Wednesday, 29 January 2014

An Amazing {Giant} Playpen

At nine months, Ivo has got pretty active. He can crawl at full speed, and can't wait to walk - pulling himself up to standing on anything and everything. All of our sudden our open-plan apartment is full of hazards, and loathe to remove every coffee table book, coaster and picture frame - we decided to create a safe baby zone. A few months ago, we bought the amazing BabyDan Playpen, which has worked brilliantly. But now Ivo's bigger, I felt we needed something that gave him more space. Introducing.......the Baby Vivo Playpen. This brightly coloured wonder is supremely child friendly, with its bright colours, and wipe-clean, gummable sides. You can expand it and expand it, and we've already bought the BIG version - I think the 12-sided version would take over our entire flat! First spotted at an NCT friend's flat, I'm hoping it's going to be the ultimate solution for an inquisitive baby. P.S. Despite its size, Ivo still knows he's caged....

{I want this!} Baby Vivo Playpen, £159 from Amazon. Inside {& now removed} the BabyDan Playpen, £79.95

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Colourful Rainbow Personalised Giraffe

My giraffe obsession continues unabated. Ivo loves them too - he can't get over his massive Melissa & Doug giraffe that we bought him for Christmas. This is a personalised name giraffe in rainbow colours. She's made from soft grey fleece fabric, colourful felt and rainbow ribbon, and she's hand-stitched in Falkirk, Scotland by Kirsty for Made By Eden Grace. You can also choose to make her into a rattle toy for an extra sensory experience for your baby. Kirsty makes a lovely selection of hand-sewn fleece toys and nursery decor to make you smile, so do take a look at her website.

{I want this!} Rainbow Name Giraffe, £20 by Made By Eden Grace

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Top 5 Buys for Baby Swimming

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to do more activities with Ivo, and I've been meaning to take him swimming for months. We tried a tester class back when he was three months old, and he hated it. He made this 'bark' of fear, which I'd never heard before, and I spent the whole class trying to calm him down. I think it was partly the noise of the children's pool at half term, and partly the shock of the water. We tried again on holiday, and just about got him smiling, but I think the water was still a bit too cold. However I was determined to get him into it, because when I was a child, I was a real water baby, and loved snorkelling around swimming pools, and feeling confident in the water. So last week I signed up for a course at Ironmongers Row Baths, our local swimming pool. The classes cost about £5 each, and I've signed up for about three months - a serious commitment! Luckily Ivo loved it! He didn't even notice getting into the water, he was too excited about watching all the other children, and then he found the blowing bubbles hilarious. He definitely isn't 'swimming' yet - some of the more experienced babies are already kicking their legs, but he's very happy splashing in the water. I can't wait till next week!

{Photo Credit} Ivo swimming in Greece

Going Swimming
Getting ready to go swimming was quite an effort. I had my husband with me to help, but there's a few things I'd recommend to make the process of getting changed easier. Also, a few purchases you might want to make! I feel a list coming on....

1. Put your swimming costume on under your clothes, so you don't have to change at the pool. Don't wear a bikini {like I did!} - it's worth buying a swimming costume, so you feel completely comfortable leaning over, and bouncing your baby. I've just bought this swimming costume from Figleaves in the sale for £25.

2. Make sure you've got a hair tie. You won't have time to wash or dry your hair after swimming {unless you have a very patient baby}, so try not to get it wet.

3. Take minimal valuables - literally just your phone and some cash. Make sure you have some change {usually £1} for the locker.

4. I'd recommend taking your pram, as it's a good spot to put your baby when you're getting changed. You might want to take a pram-lock for security.

5. Pack a dressing towelling dressing gown for yourself. They're bulky, but it's a great way for you to stay warm while you get your baby dressed.

6. Make up a bottle of milk ready for your baby immediately after swimming. They're often hungry and tired, and this avoids a changing room screaming session.

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

Must Buys

Jojo Maman All-In-one Swim Suit, £18.00 - This was a great buy for our holiday, and keeps your baby cosy in the water.

2. Cosy Baby Wetsuit, £9.99 - One way to stop your baby getting upset, is to keep them as warm as possible. This wrap-around suit does the business.

3. Skip Hop Hooded Towel, £18 - Cosy & cute towel to dry your baby after your class.

4. Huggies Little Swimmers Hygeine Mat, £4.65 - A great idea to keep wet babies off the grubby floor. You can use this over a changing table, or on a bench, before swimming, and plonk them on it afterwards, while you quickly get dry.

5. Huggies Little Swimmers Nappies, £7.82 - An essential buy to contain any major accidents. They fasten easily at the sides, and pull off after your swimming session.

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Baby's Favourite Toys - Ivo at 8 Months

Ivo loves wheels, specifically dirty wheels. He crawls towards them at surprising speed, with an expression of complete joy, and his mouth wide open, ready for a big lick. His pram is an item of extreme love, particularly if we've just been out in the rain. For a few weeks, I tried to stop him, and then slightly gave up, until my husband spotted him having a particularly long nosh. He decided action needed to be taken, and we discussed the possibility of providing alternative wheels to lick. That led us to order VTech Baby First Steps Baby Walker on Amazon. Ivo loved it immediately. It plays surprisingly loud music, and has lots of wiggly bits, and a phone which we pretend to answer, to much hilarity. Plus if he opens a door, it says 'Peek-a-boo, I see you!'. This is now ingrained on my mind, because he opens it over, and over again. The added (and completely unexpected) benefit is that he used to stand up for the first time! We didn't even know he'd reached that stage, but the joy on his face, as he clambered up, was something to behold. So a massive tick of recommendation for the VTech Baby Walker. P.S. He pretty much ignores the wheels.

{I want this!} VTech Baby First Steps Baby Walker, £16.49

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

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Old MacDonald First Birthday Party

Ivo's only nine months, and my thoughts are already turning to his first birthday party, and which fun theme I'll choose. There's nothing I like more than spending hours on Pinterest, getting party inspiration, and then trying to re-create some of the details. I started doing some basic crafting ahead of my wedding, and if you've never tried it before, I really recommend it - the satisfaction is immense! Anyway, Ivo's favourite nursery rhyme is Old MacDonald, complete with enthusiastic oinking and moo-ing, so one possible theme would be farm based! Here are some of my favourite ideas, for more, take a look at my Pinterest page.

Friday, 3 January 2014

All I Want For Christmas - 12-18mths Boys Gift List

So Christmas completely caught up with me, and I didn't manage to publish all my Christmas lists in time! I've decided to put them up nevertheless, because the present choices are so brilliant, and perfect for parents and friends looking for an age-appropriate birthday toy. This is my friend Alice Cowen's Christmas List. Her son, Indigo, is just over a year, and she's got another baby due any day! When she's not just about to give birth, she works as an amazing personal trainer, and writes a fabulous lifestyle blog called Bootique. Do check it out!

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

 VTech Baby Bathtime Bubbles Whale, £19.99 - Once babies start pulling themselves up, it's a nightmare to keep them seated in the bath. This toy keeps them distracted!

2. John Lewis Music Maker Toy, £18 - Every baby loves to make music.

3. Aquadoodle Drawing Toy, £25.99 - Mess-free drawing!

4. I'M Toys Cow Rider, £47.99 - Sooooo cute!

5. Rolling Wooden Shape Sorter from Mothercare, £12.00 - Great for learning spacial skills.

{I want this!} Clockwise from Top Left

6. Tomy Hide 'n' Squeak Eggs, £4.49 - Every baby I know loves these eggs.

7. Canvas High Tops from Mini-Boden, £11.40 - A cool dude requires cool treads!

8. John Lewis Tractor & Trailer Set, £22 - Indigo's recently moved to the countryside, so this set will help him get in the mood for his new life.

9. & 10. Melissa and Doug Wooden Food Sets, £14.99 - Indigo's getting a wooden kitchen for Christmas, so these lovely wooden food sets, will work perfectly to spark his imagination.

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS. 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Best Baby Monitor in the World

A baby monitor is a key buy for any new parent. For the first few months it'll be your lifeline, as you try to persuade yourself that your baby hasn't stopped breathing the moment you turned your back. I literally carried mine around with me, such was my paranoia! If you're new to this world, there's three broad categories - sound, video, and the all-singing-all-dancing movement monitor. I've tried the first two types and both were excellent. We started with the BT 250 Digital Baby Monitor - which had rave reviews from my sister, and many of my friends. The base glows a gentle orange, and it plays nursery rhymes, but to be honest I only used it for monitoring. It works across a decent distance {through old, stone, farmhouse walls}, and never let me down. We only changed because Ivo started rolling at a really young age, but could only roll onto his tummy, not back again. This completely freaked me out, so I decided to buy a video monitor. I hugely recommend the Motorola MBP36 Digital Video Baby Monitor - the night vision is fab, the monitor is really big, and basically it'll be your new TV. I can't count the number of times I've stopped myself disturbing Ivo unnecessarily when he's cried out, because I can see on the screen that actually he's fine. You can even speak to your baby remotely, although I've tried shushing a few times, and it doesn't really work!

{I want this!} 1.  BT 250 Digital Baby Monitor, £46.50 | 2. Motorola MBP36 Digital Video Baby, £99.99

Like this post? Sign up for the Before the Baby newsletter by email or RSS.