Why have I never had Eggy Bread before?

When trying to come up with new ideas for finger food to give my daughter recently, a friend mentioned they’d given their baby eggy bread and it had been a hit.  I thought it would be a good way to up her protein intake and be something a bit different, so I gave it a whirl.

I looked up a recipe on the internet.  I do consider myself a good cook, but sometimes the simple things elude me.  (I still can’t actually boil an egg successfully, but I can  make a three course meal for ten people!).  Whilst keeping my daughter content with some other assorted finger foods, I set to making the eggy bread.

Egg on my face

Now, I’m a big fan of scrambled egg, but struggle a bit with it on toast sometimes (don’t ask me – I think it’s the dryness of the toast next to the texture of the scrambled egg). So what could be better than egg already mixed into toast???  GENIUS!

Aside from maybe once at a Brownie pack holiday – why have I never had eggy bread before??

It got me thinking of all the other things you discover or rediscover once you have a baby.  Also – the things you want to pass onto your child from your own childhood – whether they were things you had, or just lusted after.

She’s on the phone

The FIsher Price Chatter Phone - Now and Then

The FIsher Price Chatter Phone – Now and Then

The FIsher Price Chatter Phone - Now and Then

The FIsher Price Chatter Phone – Now and Then

Whilst I was pregnant, I bought my daughter a Fisher Price Chatter Phone.  This is clearly a throw-back to my own childhood memories.  At seven months old, she started playing with it, although I have to say both she and I get a little bit frustrated with the health-and-safety-gone-mad changes that have been made to it.

The string holding the receiver to the phone is so short, she can’t even put it up to her ear without taking the whole handset with her!  It seems a bit ridiculous to me.  Mind you – I’m not sure she’ll ever really understand it’s a telephone, seeing as no modern phones even vaguely resemble the Chatter Phone these days!


Glo-worm from the 1980s

I don’t think my Glowey is quite this pristine!

One of the nostalgic purchases I’ve been most happy with since our daughter arrived is buying her a Glo-Worm.  I used to LOVE my Glo-worm (affectionately called Glowey) which I was given on my third birthday.  He came everywhere with us; on holiday, to playschool, to relatives’ houses. I even had a Glo-worm shaped birthday cake!

Now Glowey sits atop a (high) shelf in our daughter’s nursery, watching over her, while Glowey 2.0 takes up the mantle of being fondled and chewed and thrown all over the place.  New Glowey even plays tunes!

Playskool Sensory & Lullaby Glo-worm

Glowey 2.0

And I have to say, Glowey 2.0 has been an absolute Godsend! I don’t know why in particular, but when nothing else will settle her, Glowey comes out and sings his lullabies and shines his little round face, to settle our little one in the same way his forefather did for her mum!

Swiss Roll and Baked Beans

Bluebird A La Carte Kitchen

Wake up Daddy – breakfast’s ready!

And then there are the opportunities missed in life due to not being given the ‘right’ toy for a birthday or Christmas.  Everyone has ‘the toy that never was’.  For my sister-in-law, it was a Mr Frosty.  We had one.  It was rubbish.  I agree wholeheartedly that it was one of the most disappointing toys of the 1980s.  .

For me and my sister, it was the Bluebird A La Carte Kitchen.  As the original advert still taunts me – WE NEVER GOT THE CHANCE TO MAKE SWISS ROLL AND BAKED BEANS FOR OUR DAD!  I’m sure he’s rather glad.

Time’s a great healer

I’m not sure my sister and I will ever get over the lack of an A La Carte Kitchen.  In fact, I’m sure as soon as our children are old enough, they’ll be bought the modern day equivalent whether they want one or not. Nope – it’ll be some other toy which will be the one that got away.  It probably hasn’t even been invented yet.  Or maybe it’ll be a re-hash of a toy we had (or didn’t have) as children!

What was the one that got away from you?  Would you buy your child the toy you never had??

What other things are you rediscovering from your own childhood since having a baby?

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Gro-ing up

‘fess up
Who hasn’t looked at a baby sleeping bag and wished they could crawl into a giant adult sized one tonight?

I don’t know about you, but when I’m out and about with my baby in her various snuggly layers in her pushcair, I’m inundated with comments like ‘oooh, don’t you wish you could just snuggle up in there with her/’.  Well, yes, when it’s -3 degrees outside and I’m doing the pushing and she’s doing the sitting, there are certain times I’d happily swap!  Just imagine what the same women-of-a-certain-age would say if they saw babies all snuggled up in their sleeping bags at nighttime?

Nothing looks cuter than a baby in a sleepsuit.  Despite how pretty or cute an outfit can be, a baby in a sleepsuit is just too sweet for words.  Add to that a sleeping bag that makes them look like a giant chrysalis just waiting for metamorphosis and what could be cuter?

Bag of all trades – master of none

Having initially been put off by the cost of the original Gro Bags, I tried a number of other sleeping bags for our little one.

The Mothercare one we had was good – with useful poppers under the arms to make it smaller to begin with for a newborn – similar to the Loved So Much sleeping bag in their current range.

Ikea's Torva Sleeping Bag

The Torva Sleeping Bag from Ikea is very reasonably priced, but not always easy to get baby into.

Ikea’s Torva Sleeping bag is incredibly reasonable in terms of price.  As you would expect, the Torva is good quality and of practical design.  The only thing that was a bit tricky was the cross-over style of the top.  Getting our baby’s arms into it when half or fully asleep was sometimes a bit tricky and on many occasions woke her up.  Whilst this design may not have been great in terms of getting it onto a baby, as with all Ikea designs, it did have its practical upsides in providing a bit more upper-body warmth than the standard vest-style design.

Whilst pregnant, I bought a beautiful sleeping bag from Gap with a lovely giraffe print on.  It was definitely one of those items bought because it was pretty and not terribly practical.  Once in use, we quickly established the tiny, faffy zip was ridiculous when it came to night-time nappy changes, and to be honest, it was far more lovely to look at the sleeping bag on the clothes-airer than try and persevere with the zip!  (It was lovely though!)

We were also given a sleeping bag from M&Co for Christmas, which was a lovely, pretty design, but which felt very strange in terms of the texture of the lining.  Trying to wind our baby whilst she was wearing it, made her more than a little static!  Maybe that’s why she’s got fly-away-hair!

The original and still the best

When looking for the next size up of sleeping bag (6-18 months) I decided to splash out and buy our first Gro Bag.

Tea Party Gro Bag exclusive to Mothercare

Exclusive to Mothercare, the Tea Party Gro Bag.

I couldn’t resist the beautiful. vintage style of the Tea Party Gro Bag which is exclusive to Mothercare.  And I have to say I’ve been chuffed to bits with it!  Not only does it look beautiful.  It’s very hard-wearing.  The zip is large and robust enough to be pulled in all directions at whatever time of night, yet is tucked away style-wise out of view..The capped sleeves on this design look so cute.  There have been many times in the darkest hours of the night, when you can’t help but smile just because this Gro bag is so pretty!

I also recently happened upon a bargain Alphapinks Travel Gro Bag.  My original intention was just to use this as another standard sleeping bag, but we did recently use it for its intended purpose on a long night-time car journey.  It is very useful for both.  The two-way front zip is great when travelling so you can easily undo the travel harness while baby is still sleeping (in theory) and also great for use at home.  Similar to the Ikea sleeping bag, getting baby’s arms through the sleeves when already sleepy can be a bit tricky, but there is at least a bit more room around them – in fact, as I recently found out – there’s plenty of room to get arms and hands through with the comforters they’re grasping.

Practical Baby Gifts - Hetty Gro Bag

The beautiful Hetty Gro Bag – perfect vintage style and practical design.

Continuing the vintage theme, I also recently splashed out on a Hetty Gro Bag.  The design is beautiful and again, the Gro Bag is robust enough to be pulled every which way and will hopefully stand up to being pushed, pulled and draggefd around the cot once our little one learns to crawl and stand in it!

About a Boy

When choosing Gro Bag lines to stock on Practical Baby Gifts, I wanted to stock those that I would want for my baby girl, or to give as gifts to others.  Admittedly, I seem to have initially veered more towards designs aimed at boys.  The Little Trikes Gro Bag is particularly lovely – with a vintage style print all over and added applique trike on the front.  I think it’s the baby boy equivalent of the Hetty Gro Bag for girls, in that it has the power to make you smile in even the darkest depths of night time!

Similarly, the All Aboard Gro Bag is another favourite.  It’s perfect for anyone who loves the current nautical trend or perhaps for anyone who has used a nautical theme in their child’s nursery.  It’s the perfect complement.

Practical Baby Gifts - Fluffy Clouds Gro Suits

Fluffy Clouds Gro Suits – so cute and practical for the colder months.

Suit up!

In this seemingly eternal winter, our little one insisted on waking at stupid-o’clock due to the cold temperature in the nursery.  At 5 o’clock one morning, I capitulated and ordered some Hetty Gro Suits.  I was willing to try anything to reclaim the early hours to sleep!  The next night, she slept so much better as her arms and hands were a lot warmer.  For anyone looking for a gift for an autumn / winter baby (or their own baby – regardless of season), the twin packs of baby blue Penguin Pop Gro Suits or the neutral Fluffy Clouds Gro Suits are ideal and would definitely be greatly appreciated by any new parents.  Anything to aid sleep!

Good design means zip

But the pretty patterns on the Gro Bags are clearly not the only reason why I think they’re the original and best. It’s the little things and the very, very important things.

It’s the research and advice that’s gone into making them. It’s the endorsement from and ongoing partnership with The Lullaby Trust (formerly FSID) to promote safer sleep for babies. All these things contribute to the quality and design features of the Gro Bags.

These features include the ‘Zip Click’ feature which covers the zipper, meaning it won’t get caught on baby’s skin or sleeve.  The under-arm poppers on the smaller sizes, mean parents can be far more confident in using a Gro Bag in the early months, when the key advice is that a baby’s head shouldn’t be able to slip through the neck.  The Travel Gro Bags are well designed, with ease of use and safety front of mind at all times.  The two-way front opening zip makes getting baby in and out of a car seat or pram whilst sleeping easy and the velcro on the openings for the safety harness mean that the Travel Gro Bag can also be used for a normal night’s sleep at home too.  Two for the price of one!

Practical Baby Gifts - Little Trikes Gro Bag

Little Trikes Gro Bag – lovely print and applique make this perfect for a beautiful baby boy.

Whilst my opinions are solely based on my small amount of experience and not exhaustive market testing (maybe one day), I have been very impressed with Gro and their range of Gro Bags and Gro Suits.

Do you use baby sleeping bags?  Have you found them useful or do you prefer to use blankets and sheets instead?

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Milking us for all we’re worth?

Today, ex-Prime Minister, Baroness Thatcher has died (to hopefully give her her correct title); a news story that will bring mixed feelings to the nation on her legacy. Rightly or wrongly it’s fair to say I’m rather apathetic about the announcement.  It’s the news story two down on the BBC News homepage which has me rather baffled and a little incensed: Danone baby milk rationed in the UK over China ‘export’ fear

The essence of the story is that UK consumers will be rationed on how much powdered baby milk we can buy so that unscrupulous people aren’t buying in bulk to ship abroad, primarily to China.  The same has already happened in other markets, Australia.

When I was in Tesco a few weeks ago, I marveled at a hastily printed sign saying sales of baby milk were limited to 10 per customer.  I thought that a bit odd at the time.  Now if I go there later today, there might be a similar sign saying I’m only allowed to buy two cartons of our usual milk, Aptamil!  What next? A tax on fizzy drinks? Oh, wait.

Aptamil FIrst Milk

Milking us for all we’re worth?

Has the world gone mad?

Maybe I count within the ‘unscrupulous people’ category as I buy powdered baby milk in bulk.  I buy what I know we’ll need at the start of the month so that I’m better able to budget.  Now, like with so many things, by trying to do the right (and easy) thing, I’ll be forced to change my buying behaviours because of the actions of a minority.

I appreciate that the surge in demand for foreign brand baby milk follows a terrible situation where eight children died from contaminated baby milk in 2008.  It probably also has roots in the ongoing self-aggrandisement of the Chinese middle classes through the acquisition of foreign brands.  Despite people paying a premium for them that many can ill afford – it’s far more prestigious to be seen with foreign branded goods than home-grown Chinese brands.

But, as Baroness Thatcher once said (and don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means her biggest fan) ‘There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty.’  I know I’m talking on a very small scale, but why should the majority of us who are, at most, buying six or seven cartons of powdered milk have to now make several trips to the supermarket – at a time when petrol and other costs are sky high?!  And if that’s the behaviour that Danone (Aptamil’s parent company) is actively encouraging, then it’s hardly going to nip the export of their milk abroad in the bud!

This lady’s not for turning, either!

You could be sceptical and wonder if it’s a rouse to sell more powdered baby milk, in an industry possibly as heavily restricted as to its marketing activities as the tobacco industry.  (Don’t get me started on why we live in a country where every man and his dog can set up and advertise a gambling / gaming website, but to advertise and educate people on formula milk is forbidden).  But whatever the driver – is restricting sales to a core market really a good strategy?

What do you think? Has the world gone mad, or are the restrictions perfectly justified to control illegal exports by a minority? One more quote from the recently departed: ‘I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that’s not their job.’

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Baby Driver

And once upon a pair of wheels…

I’m sure Paul and Art didn’t have pram-pushing in mind when they wrote their song, but it keeps popping into my head recently, as I’ve observed a weird phenomenon.  Those who walk quickly without a pram go very slowly when pushing one, and those who normally walk quite slowly anyway go EVEN SLOWER!  On the other hand, for me personally, pushing a pram is about the only thing that seems to quicken my pace!

Speedy or slow - pram pushing in Knaresborough

Speedy or slow – pram pushing in Knaresborough

Hit the road and I’m gone!

I’m not normally known for my speedy walking pace (or any sort of haste really), but give me a pram to push, and I’m off!  Speeding down the pavement, running over dogs, bashing up and down curbs and through shop doorways.  I’m considering getting my little one a Formula One style neck support just in case her neck starts to suffer from the G force!

OK, so I exaggerate slightly. But the other side of the coin, is those who go on a complete go-slow once they’ve got a pram to push.  When out shopping the other day with my better half, I felt I had to say something after my heels and ankles were aching from the exceedingly slow pace we were walking at, as he was pushing the pram.  It’s normally a case of me practically trotting alongside him trying to keep up, but no, give him a pram to push, and we’re overtaken by octogenarians.

(N.B. he claimed he was just sticking to my ‘browsing’ pace, but it was definitely a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other.)

The Little Old Lady from Pasadena (Go Granny, Go Granny, Go Granny Go)

Then there’s grandparents.  (And apologies here.) Both our little one’s grandmas seem to walk at a snail’s pace once in charge of the pram.  To the point where, again, the ankles and heels are aching and you never quite get anywhere!  It took an hour recently to do a circuit round our town that takes me 20 minutes.

I think it stems from the nurturing instinct (so what does that say about my pace?) and the fact that they don’t wish to wake a sleeping baby.  But then there’ll be the inevitable curb that isn’t dropped or the pram will get lodged in a pot hole somewhere and the baby will wake up with quite a start!

Staying asleep despite the speed!

Staying asleep despite the speed!

Scoot down the road – what’s my number?

And then there’s Grandpa.  He likes to go very fast.  In the early weeks after the birth when I was more than a little slow on my pins, Grandpa had control of the buggy and I thought we would never see our new addition again!  And he definitely ‘drives’ the pushchair rather than pushes it.  I’ve never seen it corner quite like when Grandpa is in charge!

I wonder how your engines feel

And when I am out and about on my own, I of course have become ‘one of those mums’ who thinks she has a God-given right to the pavement.  Why should I go round those without a pram / wheelchair / mobility scooter, when they’re far better able to meander if required?!

But then there’s the camaraderie of the pram-pushing sorority, which I truly love.  That knowing smile shared when one of you is waiting for the other to pass on a tight bend.  Or the mutual admiration with a fleeting glance at each other’s baby. Or the guilty internal grin you give yourself when her under-eye-bags are larger and deeper than your own.  It’s a whole new world.  And I’m speeding through it.

What have you noticed when out and about with a pram? Any strange speeding phenomena? (or lack of?)

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Our Guide to Buying Baby Gifts

The Practical Baby Gifts Guide to Buying Baby Gifts

When buying for a new parent or baby it’s easy to be overwhelmed.  We’re all guilty of choosing something that’s pretty over something that’s practical, and with so much choice out there, it’s easy to get carried away.  Here at Practical Baby Gifts, we’d like to share a few observations that may help you when trying to find the perfect baby gift for your loved ones.

Practically perfect in every way!

Practically perfect in every way!

Parents are still people too

Contrary to what some people think, ‘new mum’ didn’t have a lobotomy nine months ago and lose all her personality and style preferences.  If you’ve never seen the new mum you’re buying for wearing pink, chances are she’ll have strong views about not dressing her little darling in shades of pastel pink.  The same goes for nursery accessories.  Similarly, some new parents want to express themselves and their clothing tastes through their little ones.  With the increased availability of mini band and film t-shirts, it’s more and more likely a mini Blur t-shirt will be better received than a ‘Daddy loves me’ t-shirt.

Buying clothes is a minefield

Buying clothes for a new baby can be tricky.  If you’re buying before the baby’s born, you don’t know what size it will be.  I’ve had friends with babies ranging from 4lbs to 12lbs, meaning it can be months before even newborn sized clothes come into use, or they may never be used at all.  With clothes, at best, they’re going to get 6-12 weeks’ wear.  With so many other people likely to buy  clothes as well, the new parents will have such a range that they won’t have chance to dress the baby in half the outfits they receive – meaning that what time they don’t spend washing the clothes, they spend feeling guilty for not getting much wear out of the baby clothes.

Toys and other accessories have a longer shelf-life

Most toys, whether soft toys, hanging toys, teethers or rattles, have a far longer shelf-life than clothes.  If you buy clothes, chances are you won’t see the baby in them anyway, but you’re far more likely to see them using and enjoying a toy for six months to a year and maybe beyond.

Other useful items such as towels, muslin cloths and sleeping bags will be used time and time again, and will be remembered as far more practical gifts from new parents.

Don’t expect ‘Thank You’ cards for at least three months

In fact don’t expect ‘Thank You’ cards at all.  People show gratitude in many ways, and a heartfelt Thank You at the time of giving and receiving the gift should be enough to show you it’s appreciated.  Many new parents don’t have the time, inclination or indeed money to spend on writing Thank You cards, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love and appreciate your gift.  Personally it means far more to see a baby using a present months on, or to have the parents comment about how ‘so-and-so loves the present you bought him’ six months later, than a Thank You card I’ve long since discarded.

If the new mum is Wonder Woman and manages to arrange buying cards or ordering personalised cards, then it’s a bonus.  It’s even more of a bonus if you receive one within three or four months of the baby being born.  Before that time, she’ll have been lucky to have five minutes to herself when she’s not feeding, bathing, washing or generally recovering!

Mums need to feel special too…

I’m not saying it’s not lovely to receive lots of pretty and practical gifts for a new baby.  But equally, mums need to feel special too.  She’s just been through a hell of an ordeal.  Whether the birth was straightforward or otherwise – it was a complete bodyshock.  Take some flowers (preferably already in a vase) or just some cake and sandwiches, as chances are food for herself is the last thing on her mind!  If you want to treat Mum, consider something practical like a new changing bag or something that she’s likely to use time and time again that will make her feel special and treated.

…As do Dads!

Whether it’s taking Dad for a pint, or taking him some chocolate round for energy, don’t forget New Dad either!

What have you experienced when you’ve given a new baby gift, or received one?

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