Only little babies do that…

a blog by Emily\’s mother

Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

The Big Girl’s Seat

Posted by Caroline on January 16, 2007

Wonder if Mummy and Daddy will notice if I slip this into the trolley?I am delighted to report that after months of sitting in the plastic trolley seat at the supermarket, Emily has finally graduated to the other seat – the one intended for older babies who have gotten the hang of this whole sitting up business.

On today’s trip we originally intended to put her into the plastic seat as per usual but she proved just too big (the fact she was wearing a large puffy coat we bought her at the weekend probably didn’t help either) and we were unable to fasten the straps around her.

I subsequently suggested that since she’s gotten the hang of sitting up straight in her high chair, that she might be ready for the other child seat – the one that allows her to sit up and put her feet through the gaps provided.

And sure enough, she loved it. Quite aside from the freedom it gave her to dangle her legs over the edge of the trolley, it also meant she could look around the store properly, as opposed to the somewhat restricted view the other seat gave her. As the accompanying photo shows, it also gave her a chance to recommend some groceries to us.

Yet I remember a time, not so long ago, when she was too small even for the plastic seat and had to ride in the trolley sitting in her car seat. I’m sure it’ll be only a matter of time till she’s pushing the trolley herself (and no doubt loading it with yet more of Mummy and Daddy’s favourite indulgent desserts) and I’ll be wondering just where the time has gone.

Posted in Day to day, General thoughts, Shopping, Supermarkets | 14 Comments »

Baby’s First Chanukah

Posted by Caroline on December 15, 2006

Happy Chanukah!Being Jewish, we don’t get the chance to introduce Emily to the ‘magic’ of Christmas – but fortunately the festival of Chanukah also takes place in December, and that’s also a time for celebrations, parties and the exchanging of gifts.

However, Chanukah lasts for eight days, and I have been reminded by my mother that it is traditional to give loved ones presents on every day of the festival – meaning technically that I owe Emily eight presents.

We’ve gotten off to a good start on this front. While out shopping the other day we bought Emily a plush toy in the shape of a traditional Chanukah spinning top – or dreidel as it’s known. Although we didn’t actually give it to her until the first night of the festival, we allowed her a sneak preview of it the other day.

And she absolutely loved it, possibly to the exclusion of all her other toys. So much so that her little face lit up when she saw it, and when my husband took it away to remove the packaging she was rolling on to her side and frantically reaching out for it, as though it was being taken away for ever.

She forgot about it as soon as I took her into the other room and reminded her of the existence of Laugh n’Learn Puppy, but she was similarly enthusiastic when we finally gave it to her for good.

As for presents for the other seven days – well, I suppose I’d better get shopping.

Posted in Day to day, General thoughts, Shopping | 9 Comments »

A Question Of Size

Posted by Caroline on December 9, 2006

Aren’t I a bit old for these jeans……?One of the first things I learned about buying clothes for babies is that like grown-up clothes, size seems to vary from shop to shop – and that you shouldn’t necessarily believe what the label tells you.

What this means is that Emily, now aged six months, is currently wearing outfits aimed at both younger and older babies – for example, she fits very comfortably into 4-6month dresses and tops from H&M but trousers in the same category are still miles too long for her (in fact, her 2-4 month H&M jeans still fit her very nicely indeed).

At Monsoon she once again has no trouble with the dresses and tops for her age group – but their 3-6 month jeans presented a bit more of a challenge. For weeks now, I have been attempting to dress her in a pair, only to discover they not only covered her legs quite nicely but also her feet and much of the changing mat, once she had them on.

As time passed the length seemed to gradually get shorter and shorter, as the waistband became more and more snug. Eventually, this week, I gave in and dressed her in them anyway – albeit with turned up legs – otherwise she might have outgrown them before she was tall enough to wear them.

Benetton, by contrast, offers clothes in size 0-6 months, half of which were filled to capacity before she reached that all important age, while Mothercare’s 0-3 month range seemed to continue to fit her even after she was four months.

Full marks, however, to Tchibo and Next for their accuracy. Recently I dressed Emily in a top and trouser two-piece outfit from the former that was for 6-12 months, while a few days later she wore a 6-9 month skirt from the latter. And both of them fit perfectly. Which has left me even more confused as to what size she actually is.

Posted in Day to day, Shopping | 6 Comments »

Me And My Mat

Posted by Caroline on November 30, 2006

Is this banana real……?Emily has a new playmat. After weeks of kicking about on the cute pink mat she was given a few months back, she now has a brightly-coloured mat featuring cartoon jungle animals, and all sorts of different textures and bits to feel and chew.

The idea behind the new mat was to have one for my mother-in-law’s place – she is going to look after her for two days a week when I return to work next week – and we figured it would be nice for her to have something interesting to play on other than the rug. However, she loves the new playmat so much – as do we – that we’re now thinking of leaving it here and taking the old one instead.

We were pretty lucky to find it, though, since it seems to have become remarkably difficult to buy a playmat all of a sudden. We loved the pink one that she was bought as a present (at her welcome party back in August) and would happily have bought another one – if we could have found it. A shopping trip yesterday saw us tramping through the children’s departments of John Lewis and Fenwick – as well as Early Learning Centre and Mothercare – only to draw a complete blank.

Eventually we found the mat – which was made by Chicco – in Babies R Us, which at least had a choice of more than one, and where a playmat didn’t require us to part with a sum of cash that would necessitate a second mortgage. But am a little confused as to why it’s such a difficult thing to find. Do people not make them any more? Or are they just not that popular?

Posted in Day to day, General thoughts, Shopping | 8 Comments »

Puppy Power

Posted by Caroline on October 23, 2006

Scary? Me?Once again, my husband has returned home from work with a new toy for Emily. This time it’s the Fisher Price Laugh N’Learn Puppy, which he picked up for a bargain price (£8.99 plus VAT) in Costco – definitely worth it when you consider that most retailers are selling it for around £20 or more.

The Laugh N’Learn Puppy bears some similarities to Baby Tad, in that it sings songs, spouts phrases, and features lots of buttons to press. The aim is to teach your little one about numbers, letters, body parts and colours – and in this respect it’s rather good. Emily certainly seemed to take to it, having a good nibble on one of its floppy ears and leaning on its hand so that it sang roughly five seconds of each song before moving rapidly on to the next one.

Like Baby Tad though, I greeted its arrival with a certain degree of trepidation, since it has the same kind of jolly, open-mouthed grinning face that treads a fine line between cute and ever so slightly evil-looking. But following closer inspection, I’ve decided it’s considerably less scary – and since it seems to have a lot more in the way of sounds and music to play with, it’s probably slightly better. At least I’m not worried that I’ll find it brandishing a bread knife in my bedroom at 2am.

However, Tad is unlikely to be pleased to discover that he has a rival for Emily’s affections, since the two seem to have bonded so well in recent weeks. Perhaps when I go into her room tomorrow morning to get her up, I’ll find the frog and the dog rolling around fighting on the floor?

Posted in Day to day, General thoughts, Shopping | 5 Comments »

Off to The Baby Show

Posted by Caroline on October 21, 2006

Find me some bargains, Daddy, or else…..!This weekend we decided to check out The Baby Show at London’s Earl’s Court. Having never been to a baby show before we didn’t really know what to expect (except that there would probably be a lot of babies and pregnant ladies there) but went along hoping that we might be able to snap up some bargains for Emily – or at the very least nab some decent freebies.

Tickets for the event cost £12 in advance, or £14 on the door – so I bought them in advance for myself, my husband and my mother (Emily got in for free). My attempts to buy a special ‘grandparents’ ticket for my mother were thwarted when the transaction failed to go through, and I can only assume they must have sold out of the special tickets – not that there appeared to be anything special about them, since they were the same price.

The show itself was huge – the venue is, after all – and was populated by every baby clothing, food, nappy and equipment manufacturer under the sun, as well as stands for pregnancy and baby-related organisations, parenting magazines, midwives, health visitors and plenty more. Even Costco were there, advertising their forthcoming deals on nappies and the like (where Costco used to tempt me with its giant cakes, now my eyes widen at the sight of jumbo boxes of Huggies).

On the plus side, there was plenty to see and try out. Emily had the chance to sample a new type of Huggies nappy, which she enjoyed very much – while we came back laden down with freebies including washing tablets, fabric softener, baby wipes, changing mats, a carton of follow-on milk from the good people at Milupa Aptamil, various booklets and brochures and a jar of Hipp Organic Apple Puree (which Emily is really looking forward to trying).

From our point of view though, there wasn’t an awful lot to buy. These kinds of shows are probably fantastic if you haven’t actually had your baby yet and are looking to start shopping, but since we pretty much have all the equipment already, there wasn’t really a lot else for us (after all, how many pushchairs does one really need?) –

And we weren’t really taken with the clothes on offer, ultimately finding ourselves yearning for an H&M or Monsoon baby stand. Also, the queues for food in some places – particularly the takeaway counter at Pizza Express – were ludicrously long.

It was a fun day out, ultimately, and Emily behaved impeccably throughout. Not sure it was worth the £12 entrance fee, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Posted in Day to day, Shopping | 6 Comments »

Cheap and very cheerful

Posted by Caroline on October 17, 2006

Yay Mummy, I’m having fun…..It seems that sometimes the cheapest toys can prove to be the biggest diversions for babies. Before Emily was born we bought a relatively inexpensive baby gym from Ikea – which unlike more hi-tech gyms consisted of a selection of simple shapes on a bar.

Like most Ikea purchases, it was self-assembly (and unlike most Ikea purchases, we actually had no trouble assembling it) – and once we’d clipped the relevant parts together, we proudly presented it to our newborn.

At first, she showed little interest in it, staring at it for a while then getting bored and wanting to move on to the next thing. Thinking she wasn’t that keen I removed it from her play area – until last week, that is, when we tried it again.

This time she couldn’t get enough of it – hitting the shapes, pulling them and generally spending ages lying under it in fascination. Now, if I don’t put it on the playmat, she stares around, wondering where it is.

The irony is that it cost a lot less than a lot of baby gyms, yet it’s proved to be just as much of a diversion for Emily – even if it took her time to actually succumb to its charms.

She’s also become fascinated with things that rustle and generally make a noise, and I am forever having to move her over on the changing table because she’s discovered a packet of nappies or a bag or something else she shouldn’t be touching. I confidently predict that come her first birthday she will discard all her carefully chosen presents and play with the wrapping paper instead.

Posted in Day to day, Shopping | 8 Comments »

The Best Dressed Girl

Posted by Caroline on October 14, 2006

Following on from yesterday’s tribute to Emily’s hats, we spent the afternoon today stocking up on her wardrobe. This is of course a regular occurrence, since no sooner have we made one shopping trip on her behalf, than she has grown out of our purchases and needs even bigger and better clothes.

As a result, Emily is now the proud owner of a whole bunch of H&M goodies, including a green linen dress and matching green cardigan, several T-shirts and a burgundy silk Chinese print frock which unsurprisingly proved irresistible.

The great thing about H&M is that not only do they do great clothes for babies and children, it’s also very cheap – so unlike other stores, you don’t feel like you’re wasting your money if you pay full price for an item.

Since Emily grows out of stuff so quickly it somehow doesn’t seem worth spending a fortune on anything, only for her to then wear it twice. I just wish that they did some of the baby clothes in grown-up sizes, as I really wouldn’t mind some of them for myself!

Then it was on to Baby Gap, where we snapped up some bargain trousers, a denim jacket and a pink and white striped cardigan in the sale. We then came to the conclusion that she probably now has enough to last her through the 3-6 month period. Except of course this will probably last about as long as it takes for us to spot another must-have for her wardrobe.

Posted in Day to day, Shopping | 7 Comments »

What You Can Get For Free

Posted by Caroline on October 7, 2006

Emily in her free Fairy hatHaving a baby can be an expensive business. But when I was expecting Emily, it soon became apparent that the pregnant lady can also take advantage of lots of freebies, which, with some careful planning, can save you a fair bit of cash in the long run.

For example, joining the Boots Parenting Club was a good decision, as it offers plenty of money-off incentives and free things. A Huggies changing bag for example (free when you buy a pack of Huggies newborn nappies), which has proven invaluable – we have used it since Emily was born and it’s saved us having to buy one. OK, so it’s not one of those fancy designer bags costing £50 or more, but who really needs one of those? It does the job and that’s all that matters.

And if you register another postal address, then a relative or another friend can join as well – a handy way of getting yourself a spare changing bag, and all the accessories that come with it.

The Bounty packs that are given out in hospital to pregnant and new mums have also offered their fair share of freebies – some of which (miniature tube of toothpaste, small pack of chocolates) proved pointless.

However, other treats including free baby wipes and washing tablets were most welcome. As was the free hat from Fairy – a cute white cotton hat with the Fairy logo on it – that fits Emily perfectly.

And of course while we’re on the subject of freebies, let’s not forget the best one of all – the £250 baby bond you get from the Government after your child is born. We still haven’t decided what to do with Emily’s – whether to put it into a savings account with regular interest or an investment account which will follow the Stock Market.

But my husband keeps on moaning that while Emily and I have had plenty of freebies, there’s been nothing for him. Perhaps Boots or Bounty could come up with something for fathers too?

Posted in Day to day, General thoughts, Shopping | 5 Comments »

Emily’s New Coat

Posted by Caroline on October 4, 2006

Can you spot the babyNow that the weather has become somewhat autumnal, we have had to adjust Emily’s wardrobe accordingly – which means putting away all the cute little T-shirts and shorts and bringing out her warmer things. Today it was the turn of her new coat – a bright pink fleecy number with pink fake fur trim on the hood and sleeves, together with matching pink mittens (attached to the coat in such a way that even the Mitten Fairy would have a hard job getting her hands on them).

My husband bought this when Emily was just a week old, on the basis that by the time she was big enough to wear it, the weather would be appropriate for it. I had a hard time imagining that the tiny little newborn scrap that was lying in his arms at the time would ever be big enough for it, but fast forward four months and she certainly is.

As with many warm coats though, it’s a big, bulky item – complete with duffel coat style buttons that bring to mind Paddington Bear (or would do if he had worn a pink fleecy coat). Consequently, Emily was rather surprised when we wrapped her up in it to go out this morning, as protection against the rather blustery cold wind which appeared to have sprung up.

What we didn’t realise was just how many inches the coat would add to her bulk. The first challenge came when we were trying to strap her into the car seat. She’s already starting to outgrow the straps on the seat, but throw the coat into the equation and suddenly the seat was filled to capacity. Eventually we managed to get her secure after much huffing and puffing and adjusting of straps, while she got ever more frustrated.

The pushchair straps, meanwhile, proved no problem, but a quick trip to Waitrose on the way home spelled trouble. Since Emily is not yet big enough to sit in the fold-out seat that’s a staple of most supermarket trollies, she has to be strapped in to the special plastic ‘trolley seat’ that most supermarkets provide. Which is fine when she’s in her normal clothes, but once again, when wearing a big coat, this proved to be an impossible feat.

Eventually, after I’d stretched the straps as far as I could get them and Emily had voiced her annoyance by screaming loudly enough to wake the entire car park, we gave up and simply took her coat off, strapped her in and wrapped it round her to stop her getting cold. Now why didn’t we think of that earlier?

So it seems the coat is set to give us a bundle of fun over the winter months, especially as far as straps and seatbelts are concerned. On the plus side Emily, who’s had a bit of a cold the past couple of days and hasn’t slept too well as a result, slept very soundly in her car seat while she was all bundled up in it. So clearly it has its uses after all.

Posted in Day to day, Shopping, Supermarkets | 7 Comments »