Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Reviewing Gorgeous Yellow Bird Baby Moccasins

Moccasins are THE latest baby trend. I've been desperate to get Ivo a pair for months, and now he's finally starting to walk {12 steps today and counting!}, it seems like the perfect moment to get involved. It's important to me that his shoes are still soft enough for him to feel the floor through the soles - I have a theory that makes it easier for him to walk - and Yellow Bird Moccasins are ideal! They're made out of butter-soft leather, with cute tassels, and come in a fantastic range of colours. I found it really hard to choose, but eventually went with Saint Louis Blue. Handmade by mum-of-one Max Woodall-Collins, who's a fellow Londoner, they're just the most adorable little shoes, and they come beautifully packaged {see my Instagram feed & Facebook site for pictures} - so a great present idea!

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✿ Choosing Your Baby's First Shoes

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Monday, 28 April 2014

Branded Nappies – Essential or Luxury?

Considering each baby uses nearly 6000 nappies in a lifetime, you can imagine the amount of money the big companies spend on advertising their nappies. And I think that’s why at the back of my mind, I still think that Pampers must be better than own-brand supermarket nappies. Maybe they do spend more money on research, and maybe therefore the moisture is wicked away from your baby’s skin faster, but after trying out several brands, I honestly can’t tell the difference. When Ivo was a newborn, we started using Pampers, mainly because at Boots, you got a free changing bag if you bought a pack of Pampers and joined the Parenting Club. {I’d actually do this again – the mat in the changing bag is really large and useful}. There’s no disputing they’re great nappies, and they have this super-useful line that runs up the front which turns blue when they’re wet – a great innovation for brand-new clueless parents. But once you’ve got past the two month stage, and you’re feeling more confident, I’d definitely recommend moving onto the cheaper nappies. They’re literally half the price. We’ve tried Sainsburys Little Ones, Asda Little Angels and Tesco Loves Baby, and they’re all super-similar in standard. I liked the pictures on the Sainsburys ones – but because I get my groceries delivered by Tescos, we’ve tended to bulk buy from them. Ivo’s now in Size 5 – how did that happen!!

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 Which Wipes - My Favourite Baby Wipes

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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Brilliant Bold & Functional Baby Clothes by Piccalilly

I only discovered Piccalilly thanks to my sister. She bought Ivo two of their brilliant playsuits for Christmas, and I'm only now discovering how much she must have spent! I absolutely love them - and Ivo has worn them back-to-back, as soon as they emerge from the washing machine. It's not just the appliques, although they are stunning - it's their functionality. They have hardly any poppers, which makes them the perfect playsuit for a rolling baby, or one who hates lying on his/her changing table. Plus for younger babies, they've got fold-over foot cuffs for extra cosiness! Made from premium organic cotton, they wash really well, and because they don't have feet, they last for months. At £20 each, they're not cheap, but on a £1 per wear basis, you really do get your money's worth.

{I want this} Pretty Girls' Playsuits, £23 by Piccalilly

{I want this} Bold Boys' Playsuits, £23 by Piccalilly

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 Which Wipes - My Favourite Baby Wipes

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Which Wipe? Reviewing Baby Wipes

Back when I was pregnant for the first time, I remember wandering into Boots to check out the baby section. It was like entering a different universe. There were so many variations of products, I had no idea how mothers chose. Luckily a few weeks later a few friends sent me their amazing Baby Essentials Lists, which helped me on my way, and a year later, I’ve worked my way through most of the products on the market. One of the products that really got me obsessed were the wipes. At first the midwifes recommend you use cotton wool and sterilised water. I managed this for about a day, and then moved onto Pampers Sensitive Wipes, mainly because they came in a white packet and therefore looked the purist. As Ivo became more wriggly, the ease and speed with which the wipes came out of the packet become key – almost to the point of obsession – hence my extensive research! Here are my reviews – do leave a comment and tell me which you prefer.

 Water Wipes, £25 for 12 packs of 60 – These tick all the organic boxes, as they don’t have any soap in them, just water and 0.1% fruit extract {know idea how they figured that out!}. Plus you can order great big boxes of them from Amazon, and I’m all about buying in bulk. But they’re not very wet. And my biggest bugbear – they don’t come out of the packet easily. Enough to drive you up the wall. That saying, I have a friend who’s only used these wipes, and seems perfectly happy with them.

 Huggies, £7.78 for 10 packs of 64 – I loved these at first, because they were really quite wet, and really cheap. But they tear quite easily, and therefore don’t come out the packet very easily. Argh! There's no point in a pack of wipes you need two hands to use.

 Pampers Sensitive Wipes, £10 for 12 packs of 56 – These are great, and tick all my boxes. But they’re really expensive, and once your baby gets older, and you’re using a lot of wipes per change, that’s really going to add up. I’d recommend them for a newborn.

 Johnson’s Baby Extra Sensitive Wipes, £8 for 12 packs of 56 – I went through a big phase of using these, and I really like everything about them. But they were on offer, and once the offer ended, they were back up in the expensive bracket, so I went hunting for a cheaper option.

 Tesco Baby Wipes, £8.79 for 12 packs for 64 – I do most of my shopping online with Tesco {much to my husband’s disgust – he prefers Waitrose food}. So when I spotted their wipes on offer, I decided to try them out. And they’re brilliant! They come in an easy-close packet that Ivo loves to fiddle with {amazing distraction tool}, they're the right wetness, they come out perfectly, and they're cheap! I recommend buying them in bulk!

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Monday, 21 April 2014

Baby Weaning - My Favourite Recipe Book

At first, baby food is pretty easy to prepare. You just steam the fruit or veg, mash it up, and bingo - you've got healthy, hearty grub. Later on, it all gets a bit harder. I'm terrible at cooking for myself, let alone for another small person. Thank goodness for Annabel Karmel. Before I bought her book, I didn't really get why so many mothers swore by her recipes, but now I reckon she's all you need to get baby weaning right. I make huge batches of her food, and freeze individual portions in bags like these. In the early days, when I was just making the purees, I used extra-large ice-trays, and then emptied out the nuggets into freezer bags. At a year old, Ivo's current favourite is Annabel's Baked Risotto. It's incredibly easy to cook, and it's an amazing base for left-overs - whether it's bits of fish or chicken, with added frozen veg like peas. Now Ivo's a bit older, I make these pieces a bit bigger, but you could easily blend them up first.

{I want this} Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner, £10.34

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 Weaning - My 8 Top Buys

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

New Mummy Treat #1

It's hard work being a mother, and it's even harder when you're new to the job. There were definitely some moments in the first year when I wondered when, and where I was supposed to make room for me. I lusted after evenings of hot baths and a good book, and long lunches fuelled with chilled white wine. In fact, who am I kidding, I still long for those luxuries! So what I've done is carve out time for a few little beauty treats. None of them are super-pricey or time-consuming, but all of them add a little bit of much-needed glam to my life. First up, Moroccan Hair Oil. I'm not sure where I first spotted this - but when my hairdresser agreed it was a good product, I was determined to try it out. So this morning, after my shower, and while Ivo had his half hour morning sleep, I added a couple of splodges to the slightly dry ends of my hair. I only use a little bit, because I didn't know whether it would make my hair greasy, and then I blow-dried it like normal. And it's been BRILLIANT! My hair felt sleek and shiny, and sort of curved up at the ends. I only bought a little 25ml bottle, but I reckon it'll last for a while, and it's definitely made me feel more glam all day. First little luxury ticked!

{I want this!} Moroccan Hair Oil, 25ml for £12.85

P.S. My hairdresser is Tracy at One Drayson Mews in Kensington. I couldn't recommend her more - she's been doing my hair since I was 13! Call 020 7376 2418 for an appointment.

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Monday, 7 April 2014

Choosing Your Baby's First Shoes

I found myself completely flummoxed by baby shoes. When exactly should they start wearing them? And how do you know they're the right size, and not crushing their little toes? I worried about Ivo getting cold feet in the winter, but I'd read that they learn how to walk best without wearing socks or shoes. Argh!! In the end, we kept him shoe-less {but not sock-less} for as long as possible, and then my sister bought him these gorgeous giraffe ShooShoos pram shoes for when he ventures outside, and is likely to be standing or sofa-surfing in a cafe. We've also used them outside in the playground, but they got grubby quite quickly - so now I'm looking for shoes with a little more substance. I think I'm going to wait until he's properly walking before I go the whole hog and buy him a pair of leather shoes. That'll feel like a game-changer - my baby boy's first pair of grown-up shoes! Incidentally - if we had our time again, I'd buy these amazing rainbow Mocc Onns Moccasin style slipper socks, for cosy winter toes.

{I want these} ShooShoos pram shoes, approx £15

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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Baby-Proofing Our House - Six Worries & Solutions

We've delayed it as long as possible - determined to keep our home looking normal - but Ivo's got so curious and mobile, that we've realised we've got to baby-proof the flat. We have a very irregular spiral staircase, so luckily my husband's father actually handmade our stair-gates. They came in the nick of time, because Ivo's gone from bashing the stairs to climbing up them with horrifying speed! The next challenge is the drawers and cupboards in the kitchen. Ivo's already broken four bowls, luckily cheap ones from Ikea, but I'm taking it as a warning of more damages to come. I'm also super-worried about little fingers getting trapped in the big saucepan drawer, and underneath doors. I don't want to go too far, and completely coddle him, but after our big shop for baby-proofing items on Amazon, I do feel a lot more relaxed!

{I want this} Ivo using his walker in the most dangerous style possible - PinToy Baby Walker with Blocks, £48.39. He's wearing a hoodie from Next {we use this as a dressing gown in the morning} & a sleep-suit from Mini-Boden {similar here, two for £26}.

My Biggest Worries & Solutions

The Stairs
Stair-gates are the only option - get them closed off as soon as possible. Ivo loves to climb, and although it's great to give him the chance to explore, I only want him mountaineering with company!

The Kitchen - This was the biggest challenge!
* We moved all the kitchen products to a high cupboard this weekend. Even with a lock, it's not worth letting him anywhere near the bleach.
* For the cupboards that needed protecting, we bought these amazing magnetic locks from BabyDan. They attach without any need for hammer and nails, and when they're closed, you can't tell they're there. There's a video on the BabyDan website that tells you how they work.
* The BabyDan magnetic drawer locks did the business for the big saucepan drawer, and I'm guessing once he's tall enough, we might have to put it on the cutlery drawer as well.

* I was really concerned about Ivo pushing is fingers into the plugs - mainly because I've been to other parents' houses, and seen all these socket covers. However, my husband did a bit of research, and discovered the covers are actually more dangerous, and there's no chance of babies managing to electrocute themselves with modern sockets. If you're still not sure - take a look at this article from the Telegraph. It includes a warning from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, who call the covers 'absurd and dangerous'.

* Ivo's just discovered doors {and reaching for handles}. He likes the fact he can use them as a walking aide. As a consequence he's shut himself in the bathroom more than once, and I'm completely paranoid about finger trapping in the hinge, and under the door. I've bought these Under Door Stoppers, which are brilliant at preventing the door going in either direction, although they're not as attractive as my lovely Linley cheese stop.

The Dining Table
* We have this lovely glass dining table, that works brilliantly in our open plan space, but has corners exactly the same height as Ivo's forehead. After a few near misses, I've given in to function over form, and bought these Safety Corners. I couldn't face the foam ones, plus apparently babies just peel them off to chew. I'm hoping my corners last a bit longer.

The Sitting Room
* So far, we've left all our pictures frames and knick-knacks out on the coffee tables, in the hope that Ivo will learn that he can't play with everything. It sort of works. He's gradually getting more used to them being there, and that they're not his toys. The biggest help is his playpen - which I've blogged about before. I know not everyone agrees with caging their little ones, but I with another baby on the way, I was keen to get Ivo used to his pen as soon as possible. We have the Baby Vivo - have a read of my blog posts on playpens for more info.

P.S. Although this article looks like an advert for BabyDan - it's not! I just researched the best products, and like theirs the most!

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Friday, 4 April 2014

Baby's First Birthday - Ivo's Turning One

It's hard to believe, but Ivo is already nearly one! This year feels like both the longest and the shortest of my life. This time in 2013, I was already a week overdue, and every day felt interminable. Little did I know, I was living through my last few hours of complete freedom, and I should have cherished every one. Long, lazy baths, reading historical novels, watching movies at the cinema - all of these things were soon to become relics of my past! We're planning a double celebration for Ivo's birthday. On Sunday 13th, we'll go to London zoo with my side of the family, and then the following weekend we've invited my husband's side of the family to a Peter Rabbit themed party. I've had a brilliant time planning all the fun details - take a look at my Pinterest board to get a sense of some of the ideas I've pulled together. It's Easter weekend, so we're combining his birthday with a big Easter egg hunt for the older children. I imagine he'll be oblivious of it all - baby's always look so confused when everyone sings Happy Birthday to them! Take a look at the invitations I designed - I always make my own stationery, it saves a fortune, and I really enjoy the process.

{I want this} 1. Blue baker's twine, part of a stationery set £22 from RE Corbridge, 2. Small Kraft envelopes, £3.99 for 50 from eBay

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

A Gorgeous New Baby Gift Idea

I can't tell you how hard I've fallen for these gorgeous paper cuts. Before I discovered London-based Julene Harrison, I'd never even heard of the art, but it's been a quick conversion from ignorance to passion! I love the idea of commissioning a special paper cut to mark the birth of your baby, or perhaps on the day of their christening. You could then use the image as an invitation or thank you card. Amazing! Take a look at Julene's shop, or request a special commission via her website.

{I want this} Baby Announcement Paper Cut, $159 by Made By Julene

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My 5 Favourite Baby Announcement Cards

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