Being pregnant with your first baby and trying to work out what to buy can be very daunting. I remember feeling overwhelmed and wishing someone could tell me exactly what I did and didn't need.
There are the obvious essentials like newborn nappies, a car seat, pushchair, somewhere for baby to sleep etc. but this is my guide from my own experience on stuff that we have really got our money's worth from.
Read on for my 10 best buys..... Hover over anything in bold for the direct link. I will post a follow up with my 10 items you really don't need tomorrow!
Well worth the money:
I actually copied a friend in getting this bag. There are so many on the market (as with all baby items!) that having the recommendation really helped. The great thing about Pacapods is that they have these handy pods in which you can separate your essential items (unlike most bags whereby you can end up removing everything to get to one thing). For example, use one pod for your changing bits (nappies, wipes etc) and the other for feeding bits (bib, snacks, drink etc), there's plenty of space left over for a change of clothes, a muslin and your purse. Plus, there's a further smaller section, handy for your phone and lippy (yeah, right!) and so on. At £42 yes, it's an absolute steal, cheaper than so many other bags around and better in my opinion. Plus it's not overly girly if you need the other half to lug it around too.
2. A Tumble Dryer
Perhaps we were in the minority by not already having one of these, but if you are in that minority too then trust me, you need this! We struggled by with radiators and a clothes horse after our first baby, but after the second, well I was a local at the launderette in the winter and had a bag of washing ready for my Mother In Law to take home and dry each time she visited. We just bought a tumble dryer at Christmas and I use it every day. I can finally see the bottom of the basket and my girls' clothes are beautiful and soft.
A baby bath is one of those items that some people do without, we left it til the last minute not really knowing what to do, but then a friend gave us this one and it was fantastic. At £14.99 it is well worth the money, your baby will be able to lie in this bath unaided with the built in back support and their little bottom resting against a raised piece in the base. So much easier than holding them steady while your arm goes numb! Plus, your little one will be able to have freedom to splash their legs around. Both of our girls used this bath until around 6 months, when they were able to sit unaided and move into the big bath.
Bringing me neatly onto towels. The hooded towels you can buy in Mothercare and so on are so small, they're only really any good for the first couple of months or so. It took until Martha was 9 months old until I came across one large enough for her (and she is petite!), I bought this cute one from The White Company and fast forward over two years and she is still using it each and every bath time. A splurge at £22 but we've had so much wear out of it and it's still going strong (would make a gorgeous gift for a newborn). I bought a large one from Lollipop Lane for Rosie, cheaper and just as good.
We bought one of these for our second daughter and wished we'd had it the first time around. This fleecy wrap will fit into both a car seat and pushchair and has holes for your safety straps to go through. It's perfect for those times when you get somewhere and your baby is snoozing contentedly and you don't want to wake them, but are worried that they may overheat in their coat. With the Morcck you can just open it out and hey presto, cooler baby! Lots of alternatives to this one around.
Another one I wish I had first time around. Baby slings are great for supermarket shopping, walks in the country (where uneven paths hinder pushchairs), getting stuff done around the house and importantly for settling a baby who just wants to be close to you. Rosie went off to sleep straightaway each time she went into it and I loved being so close to her. I found a wrap felt much more secure than a baby carrier like the Bjorn. I know lots of second time mums who went for one of these and you can use them for toddlers too.
Similar to the better known Bumbo, this Snug seat by Mamas and Papas is a perfect first seat. Great support for your baby to sit upright before they can do it on their own, I believe it helped both our girls sit up unaided sooner as they were both able to do it by 5 months. Use it inside or outside, easy to clean and brilliant for starting weaning as it's snugness is better than a big high chair to begin with. Both girls used it until they were around 1. You can take the coloured piece out as your baby grows too. The green one shown here is just £37.
This highchair with removeable tray is ONLY £13!!! We bought it as second highchair to keep in the kitchen, but to be honest it would have been just great as our main highchair. Each set of grandparents has one too. There's only one downside that it doesn't fold down, but if you have the room then you really can't go wrong.
9. Bandana Bibs
You need bibs for 3 main things: dribble, milk and weaning (if your baby is a puker, a bib is not really going to save you!). For dribble and the odd bit of milk your baby rejects bandana bibs are ace. Lots of lovely designs that complement your baby's outfit rather than cover it up. These ones by Funky Giraffe are 5 for £11.25 (another lovely new baby gift idea).
10. The Rubber Bib
So finally for weaning, I love the rubber bib like this one by Tommee Tippee. Wipe clean so you only really need one as you can easily use for each meal. You can roll it up and take it out too, we took ours on hols (where we ate out all the time) and just wiped clean with anti bac gel after each meal. Easy. I'm not a fan of those all in one types with sleeves, big faff I found.
So those are my favourite bits and pieces, I'd sum them up by saying they're the ones I'll be sorry to say goodbye to when they're finally no longer needed. The ones that have been integral to the baby (and toddler in some cases) times.
It's by no means a definitive list and it's my own opinion. There are plenty of alternatives to the brands I've described, and plenty of these items (if not all) can be found on eBay, if you're after a bargain. I'd love to hear the things you couldn't live without if you're a Mum or Dad already. Perhaps I'll get enough feedback to write a part 2!
I always think buying gifts for Mother's Day is harder than for a birthday; there's a little more sentiment behind it. The months and years seem to roll around so quickly these days and each year seems to get a bit harder!
I've actually started a kind of present diary now, I make a note of what I get people (mainly family) so that I can refer back to it; I can also make notes of gift ideas I think of throughout the year. It helps avoid repeating presents too!
With Mothers Day just around the corner, I've put together a list of my favourite gifts for Grandma (or Nanny, Nana, Granny, whichever name you use!).
From doughnut walls to abstract masterpieces, wedding cake trends continue to evolve, but what will be big in 2018?
I've got the low-down together with some gorgeous examples to get those creative juices flowing!
I don't know about you, but I always feel like a Valentine's gift has to hit the right tone. Somewhere there has to be some kind of meaning or romance to make it worthy of being presented on the day of love!
Well, I've spent hours exploring ideas to fit the bill (and the budget) and assembled my ten favourites here.