Category Archives: Buy Buy Buy

Please be seated

“Car seat” was on the list of things to investigate during our last visit to the Baby Show back in February. I had a vague idea that Group 0 got too small at around 9 months old and you were then supposed to move to a forward-facing seat, so although Pip was only 7 months it seemed like a good plan to see what was out there. As it happened, we were encouraged by two separate experts (at Maxi-Cosi and Britax) to use our current car seat (which as it turns out is actually Group 0+, so lasts a bit longer – till around 15 months) as long as we possibly could. The reasons for this seemed to be twofold:

  1. Rear-facing infant car seats are safer in general;
  2. New safety regulations are currently being phased in, so we should wait and buy one of the new, safer seats which are rear-facing until age 4.

As you do, we then forgot about the car seat thing for a while. We don’t really drive much and I have in fact only ever driven twice since having Pip; both of these were 10-minute hops to the garage down the road and one of them didn’t even involve him at all as my parents were coincidentally staying so babysat him. This hasn’t been a conscious decision (as in, “OMG now I am a mother I am incapable of getting behind a wheel”). It is more a combination of several things, such as our daily activities involving 90% walking and 10% public transport, and the fact that Mr Cath prefers to drive so unless we are going on a particularly long road trip, which we haven’t done since becoming parents, he does it all.

baby on board

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My name is Cath and I’m a buggyholic

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote this post about buggies. I stated I didn’t want a black three wheeler one (which is a pretty accurate description of my sporty buggy, see below). As our friends predicted, we DID end up wanting a lighter one and we DID end up buying not one but three more – well, I say “we”, but really mean “I”. As expected, I picked up a couple of secondhand ones as well as another Baby Show bargain.

I also really like slings, and have three of those, but I use a buggy every day without fail. The fact they can be combined as shopping trolleys is fantastic for me as I have a persistent habit of finding myself in shops, and somehow end up buying something that needs to be carried… or not, if you can stash it in the shopping basket or hook it over a handlebar. For us another major advantage of using a buggy is that Pip usually naps in it. When I need to get him to sleep I take him out in the buggy, wait until he has dropped off, then come home, park the buggy and get on with housewife duty. He also sleeps in the sling but would wake as soon as I tried to offload him, and he’s a bit too heavy these days to wear around the house as well as outside! Although not as ideal as the ability to be put down awake into a cot and fall asleep there, I’m grateful that at least we do have the buggy option for napping – and pounding the streets (and shops) is certainly one way to shed the baby weight.

Unsurprisingly, I have been roundly mocked for possessing four buggies, so would like to present my case for the defence and explain my reasoning behind each purchase.

The starter buggy

buggy1

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Dressed to impress

Our baby was a surprise, and despite calling the bump “he” throughout my pregnancy we honestly didn’t mind whether it was a boy or girl in there. However, part of me longed for a little girl in order to indulge all my dressing up fantasies – at last, an excuse to play with miniature frilly pink frocks and butterfly accessories without people thinking I was weird!

Alas, it was not to be, so for the time being I have to content myself with kitting out Elphie and my other friends’ little girls (my four friends due around the same time ALL had girls! Lucky Pip). It may be old-fashioned to say so but I love the pink and blue thing…it also fulfils a very important function at this stage of life which is indicating to people what gender the baby is! To date, Pip has never been mistaken for a girl. Not that we would mind if one day Pip chooses to wear pink dresses…that would be fine too. It’s entirely for his parents’ benefit!

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We’ve been really lucky in terms of boy clothes: as well as being given some gorgeous outfits as gifts, Pip is benefiting from the excellent sartorial taste of his three male cousins (or should I say, my sisters in law) with lots of lovely hand me downs. We’ve hardly bought anything yet beyond a few sets of onesies. Just as well, as at 2 months old, Pip is already growing out of some of his 0-3 months clothing. It depends on the brand: some 0-3 outfits are up to 14.5kg whereas others are only 13kg. The length varies too so it’s always worth checking the measurements!

Nevertheless, I’ve been enjoying checking out little boys’ clothes and seeing what is out there – if I find myself in Debenham’s (which is slightly less frequently these days) I love to have a wander around the kids section. It has actually turned out to be really fun dressing a boy so far, when the weather has allowed for anything more than a vest of course. Cute dungarees! Mini jeans! Adorable button down shirts so he looks like a pint-sized version of Daddy!

Here is my pick of the sweetest baby boy outfits out there (please note that I’m not saying girls can’t wear these…see I’m TRYING to be politically correct!)

JoJo Maman Bebe

boy1

Mothercare

boy2

Gap

boy3

Mamas & Papas

boy4

Take that, tutus and fairy wings!

Feeding top frenzy

Nearly two months on and although more than a bit of weight lingers (I finally got weighed for the first time since Christmas at my six week check up…let’s not go there) my top half at least can now fit into a few of my roomier pre-pregnancy clothes. I’ve even started putting away the items that are most blatantly maternity, such as anything with ruching up the sides.

Although I want to hold off from a proper spending spree until I shrink some more – with a bit of luck this will coincide with the January sales – I need something to tide me over in the meantime that actually fits. However, my first hopeful look round the charity shops (with Pip fast asleep in the sling) has made me realise that there is little point buying anything at the moment unless I can get easy access to Pip’s food supply!

I’m hoping to breastfeed for at least a few more months. Certainly at the moment, this involves baring half my chest while attempting to maintain some sort of modesty. At home it’s fine as I can just walk around in a nursing bra (and I do have to wear a bra: a recent development is the rather alarming “water pistol” effect). In this weather it’s fine too as I can get away with pulling down one shoulder of a sleeveless top – just need to remember to pull back up! If I’m wearing a cardigan I can slip it off then put it back on again prior to feeding. All fine.

spraying-breast-statue

I’m sorted for bras, but what I want, what I really, really want is some more clothes specifically designed for breastfeeding. I’ve been rotating a few nursing tops purchased in late pregnancy, mostly from Mothercare and Jojo Maman Bebe. These are great, but I’m on the hunt for more options that I can start to layer up as the colder weather approaches.

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The little read

Being a bookworm myself, I’d always assumed that I would in turn do my best to instill a love of books into any offspring. Having managed to hang on to two big boxes of my childhood favourites (I think one box is pretty much all Enid Blyton, which may not be considered PC these days…ah well) I anticipate the time when we can introduce Pip to reading, firstly by reading out loud to him and then letting him explore books for himself. I expected it to start happening in perhaps a few months to a year, when some sort of bedtime routine would be established: bath, story and off to sleep.

What has surprised me is the discovery that a lot of people seem to start reading to their babies from practically the moment they’re born!

baby-reading

According to an email I recently received from Babycentre:

“Ready, set, read! It’s never too early to start reading picture books with your baby. Even if your baby doesn’t spend too much time looking at the pages, he’ll love having you close and listening to your voice. Go for a lively rhyme to engage him, or bright pictures to catch his eye.”

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Bargain hunting

Having a baby is an expensive business, you want to get the best for your baby but the best tends to be expensive.

Baby fashion is the worst. Like the catwalk models of Milan, Elphie requires an entirely new wardrobe every three months: her newborn wardrobe, her 0-3 month one, 3-6 months and so on. You might not bother with the newborn wardrobe as the internets say they grow out of it too quickly, but then Elphie was premmie so swamped in the 0-3 month baby grows so we had to order in more newborn baby grows, at which point the UK put on an uncharacteristic heatwave so she was just in a nappy and didn’t need any clothes and of course by the time the heat has died down, she’d grown out of exciting new outfits. Sad times.

Beyond learning from my cautionary tale, to avoid bankruptcy, these are my top tips for bargainous baby clothes:

Sweet Charity

By far and away my favourite source of baby clothes was FARA Kids, a charity shop dedicated to kids stuff with mainly clothes but also buggies, slings, moses baskets, bedding, toys and even maternity wear. All the stores I have been to have a chest of drawers somewhere with drawers of vests and baby grows for £1 each often from good brands and sometimes barely worn (presumably having suffered the same fate as some of our newborn clothes). I also purchased a moses basket stand and I know Cath bought a pretty baby sleeping bag from there. And it all goes to benefit orphaned and abandoned Romanian children so a bargain that also does good in the world – easing any guilt that may be felt about buying more hats than you could possibly need (realistically you will not need more than two, so the eight Elphie owns are probably overkill – some of them should probably return to the charity shop whence they came!).

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Swaddling fit for a Prince

I will stop going on about the royal birth some time soon, but not before I gloat about my amazing taste and how I hope you all took my advice from this post and bought the fabulous Aden & Anais Jungle Jam swaddle muslins because now Elphie’s new mate Prince No Name (see – other parents find it hard to name their child!) has them everyone will want them (where I got them from is out of stock and John Lewis only have 7 left as of this minute!).

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Picture credit: Extra TV

Although the choice of the birds is controversial, quite clearly the giraffes would have been a superior choice (and Uma agrees).

It’s in my raccoon wounds

I don’t think there can be an article in this flat that is not now infiltrated by breast milk. It permeates everything.

Some is from madam messily eating. She used to be quite good – a quick swipe of a muslin and she was clear of it. But things have changed and typically the tide turned when at Mark & Maria’s French-chic flat when finishing feeding using one of their sofa cushions to prop Elphie up. On removing her from said cushion an ominous dark patch showed itself where Elphie had decided to take up messy eating and apparently allow milk to dribble from her mouth onto the cushion. Nice. And not at all embarrassing to fess up to. Nope, not at all.

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Pick a card, any card

I have never been good about the whole card thing – I can do Christmas cards and mostly remember birthday cards, but the other plethora of cards for weddings, new homes, thank yous, new babies etc. – I am rubbish at. The thank you cards for our wedding were only just about done by our first anniversary!

So when it comes to the topic of birth announcement cards, they are a nice idea and I loved the ones we’ve received in the past, but can I summon up the organisational willpower to produce them before it gets too ridiculous (i.e. before her 5th birthday)?

Only time will tell. But in the meantime here are some of my favourite designs from the internetz for your viewing pleasure.

With thanks to the following for their artistry: snapfish, vistaprint, Little One Prints, simplytoimpress, Paper Shaker, Coco Cards.

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Gym baby

Elly: Before anyone queries Cath’s sanity for blogging when she’s just got home from hospital, rest assured the following was written before the big event – consider it a treat for you all so you can escape my witterings for a day!

In the quest to mentally, intellectually and emotionally stimulate our baby we decided to acquire an activity gym. An activity gym, or mat, is typically a soft base with arches full of baby-friendly toys and activities that may have different colours, sounds, textures etc.

The first one we picked out was chosen rather quickly as it was just so lovely I couldn’t be bothered to look at any others. It was from JoJo Maman Bebe (below) and having duly ordered the mat, it then went out of stock forever, although it’s still on their website! Ah well. The search was back on (yes, I know I could have probably sourced it from Ebay, but I’ve never used Ebay in my life…) This time I looked into it properly and explored all their features, before presenting Mr Cath with a shortlist. There are so many out there to choose from, with a range of prices and features. Here is just a small selection of the different types of mat available…

activity mat1The one that got away

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