I decided I wanted a star theme for my nursery. Of course life caught up with me, and instead of spending hours decorating, I worked right up to my due date. It's only now, 6 months down the line, that I'm considering how to brighten up his room. He's much more aware now, and looking around, so I'm keen to add plenty of details to keep him occupied. If we weren't planning to move, I'd add some fabulous wallpaper, like these gorgeous designs by Ana-Moly. Instead, I've got to go for something a big more temporary - so I'm researching lots of wall stickers, or decals. I'll keep you posted on what I choose - all suggestions welcome!

{I want this!} Donkey wallpaper, 10 metre roll, £78

{I want this!} Fish wallpaper, 10 metre roll, £78

{I want this!} Robin wallpaper, 10 metre roll, £78

{I want this!} Geese wallpaper, 10 metre roll, £78

More posts like this one:
✽ My 5 Favourite Baby Apps
✽ Baby Clothes - 5 Things Not To Buy

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Friday, 1 November 2013

Sausage Dog Baby Bloomers

I'm a huge fan of sausage dogs - I love how they go on......and.....on! So a combination of baby bloomers {cute!}, and a plaid sausage dog {cuter!}, makes me very happy. Fern & Faun makes beautiful baby and children's clothes, and I love every item. These bloomers, or diaper covers, as they call them in the USA are reversible, and every detail is handmade. For more gorgeous clothing take a look at these adorable trousers, and this cute dress for starters.

{I want this!} Puppy Bloomers, £14

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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Reviewing the Quinny Moodd

As I've mentioned before on the blog, last weekend Ivo and I visited the long-awaited Baby Show at London Olympia. We were the guests of Dorel UK , and they were kind enough to give me a brand new Quinny Moodd Pushchair to try out, as I explored round the show. The buggy was excellent. Ivo's now quite a large six months, so he didn't really need the cosy newborn insert, but he enjoyed its snuggliness, and even fell asleep for an hour - a miracle considering how much was going on around him. The Quinny Moodd handled really well - there were plenty of obstacles to manoeuvre, not least other distracted mums with their buggies! I'm new to Quinny, so I was really impressed with how easy it was to collapse the pram, and change the seat, so it faced in rather than out. Plus the chair reclines easily from sitting to lying down. Even the handle bar is easily adjustable. The most exciting thing is that it folds so neatly onto itself - it goes so small! Then, if you want to put it up again, you press a button, and it seamlessly unfolds, thanks to a unique gas spring. The dads will definitely enjoy that feature! All-in-all a great buggy - and super-stylish - I lost count of the number of mums-to-be who stopped me to ask what I was driving!

{I want this!} Quinny Moodd Pushchair in Natural Delight, £509

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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Great Way to Get Dads Involved in Playtime

I'm a strong believer that everyone has at least one genius invention in them, just hovering for the right moment to surface! Jessica Jackson's brainchild emerged when she picked up a sharpie, and drew a race-track on the back of her husband's t-shirt. In that minute, the Car Play Shirt was invented. It's the t-shirt that lets daddy stretch out and relax, while playing with the kids! Even if your husband is exhausted, he can still interact with your little ones - by just lying on the floor. It's the perfect present for my husband - how about yours?

{I want this} Car Play T-shirt, £14 from The Blue Basket Shop

{I want this}  P.S. This alphabet shirt is great too! £14 from The Blue Basket Shop

More posts like this one:
Stylish Spelling Toys

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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Review of The Baby Show

Last weekend Ivo and I visited the long-awaited Baby Show at London Olympia, and it was brilliant! I had no idea what to expect, but I would thoroughly recommend it to any mum-to-be, and anyone with a young child. Every big baby exhibitor is there, so it's a great way to compare and contrast products, not least baby buggies. I even spotted a 'race track', where you could try out your pram around hairpin bends! I took along my friend Georgina, who's expecting a baby next year, and she picked up tonnes of bargains - including a Stokke Sleepi Cot, and a Fisher-Price Rainforest Baby Gym. Georgie also enjoyed a free massage thanks to Fisher-Price, and we both tried out their giant baby bouncer - complete with a vibrate function, and giant toys! The next Baby Show is 21-23rd February at London's Excel Centre - book your tickets now!

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Friday, 25 October 2013

1st Stage Baby Weaning - My 8 Top Buys

When it came to weaning, we decided to wait until six months. Ivo's never been a huge eater, and I was worried his milk intake would drop to sharply, plus I was a little bit nervous about the next step! So with a certain level of trepidation, and with Gina Ford's The Contented Little Baby Book Of Weaning clasped in my sweaty hand, we started with a bit of baby rice mixed with formula. He loved it! And since then, he's been eating with gusto, trying out pear, apple, carrot, sweet potato and even courgette {which I thought tasted foul!}. There's a few pieces of kit that I've found absolutely essential - and I thought I'd share them with you, if you're planning to wean your baby. Take a look, and do tell me your suggestions!

{I want this} Clockwise from top left

 Philips Jamie Oliver Hand Blender, £54.84 - This fantastic blender is all you need to puree vegetables into a satisfying baby-friendly mush

✿ Tommee Tippee Explora Weaning Kit, £9.49 - This is a fantastic kit & very reasonably priced. It's all you need for the first few weeks of weaning. The spoons are lovely and soft, and the pots perfect for storing purees in the fridge over night. I haven't used the First Sips Cup yet, but the larger mashing pot is great for travelling, as it stores the spoon safely.

✿ Annabel Karmel's Weaning, £6.99 - I always like to refer to two books when it comes to working out what's best to do with Ivo. Annabel's book has lots of lovely recipe ideas, in an easy to read format.

✿ Bumbo Seat & Play Tray Combo Pack, £47.45 - When I first bought the Bumbo, I wasn't really sure how we'd end up using it. But now Ivo's weaning, it's come into its own! We wedge him in safely, and he loves bashing an empty lid against the play tray while he eats. Once he's a bit bigger will advance to the Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair, but for the meantime, the Bumbo is king!

 Colourful bowls from Ikea, £1 - cheap and cheerful, they're the perfect size. Ikea also has a fantastic range of cups and cutlery for only £1, so I'll be buying those once he's a bit bigger.

✿ Tommee Tippee Explora Roll N Go Bib, £3.49 - I wasn't sure which bib would be the best, so I bought two. This one is brilliant at catching drips and spills, and it's easy to rinse. However, Ivo sometimes gets distracted, and tries to gum it, rather than his food.

✿ Gina Ford's The Contented Little Baby Book Of Weaning, £6.65 - Ivo is a Gina Ford baby, so I was bound to use her book for weaning. She's helped me get him into a fantastic sleeping routine, and I'm more-or-less following her weaning timetable.

✿ MAM Bibetta Ultra Bib Bubbles, £4.43 - This is the second bib I bought - it's machine washable, and less gummable. It's softer around his neck, and super easy to roll and pack for trips away.

More posts like this one:
Baby Clothes - 5 Things Not To Buy
✽ My 5 Favourite Baby Apps

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Thursday, 24 October 2013

How To Persuade Your Baby To Sleep Till 7am

If there's one product I would recommend to a new mother, it's this one. We have a black out blind in the nursery and black out curtains from the Little White Company, but chinks of light still slip in. Not so much of a problem at bedtime, but in the morning our little one would rise as soon as the sun slipped through those chinks....i.e. 5am in the summer. That was until we bought the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind. This stick-on blind really works - the room is pitch black once you've attached the suckers - and it's easily portable for trips away. We've taken it everywhere with us, and it's saved us from horribly early mornings.

{I want this!} Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind, £22

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Baby's Favourite Toys - Ivo at 6 Months

It's been a few weeks since I last wrote about Ivo's favourite toys, and it's amazing how his interests has developed. Movement is now the name of the game, and anything that helps him bounce is a much-loved toy. Top of the list is the Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo. He absolutely loves it! In the last couple of weeks, he's started to understand distance, so he's not so keen on us walking away from him....unless he's busy jumping in the Jumperoo. Many washes have been put on, and bottles made while he bounces {noisily} around. We've put it by the window, so he can look out onto the terrace, and there's nothing he likes more than gumming on the fly/butterfly. My friend's baby is a little older, and he's just discovered the toys above him, so it's definitely the toy that keeps on giving. Hugely recommended for busy mothers!

{I want this!} Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo, £84

More posts like this one:
Favourite Toys - Ivo at 19 weeks
My 5 Favourite Baby Apps

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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Secret for Saving Money on Stokke Products

I'm a massive fan of Stokke products. It started with the Stokke Xplory, and quickly migrated to their cot {the Stokke Sleepi}, changing table {Stokke Care} and now Stokke Trip Trapp high chair! But there's no doubt they're super-expensive, and while I don't mind spending the money on the clever design, it does bother me how much they charge for the extras. For example, a fitted sheet for the Stokke Sleepi is £30, and you'll need at least two, so that's £60 on top of the cost of the cot at £600. Luckily I've discovered two secret ways to save money on Stokke products. The first is eBay - I bought the changing table and the high chair for a quarter of their normal price second hand. The second is CosyTots - an amazing shop selling homemade sheets for Stokke products, travel cots and Moses baskets. They even make-to-order. I sent in the details of my Baby Bjorn travel cot, and they sent me a lovely soft sheet in time for my holiday. The Stokke sheets are great quality, and the customer service is exceptional, and at £10 a sheet, you'll save a fortune!

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Friday, 27 September 2013

An Amazing Offer for the Baby Show

Have you ever been to a Baby Show before? Nope, me either, but I can't tell you how excited I am to be going to my first one on 26th October. The Baby Show is taking place at London Olympia from 25 to 27 October, and it sounds A-mazing!! I'm going as a guest of Dorel UK {the makers of Maxi-Cosi car seats & Quinny baby strollers}, and I'll be reviewing a secret new product....even I don't know what it is yet! The Baby Show sounds like a fantastic event for parents or pregnant couples, with over 300 trusted brands and 200 specialist exhibitors, I can't wait to check out all the new and innovative baby products. The best news is that you can go too! I've been given a special code so that you can get tickets at a reduced rate. Instead of spending £20, if you click here, you can get a ticket for only £11.95. Amazing! See you there.....

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Easy & Obvious Advice for Making Baby Formula

This is such obvious advice, I feel a bit silly typing it up. But considering both my husband and I are university educated, and reasonably intelligent, and yet it still took us four months to figure it out, I thought I might as well write a quick piece for all those new parents out there. If you're making a bottle of milk for your newborn baby, the advice is to always make it to order, with freshly-boiled water from the tap. But that means you've got to cool your boiling hot bottle, and if you're disorganised {like me}, your baby is already hungry, and not keen on waiting for the milk to cool. So all you need to do is follow these three easy steps.

Three Easy Steps
1. Always keep a spare bottle of cooled kettle water in the fridge. 
2. Add half boiling water {which sterilises the milk powder and dissolves it nice and easily}, and then top up with cold water. 
3. Ta-dah! Milk the perfect temperature. 

Needless to say, you'll still want to test it my dripping a bit on your wrist. For more advice on making formula, take a look at NHS Choices. It's where I go whenever I want straight-forward advice I can trust.

More posts like this one:
My 5 Favourite Baby Apps
✽ Baby Clothes - 5 Things Not To Buy

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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Loving Winter Baby Clothes by Mini-Boden

It's been a long time coming, but I'm suddenly obsessed with Boden. My mother's been talking about it for ages, but it wasn't until they sent me a money-off voucher, that I looked at their online catalogue. They just do the best baby boy clothes. Too many shops focus their creativity on baby girls {Baby Gap, Monsoon}, but it's all fair and square on Mini-Boden. Just take a look at these lovely outfits! They're not cheap, but my sister {mother to a 4-year old} says the clothes really last....and I've found a healthy second-hand market for them on eBay.

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left - 1. Novelty Hat & Mittens Set, £22 | 2. Bus Logo Jumper, £24, | 3. Vintage Bike T-shirt, £12 | 4. Vintage Car T-shirt, £12 | 5. Star Patch Trousers, £17.80 | 6. Vintage Plane T-shirt, £12, | 7. Bus Logo Jumper, £24.

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left - 1. Knitted Dress, £25 | 2. Novelty Hat & Mittens Set, £22 | 3. Fair Isle Knitted Dress, £25 | 4. Quilted Jersey Jacket, £20 | 5. Pretty Playset, £24 | 6. 3 Pack Patterned Tights, £14 | 7. Baby Cord Bloomers, £16.

More posts like this one:
Before the Baby Loves M&S
Baby Clothes - 5 Things Not To Buy

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Perfect Peas in Pod Baby Rattle

This gorgeous two peas in a pod rattle by Deerseason is exactly why I started Before the Baby. There's so much incredible creativity out there in the UK, and buckets of amazing baby products just crying out {sorry!} to be showcased on a baby blog like this one. I've been as guilty as any mum for buying the bog-standard {if lovely} Lamaze toys, and now I'm determined to change my ways, and look for original, handmade products. P.S. This Hungry Caterpillar rattle by Precious By Sarah is a new favourite!

{I want this!} Two Peas in a Pod Rattle, £14.48 by Deerseason

More posts like this one:
✽ My Top 6 Baby Bathing Products
✽ Baby's Favourite Toys at 14 Weeks

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Thursday, 12 September 2013

Baby's Favourite Toys - Ivo at 19 weeks

Right now, for Ivo it's all about the gumming. He's not exactly teething, although there's plenty of saliva - I think it's more that he likes to feel the texture of things in his mouth. Toys that previously just got swatted, are now getting the full wet-effect. He's also spotted our iPhones, and loves nothing more than to be allowed to lick them, and attempt a side-gum. And everyday items like paper are suddenly attractive - anything that makes a noise when scrumpled. Labels are also getting much more attention - I never really understood why all the Lamaze toys had little ribbons sewn onto them, but now I get it! Here's his two favourites from this week.

1. Lamaze Freddie The Firefly - You'd think we had enough Lamaze toys, but Daddy bought him this one, and he loves the crinkly wings. Add in the rings and the ladybird teether, and we're talking the perfect toy for the mega-gum.

2. Marks & Spencer's Linking Rings Toy - We actually bought these rings second hand from a Fara charity shop for £1.50, but you can get them from good old M&S. They're our best buy ever - they're the perfect shape for grasping chubby hands, they rattle in a very satisfying manner, and they're very gummable.

More posts like this one:
✽ My Top 6 Baby Bathing Products
✽ Baby's Favourite Toys at 14 Weeks

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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

An Easy Way to Breastfeed in Public

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have spotted that I've recently stopped breastfeeding. It was a super-sad day, but we'd got to the point when Ivo's only breastfeed was in the middle of the night, and I decided I'd prefer to sleep through! While I was feeding, I was determined it wasn't going to stop me going out {easier said than done!}. Like many of us, I'm a bit shy to get my boobs out in public, but one of my girlfriends gave me an amazing Bebe Au Lait nursing cover. They have this amazing semi-rigid neckline that scoops out, so that you can maintain eye-contact with your baby while feeding, without anyone needing to see a nipple. Also it keeps the airflow going, so they don't get too hot - a big deal this summer. Obviously I'm a massive supporter of feeding in public, and no one should feel they have to cover-up....but if you want to, I really recommend buying one. My favourite is the Black Eyelet because I'm often wearing black, and it looks like an elegant scarf. P.S. Hilariously they call them Hooter Hiders in the US....

{I want this!} Babe au Lait Nursing Cover, £31.75

More posts like this one:
Best Baby Travel Accessories - The Snooze Shade
Livy Luloo Pram Liners

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