Thursday, 28 March 2013

Celebs and their pushchairs

A blog post to be taken with a pinch of salt as it is a shallow one! Being a bit of a celeb gossip lover, I always notice what pushchairs the celebrities are pushing now I'm a mum. If you've got the inclination and budget then here's the latest models and their celebrity fans:

4moms Origami £929 - Jennifer Garner's little boy Samuel looks comfy in this high-tech pushchair. It boasts an LCD dashboard, phone charger, and lights, whilst opening and closing itself at the touch of a button!

Bugaboo Cameleon Sahara Special Edition £929- this new limited edition from Bugaboo was snapped up by Fearne Cotton for her new baby Rex. I think if money was no object I might have one of these for baby J! In addition to the standard Cameleon features, it has a leather handle and soft quilted lining, and comes with a soft cable knit blanket.

Orbit Baby G2 £940 plus hood £59.95 - popular with US celebrities like Jessica Alba and Kourtney Kardashian, you either love or hate the Orbit's futuristic design (I'm not a fan!). It allows you to rotate your baby 360 degrees and has a one handed fold.

Bugaboo Bee £439 plus hood £39 - a favourite of the London and New York based celebrities, this is a great lightweight city pushchair. Sienna Miller has the All Black Special Edition Bee, while Victoria Beckham has the same model with yellow and pink hoods for her daughter.

Uppababy Vista £629.95 - again this is very popular in the US, with Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker choosing it for their offspring. It has a massive basket for any shopaholics out there...

icandy Peach £595 - if it's good enough for Harper Beckham...although icandy made one exclusively in lilac for her that isn't available to the rest of us!

Nuna Pepp £200 - seeing Miranda Kerr's gorgeous baby Flynn in one of these made me want one! Shame her supermodel figure doesn't come with it though...

Mima Kobi £950 - the sleek, modern pushchairs from Mima are relatively new to the market, but we will probably be seeing a lot more of them as various celebrities snap them up! Lily Allen is rumoured to have chosen this for her new baby Marnie.

Stokke Xplory £829 - another celebrity favourite due to it's stylish design, the USP of this pushchair is the high seat, which keeps your baby closer to you. Chantelle Houghton has one of these for her baby Dolly (don't let that put you off!) but action man Bruce Willis has also been seen pushing his daughter Mabel in one.

Happy shopping!


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Activity time

After a few weeks getting to know each other, I felt that baby J and I should get on the baby social scene. This isn't unlike the dating scene - you have to put yourself out there and if you find someone who is on your wavelength then ask them out for a coffee! Classes are a great way to make new friends and give a bit of structure to your week. There are a variety of different classes out there, so it is just a case of finding something that both you and your baby enjoy. You can often trial a class before signing up to the full number of sessions, which is a good idea as you can see if you like it before spending any money. I have tried quite a few different classes which vary in cost and content so hopefully some of my experiences will help you decide which is right for you...

Baby massage - this was the first class we did, from when baby J was a few weeks old. It was a great way of bonding and even though baby J was a bit unsure at first, once he got into it he seemed to enjoy himself! It is also nice to add this to their bedtime routine as massage seems to relax a lot of babies, especially if they have colic. We did a private class as a group of four at a friend's house, and a lady from a company called Blossom and Berry came to teach us for a four week course. Baby massage is a popular activity and so there are lots of different classes running at various venues, wherever you live. Ours cost £40 each but prices obviously vary depending on the length of the course and the location. If your baby has colic or any other issues, you can sometimes get a referral from your health visitor to free massage classes.

Buggybabies - we started Buggybabies classes when baby J was about 12 weeks old. I felt this was a good way for both of us to get some fresh air and for me to get some exercise! There is a lot of gorgeous countryside in the area where we live, and a group of us were put through our paces walking through fields and along footpaths, stopping along the way to do resistance exercises. Our class was run by a very experienced instructor called Jo, who ensured that the exercises were tailored to each individual where necessary, and that all were safe for ladies who had not long given birth! I also attended Jo's Fit4birth Pilates classes when pregnant, and these were also fab. The friends I made through these classes and Buggybabies are all lovely, and we socialise together with and without the babies. Buggy fitness classes are run in most areas and if you are a member of a gym it is worth checking to see if they have any that would be included in your membership. The classes I did are based in the Loughborough area,

Baby swimming - we tried a couple of baby swimming courses and enjoyed both of them. I have to say I preferred the one we did at a lovely hotel as the changing rooms were warm and spacious, as opposed to the first course in a freezing cold primary school! The content of the classes were very similar each week as obviously there is a limited amount you can do with young babies, but included singing, playing and different holds which all got the babies accustomed to the water. Prices are extremely varied on swimming classes - in my area it ranges from about £3.50 per class at the local leisure centre to £13 with a well known franchise.

Baby Sensory - I found these classes lovely for babies, as they are very well thought out with activities that stimulate every sense. Baby J always has a nice long sleep after his baby sensory class which is very welcome! Each class has a different theme so even if you sign up for a year, you shouldn't have the same one repeated. This is a franchise so covers a lot of the UK. The website explains classes in detail,

Surestart Centre classes - if you have a Surestart Centre near you then it is worth checking their timetable to see if they are running any baby groups that are aimed at your baby's age. These are usually free which is a bonus when you are on statutory maternity pay! We used to go to a group called Chatterbabies, aimed at 0-18 months where we sang and a did different activity each week such as hand painting or crafts. This class has now been cancelled and replaced with a similar group called Cherubs. I made some great friends at Chatterbabies and the babies always really enjoyed themselves.

Library groups - check at your local library to see if they offer any sessions for children, as many run story time or singing/playing groups. The class at my library is a mixture of singing and playing (with age appropriate toys, as the children range from approximately 6 months to 4 years). These classes are also free so worth trying out!

Playgroups - worth asking round for recommendations on the best playgroups in your town/village, as this kind of activity tends to rely on word of mouth. I found a lovely playgroup in my village which only costs 50p and includes a cup of tea bought to you - invaluable for mums! It's a nice way of catching up with friends while the babies play.

I found it hard to find anywhere that provided advice on baby activities in my local area, and discovered a lot of information from chatting to other mums. As I have mentioned, Surestart centres are a good place to start, and sometimes notice boards in your doctors surgery may have posters up. Your health visitor might also have suggestions of activities in your area, and can also be useful.


Friday, 15 March 2013

Goodbye handbag, hello changing bag...

One of the things that comes with being a mum is often the loss of your lovely fashionable handbags! They are stashed away and out comes a huge changing bag containing everything your baby could ever need. So it's always a good idea to find yourself a changing bag which fits in with your usual style as much as possible. There are loads out there but watch out, a lot of them are not that cheap. You will probably be using this bag every day for the best part of a year though, so think of it as an investment. I've put together a few ideas below on changing bags and what you should put in them!

Changing bags - the brands I would recommend are Pacapod, Oioi, Storksak and Yummy Mummy. These brands produce practical bags which include changing mats and insulated bottle holders but still provide a touch of style. Depending on your personal taste, you can get simple prints in grey or beige, or cute floral and cupcake prints. These brands can all be bought at John Lewis or good baby boutiques. I also found it helpful to keep an eye out on a website called, which has discounts on designer brands. I got a Pacapod and an Oioi bag and paid around half of the usual RRP for each of them.

Changing station or nappy wallet - these are smaller bags that you can take with you if you're popping out quickly, or keep within your changing bag to have everything to hand for a nappy change. Good brands for these are Skip Hop, Yummy Mummy and JJ Cole. Some of them have the changing mat as part of the bag, so you just unfold it and you've got your changing mat there and pockets for your nappies and wipes.

Mini packs of baby wipes - these are a lot less bulky than carrying round the full size packs so take up less room in your bag. Asda do these small travel size packs for around 50p.

Snooze shade - I keep one of these in my changing bag so if baby J wants a sleep while we are out, I can put the shade over his pushchair to ensure it is dark and he doesn't get distracted and grumpy when he is actually just tired! On a recent holiday to Norfolk this worked really well and we managed to have a few lunches out while he slept. Ideal if your baby is nosy or needs darkness to sleep well.

Small toys - it's always a good idea to keep a couple of toys in your changing bag and when your baby gets bored you can whip one of them out. I like the mini Lamaze toys and Nuby toys (which you can pick up from supermarkets and are often on offer). Colourful links will often entertain babies for a while and can be bought for less than £5.

These are just a few of the things that I would always keep in my bag - I haven't mentioned the obvious like a change of clothes, muslins etc! If I have missed your 'must have' let me know...