Today's guest post is from Mandy Sutcliffe, Founder and Co-Director of Belle & Boo www.belleandboo.com She writes about the memories she has of the simple pleasures of childhood and how these inspired her illustrations for Belle and Boo. If you've never visited the Belle and Boo site before - go and check it out - it is just lovely. And we also have one of their delightful wall stickers to giveaway.
Whilst I was out shopping last week I was having a nosey down the baby isle in my local superstore to see if there was anything I needed for my little weaning adventure. Blake was 6 months old on Saturday and seen as he was 10lb 13oz when he was born, you won’t be surprised to hear that I had to start weaning him a little earlier than 6 months, as the current government health guidelines state. Either that or I was looking to invest in a diary cow : )
We made the decision to start weaning him early as he was constantly hungry and so I read a fair few weaning books in preparation and took the leap 5 weeks ago. Lets just say, Blake took to it like a duck to water, I couldn’t believe how easily he grasped the technique and adapted to the different textures. Since that day I have made all of his meals using the Beaba babycook (Godsend I might add) and he eats like a king.
So, whilst noseying down the baby isle, a bright orange package caught my eye, it was a brand named KOKO and the contents were food pouches. Let me just say that this is another genius invention that you simply need to have if like me, you cook all of your own delicious baby food and store it in the freezer. They’re simply fantastic, you get 10 empty pouches that you can fill, freeze, defrost, wash and re-use. Superb!
Just to make this brand even more special, you can also buy the food pouch spoons which attach to the nozel of the pouch making meal times whilst on the go simple and effective.
I invested in one of each of these and I will never look back, I’d recommend them til the cows come home! Plus they are so much more cost-effective than the food brands you can buy in pouches, saving you money along the way!
Visit http://www.koko-innovates.com the pouches are priced at £ 4.99 and the spoons complete with travel case from £4.49
with love Gemma & Blake x
We don’t know about you but when both me and Chloë were pregnant we loved the fitted dresses for both a casual daytime look and glamorous evening look. But there was just one teeny, tiny problem and yes you’ve got it, the wobbly bits! It’s inevitable that during pregnancy your size and shape change and you definitely don’t need to be wearing baggy, loose-fitting clothing that makes you look like an overgrown sack of spuds. So bring on the Mama Spanx, every pregnant woman should own a pair of these and lets just say ‘if you’ve got it then flaunt it’ Invest in a pair of power panties, you’ll never look back and you’ll be shaking that shimmy for the full nine months!
Priced at £34.00 and available from Spanx online shop http://www.spanx.co.uk
I didn’t realise how fabulous this product really is until I invested in one recently. I’ve heard plenty about the Beaba Babycook and people have recommended it to me but I didn’t invest because I thought I would see how I got on with the equipment I already owned. Let me just say, this is a godsend! It is the easiest and by far the best investment I have made in the baby world and I would definitely recommend it to everyone who is about to embark on weaning!
It is certainly one of a kind, with its compact size and multiple functions this nifty piece of equipment cooks, blends, reheats and defrosts. The steam cook function cooks fish, meat, vegetables and fruits in 15 minutes or less whilst preserving their yummy vitamins and flavors. The blender allows you to control the desired consistency of your meals from purée to a more lumpy texture making it perfect for every stage of weaning.
It is simple to use, easy to clean, BPA free and prepares healthy scumptious meals for your little one in no time! You can also store the leftovers in the freezer for days when you need a quick fix.
It has made my life a whole lot easier and I wish I had invested from the offset! It retails at £90.00 but it is worth every single penny!
Available from most major retailers including Amazon, jojomamanbebe, Mamas and Papas and Mothercare.
Oooooh we love a little gadget especially if it’s going to make parenthood simpler in the process, so we would like to share with you ‘My Buggy Buddy Weights’. Fabulous little product that was designed by two fathers to eliminate the problem of our buggies tipping over when overloaded. We’ve all experienced it and it is quite scary when it happens but it is so easily done. Products that are born out of practical parenting knowledge are always the best and really do serve to eliminate real parenting problems just like this.
These are very easy to use, they quite simply wrap around the buggy frame and velcro in place. The discreet slimline design doesn’t interfere with the manoeuvrability of your buggy and they sit higher on the frame to keep them a little cleaner.
We love this product and they are a very cost-effective solution : ) averaging around £10.00.
Available from most major retailers visit http://www.mybuggybuddy.co.uk for more information on stockists.
With love blues and bows : )
Whilst we have been on the hunt for baby products associated with Easter we came across this utterly gorgeous knitted blanket pattern by Jean Adel! We absolutely love it, so, if there are any knitters out there we’d love to hear from you because we’d absolutely love one for our kiddie winks : )
Follow the link below for the pattern and lets get knitting!
with love blues and bows x
Launched in 2008, Toffee Moon specialises in luxury super soft cotton rich clothing and accessories, for babies and toddlers, that are both practical and beautiful. This season, the Girl’s Collection combines dainty Candy Pink, Blossom Pink, and Hot Pink with cool Linen. The new Butterfly, Dotty and Stripe Prints offers an eclectic mix of influences in a pretty offering of summer sleepsuits, rompers, dresses, tops, pants and knitwear. The adorable dresses collection for the girls cleverly structures super soft cotton rich jersey in to a striking range of dresses featuring puff hem detailing, gentle ruching, lace trim and layering. New Pretty Knickers complete the outfit. A timeless collection of fine knitwear includes delicate lacy effect pointelle and fine stripes in comfy tops and pants. Structure and floral detailing also features on the Lily Bolero and Vintage Peony Cardigan.
Ocean and Sky Blue, Cloud and Thunder Grey, with hints of Linen and Kelp Green feature throughout the Boy’s Collection this season. A combination of stripes appear across the knitwear and jersey, in a collection of tops and pants, rompers, sleepsuits, fine knit jumpers and cardigans. A beautiful new Stargazer print in Sky Blue with delicate tiny stars in Linen, offer one of many gorgeous gifting options. The collection offers matching accessories in both knitted and cool cotton jersey hats, shawls and booties.
The OVO high chair by Micuna offers aesthetics, comfort and safety all in one seriously stylish bit of kit. This high chair is elegant, sleek and über stylish making a fabulous addition to your furniture collection. It features a round tray which is removable and washable, a footrest, and a leather strap for the safety of your little ones. Priced at approximately £260.00 this is certainly an investment but one that is worth every penny because not only does this product function as a high chair but it also grows with your little one, turning into a sleek desk chair for when he or she is a little older.
This is certainly a little bit of luxury but one that is worth every penny if you are design savvy and super chic!
Take a look at http://www.ovobymicuna.com to find stockists and to view the colour palette.
We love it : )
We at blues and bows love beautiful things that make us smile and whilst searching for a rug for my little ones nursery I came across this gem of a company, Nattiot. A French brand who sell hand made rugs for babies aged 0 to 3… perfect! The gorgeous designs and colour palettes are suited to all styles of nursery decor and we’re positive you’ll love them just as much as we do.
Our personal favorite is the teddy rug which is priced at about £110 but they’re all so gorgeous it’s difficult not to want one of each : )
Take a look at http://nattiot.com/index.php where you can view the whole collection and buy in the online shop.
With love Gemma x
This is a fabulous idea from our friends over at huddle & bliss. They have taken the stress out of labour before you even get there by creating this great bag jam-packed with everything you need for labour and when your little bundle of joy finally arrives. The products included are all british made and the gorgeous bag can be used as a changing bag once you leave the hospital. The only items they haven’t included are nappies, sanitary items and breast pads, as we can all appreciate these are a very personal choice but don’t worry there is space allocated to pop these in.
So, if you are a very busy mummy to be and need a little helping hand to get you organised then this is a must have! It retails at £180.00 but if you’re quick, you can take advantage of the very generous £30 discount they are currently offering on the website.
Visit http://www.huddleandbliss.com and search The Labour of Love Bag.
Below is a list of everything that is included : )
We simply love it!
Made from 100% cotton with a wipe clean PVC coating. Measures 42 x 28 x 17 cm with a top zip opening. Main compartment is divided by a large zipped pocket, there is also 2 wall pockets, additional zipped pocket and external open pocket. The bag is fully lined and complete with adjustable shoulder strap.
Content for Mum-to-be
Labour & Birthing Shirt.
Pure Cotton Face Cloth
Pure Cotton Towel
Balancing Facial Mist
Hydrating Lip Balm
Purifying Bath & Shower Elixir
Silver-plated Compact Mirror and Atomiser (These are free gifts worth over £25 and will be included while stocks last)
Content for Baby
Pure Cotton Newborn Sleepsuit*
Pure Cotton Newborn Bodysuit *
Pure Cotton Knotted Hat & Scratch Mittens*
Pure Cotton Swaddling Blanket*
Pure Cotton Burp Cloth
Pure Cotton Bib*
Baby Change Mat
Protecting Nappy Change Balm
*These are white but can be substituted with yellow, pink, blue or any of our current designs upon request
Now this little product is great if you are formula feeding and when out and about with your little one. It doesn’t look like much but trust us it really does make life so much easier. It enables you to store up to three feeds worth of milk powder in three separate compartments so that when you are out and about you can simply add the formula to your bottle in quick time and without any mess. It has a rotating lid and a poring nozzle so that you have easy access to each compartment. It’s compact design means that it fits nicely into your changing bag without consuming too much space. It really does make life so much simpler : ) hence why we love it!
We purchased ours from Asda but there are plenty out in the market place and generally they go by the name of milk powder dispenser.
Blues and Bows x
Now this little product is great if you are formula feeding and when out and about. It doesn’t look like much but trust us it really does make life so much easier. It enables you to store up to three feeds worth of milk powder in three separate compartments so that when you are out and about you can simply add the formula to your bottle in quick time and without any mess. It has a rotating lid and a poring nozzle so that you have easy access to each compartment. It’s compact design means that it fits nicely into your changing bag without consuming too much space. It really does make life so much simpler : ) hence shy we love it!
We purchased ours from Asda but there are plenty out in the market place and generally they go by the name of milk powder dispenser.
Blues and Bows x
I was browsing through twitter last night whilst engaging in the networking session held by #buybritishbrands and I stumbled across the Gummee Glove! Well, lets just say I was a wee bit excited! How did such an amazing product steer clear of blues and bows! We love it and can completely relate to the story behind its creation.
Blake is now 3 months old and chewing like a trooper on his little fists, he’s not quite able to hold a teething ring and so he rely’s solely on his little hands. The Gummee Glove is a mitten which can be secured to baby’s hand with a safe & secure velcro clasp, it features a detachable water filled teething ring, numerous protrusions for baby to teeth on, a black and white crinkle square and its very own travel bag.
A total stroke of genius! There’s no wonder this is an award-winning product, so simple yet so functional!
We simply love it! Pop over to http://www.gummeeglove.co.uk where you can buy you’re very own for just £9.99 + pp
Well well well, what do we have here! Beatrix Potter and GAP collaborating with a whole new collection for our very own little bunnies. We absolutely love it and what’s even better is that it is available in store now, so what are you waiting for…….? Hop over to Baby Gap and treat your little one, we just couldn’t resist.
love blues and bows x
I have the award-winning Silver Cross Surf Pram in Lime Green and so I thought it would be a great idea to let you know what I think to it. I must say when we were choosing a pram I found it quite overwhelming, there is so much choice and its pretty hard choosing a pram and colour option for an unborn baby, especially when you don’t know the sex!
After plenty of viewings and trials of various brands we decided to go with the Silver Cross Surf. Our reasons for this were the light weight chassis, the babynest-which provides a luxury padded lie flat surface for your newborn baby without the added expense of a carry cot, the essentials pack which contains a reversible seat liner, parasol, rain cover, sunshade and cup holder and the zesty lime colour option. Basically this pram had everything we were looking for.
We were also really lucky because at the time of purchasing the retailer were offering a half price maxi-cosi car seat and so we decided to go for the pebble because it is snug for baby, includes removable support pillow, harness pads and integrated sun canopy, one-pull harness adjustment, and a ‘Easy out’ harness-which stays open to get baby in and out of seat in seconds.
I must say I’m not disappointed with the surf, like any pram, once you start using them day-to-day you soon realise that you would change little things but on the whole its a great travel system. My only comments would be that it is a little clumsy on the front wheel drive, I personally think the wheels need to be sturdier to drive the pram. I would also like to see the round basket made larger as the it looks far more stylish than the new square version and there isn’t much room between the base of the seat and the basket itself, making it more difficult getting things in and out.
If I was to offer one piece of advice it would definitely be the following: rather than buying the carrycot invest your hard-earned pennies in the iso-fix family fix base. It really is a god send and makes life so much easier when getting baby in and out of the car. Do some research on pricing because we bought our iso-fix from Mothercare and made good use of their price match promise. In the end we paid £119.00 instead of £160.00 which I thought was a bargain and its the best thing we’ve bought!
with love Gemma
Little feet pitter patter speedily along the landing and your bedroom door bursts open and little voices cry....'LOOK...It's SNOWING!!!!!'.
It's a brilliant way to be woken (well, as long as it's not stupid O'clock). Even as you lie in bed before opening the curtains to see the snowflakes for yourself everything sounds different and feels different as snow wraps a blanket round the garden and the streets.
After finding out that I was expecting our first child, I never confirmed how I was going to feed until the very last-minute. I remember when Chloë had given birth to Elodie and there appeared to be a community of professionals preaching about breast-feeding but failed to give the adequate support she required to effectively breast feed her baby. Lets face it, we all know breast is best but as a new mum you cannot prepare for the unknown and we rely on these professionals to prepare, guide and support us.
My first experience of breast-feeding was at our ante-natel class and it consisted of an individual talking to the group about breast-feeding whilst demonstrating using a knitted boob (Yes knitted!) and a doll weighing no more than a pound. She talked through techniques and positioning and it lasted for no more than 30 minutes. The reality is, unfortunately we don’t have knitted boobs, dolls don’t suckle, knitted boobs don’t have nerves or feeling and babies unless in extreme circumstances do not weigh a pound, stay still and feed easily especially in the beginning. Even though this provided me with a basic understanding about breast-feeding it certainly did not prepare me for what was to come.
I decided to breast feed as I wanted to give my son the best start and lets just say it is the hardest thing in the world but once you master it and break through the discomfort it’s easy, cost-effective and more importantly the best form of nourishment your baby can get. I can totally understand why new mums give it up in the early days and its down to lack of support pre and post birth and the overwhelming discomfort.
I experienced all of these and it almost led me to giving up but I battled through it and I finally found a really supportive health advisor who just so happened to be a breast-feeding consultant. She has helped me through every step of the way and proven that if we all had the adequate support needed there would be a hell of a lot more women in the UK breast-feeding. Unfortunately for me, I met her when it was too late, the foundations had already been laid and it proved impossible to turn back. I believe that the reasons why I had to stop were purely down to lack of milk supply which was triggered in the very early days when I found feeding very painful and unbearable. I took a few days off from breast-feeding in order for my nipples to heal when Blake was one week old. I reverted to feeding Blake 4oz of formula every 4 hours and expressed where possible. This was the biggest mistake I believe I made, I got into a routine of bottle feeding and neglected breast-feeding.
Apart from the very first feeling of engorgement when my milk supply started at around 3 days I never had this feeling again. Nor was I able to express any more than an ounce a time.
I tried everything possible in order for me to change this and revert back to exclusively breast-feeding, I breast-fed every 2 hours, I sought advice from a lactation consultant, I took a nursing holiday where-by I stayed in bed and had skin to skin contact for 2 days solid and constantly breast-fed Blake and I mean every half an hour on both sides. I expressed after every feed to make sure my milk was fully drained and to urge increased milk production, I took fenugreek supplements to try to help increase my supply, I ate healthy, drank plenty of water, reduced caffeine intake, fed and expressed in the early hours of the morning etc but none of this worked.
At 10 weeks I had to stop breast-feeding because Blake was gaining little weight, an average baby gains an ounce a day and Blake was only gaining a few ounce every 2 weeks. I had to make a decision on whether I would continue to breast feed and increase his supplements or solely formula feed him and its the latter I chose.
So, here’s a few things I learnt along the way and would recommend:
Research everything to do with breast-feeding during your pregnancy and make sure you are prepared for every eventuality. I learnt so much when it was too late, I wish I had read into breast-feeding earlier and in detail and sought advice from a professional. Kelly Mom is one of the best websites I came across, all the advice is evidence based and there is literally every questioned answered. I must have read every single article on here it really is amazing and very helpful. http://kellymom.com/
Try all feeding positions to see what suits you and your baby. Practice really does make perfect so don’t be disheartened if your baby doesn’t latch on comfortably straight away. Remember you are both learning and it does take time but put measures in place to help guide your baby and ask for help. He who shouts loudest wins and it really is a case of this, make sure you ask for help straight away. Get a midwife to check your positioning on the first feed and if you find that your nipple is mis-shaped i.e. it doesn’t stay rounded as it is in its natural state or you are sore, then this points towards the fact that your positioning is not quite right.
Use Lansinoh nipple cream, it’s approx £10 a tube and available from most pharmacies, supermarkets and Mothercare and be sure to take it in your hospital bag. It’s amazing and you don’t need to wash it off when feeding you’re baby unlike Kamillosan and other brands. I was able to get this on prescription but I had to ask for it, it wasn’t offered (Im assuming because it is expensive). Also Lansinoh breast pads are fab too.
Buy a breast pump before the baby is due, I would recommend the Ameda Lactaline which is what the hospitals use or a Medala, both very effective and highly recommended by health professionals. I know it sounds gross but you can hire these or buy them second-hand off eBay, you can thoroughly clean and sterilise every part before you use them and it’ll save you a fortune. Also make sure you have milk storage bags and pots ready so that you can store and freeze your expressed milk. You can buy these off the internet or in major retailers. The brand of your breast pump will sell their version but the above two brands seem to be most recommended.
I would recommend combined feeding and expressing early on to prevent soreness as I experienced, they say that if you are not breast-feeding then you need to express every 2 hours and a minimum of 8 times a day to keep up your milk supply but solely expressing is not as effective as breast-feeding. Use expressing to keep up your milk supply and to give your nipples a break but always breast feed where you can. Also in the early hours of the morning the hormones that stimulate milk production are at their highest so if you are not breast-feeding you need to continue the routine by expressing. Blake slept from 10pm to 5am from 4.5 weeks which I was told is very unusual for a breast-fed baby but I didn’t know to continue expressing which will have contributed to my slow down in milk production.
Make sure you eat regularly and drink plenty of fluids, I sometimes didn’t eat until the afternoon and I would feel faint. This is down to the fact that your body can burn up to 500 calories a day when breast-feeding and so you need to eat to accommodate for this. But don’t eat for the sake of it, just when you feel hungry and take a little nibble to bed with you because you’ll find that you need it during the night feeds.
Buy nursing bras and nursing tops, it makes life so much easier. You can get cheap button down shirts/tops off the high street. They don’t have to be expensive nursing tops just anything that you feel comfortable in and allows for easy access.
Buy several button front nightdresses, not only are these suitable for labour and whilst in hospital but you will literally live in these for the first few weeks and they’re great to sleep in and for the night feeds.
Attend you’re local breast-feeding support group, its great to meet other mums in the same position as you and you’ll soon feel normal listening to other mums problems. It’s also a great opportunity to gain answers to your questions and generally receive the support you need to be confident in breast-feeding.
I can only give advice based upon my own experiences and if this only helps a small group of new mums then I’ve achieved my goal.
Good luck and please get in touch we’d love to hear your opinions and share your experiences.