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jojo maman bebe

BABY ON BOARD

Daphne’s wardrobe – tips on buying baby clothes

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Just some of her majesty’s outfits

I’m not going to lie, when I found out I was having a girl, I was immensely excited by the dress-her-up-in-teeny-dresses possibilities. I literally couldn’t wait to get out to the shops and start buying stuff (but I was really superstitious I’d have a miscarriage so I held off for as long as I could bear). Anyway, before she was even born, Miss Daph had a whole load of lovely little outfits, most of which she either wore once or… never at all.

I know that everyone knows this, but you sort of don’t REALLY realise it until it’s in front of you – babies grow ridiculously quickly. Like, overnight. Even though Daph was a teeny tiny 5lb baby, some of the first bits we bought her lasted only two weeks. They’re now tucked away in her baby keepsake box and every now and then I get them out and stare at how small they are and sniff at the memory.

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Some Ralph Lauren bargains Oli picked up in TK Maxx

As she’s grown, I’ve tried to hold back a bit more on buying ALL the cute outfits, because really, it’s a waste of money. It’s lovely to see her looking sweet and dressed up, but it’s also horribly painful packing away tiny velvet dresses and beautifully embroidered cardigans that I know she only wore once. I’ve been putting all the stuff she’s grown out of in one of those laundry-bag things from JoJo Maman and it’s already full – and those bags aren’t small! I don’t really know what to do with all her clothes – I’m saving them in case we have a number 2 (the jury’s still out on whether we’ll try to do that – how do people deal with sleepless nights, a baby AND a toddler?!) but there’s still far too many, and I’m considering donating a lot of them to charity and only keeping my favourites.

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How cute are these? Pineapples FTW. My latest buy, from Marks & Spencer

Anyway, in the six and a bit months since we’ve had her, I’ve learnt a few lessons when it comes to buying baby clothes. Here’s my tuppence worth, to help save some of your tuppences…

  1. You will mostly want to dress your baby in babygrows (sleepsuits) and vests. Honestly. Trousers, skirts, tights, dungarees – all the rest of it – they’re just a bit of a faff. Lovely to look at but you’ll save them for ‘occasion’ days when you’re having lunch with the family or feel you can be bothered to wrestle with baby tights after changing a nappy. The rest of the time your baby will be wearing, pooing and throwing up on babygrows. So buy more of them and less of everything else.
  2. My friend Emma was right about baby socks. They are a waste of time. They fall off, they get lost, they are a bit pointless (even with those sock-on things).
  3. All the clothes you buy should have at least three months’ growth in them, or you will hate yourself. This is my new technique – buying everything slightly too big. As Daph was small when she was born, most of the clothes she had were too big and it actually didn’t matter – sleeves and trouser legs can be rolled up and it makes putting things on easier as they have plenty of ‘stretch’ room.
  4. Always buy coats in the next size up. Babies hate putting on coats and the bigger they are, the easier it is for you. I stupidly bought an adorable Joules jacket for Daph in size 3-6months and it was snug even when I got it – suffice to say she grew out of it in about a week and now it just hangs on the back of her door taunting me (£30!!!)
  5. On the subject of coats, we’ve found that cardigans with hoods are WAY easier to get on and off and make good substitutes.
  6. Petit Bateau do the most beautiful baby clothes known to mankind but they cost an absolute fortune. Unless you have parents who regularly do booze cruises to France. In which case, tell them to pop into an hypermarché on the way home, where they can buy all the PB you desire but at half the price. 😉
  7. Marks & Spencer‘s children’s clothes are absolutely bloody phenomenal. I am obsessed. The cotton is amazing quality, the designs are fun and contemporary, they are really good value (£13 for five vests!!) and they have loads of cute outfits too (if you don’t have the willpower to stay away from those rails). And their babygrows have a DIFFERENT COLOUR POPPER for the confusing popper at the crotch. Genius (this will only make sense to you if you regularly popper up a baby in a sleepsuit). They also do much cheaper sleeping bags than the market-leading Grobag, with a much better way of fastening the zip too (IMO).
  8. JoJo Maman Bebe rule the babygrows. Yes, everyone else’s baby has the pink elephants one too, but they are such lovely thick cotton and the designs are really interesting. They’re not cheap at all but they do quite often do sales online, so look out for them, and if you get a loyalty card you get stamps every time you spend a certain amount that turn into £15 off once you’ve collected enough.
  9. Babies look boring in neutral tones like grey and white. Well, my baby does anyway. Bold colours and patterns are SO much cuter.
  10. Small babies don’t need pyjamas. They sleep in sleepsuits. Clue’s in the name. You’ll worry about their feet getting cold otherwise.
  11. TK Maxx has loads of lovely baby clothes from the likes of Ralph Lauren. DEFINITELY worth a visit if you’re looking for something special.
  12. Baby Gap stuff is as lovely as you thought it was, but eye-wateringly pricey.

So yes, that’s what I’ve learnt about dressing babies since having my own little pudding. Anyone got any tips they’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!

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Just a quick one this week – to wish you all a very happy Christmas!

We’re spending Christmas week down at my folks’, and have already enjoyed two family Christmas get-togethers and far too much cheese! Daph is being spoilt rotten by my parents and all the visitors we’ve had. And I’ve been getting some lie-ins as Granny looks after Daphne for me 😉

It was funny trying to decide what to get Her Majesty for Christmas, as obviously she’s still so little and doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, and also, I seem to be continually buying her stuff anyway. We did buy one of those peculiar Mamas & Papas Baby Snugs for her as she loves sitting up so much, and were going to wrap it and put it under the tree but then it seemed daft not to get it out and use it when she is desperate for it!

We also bought her a projector light show for her cot, which has worked really well at entertaining her for a bit while we groan when she’s decided 6am is the time that the day should start.

Oli and I always do rather OTT stockings for each other, so I’m looking forward to that! He also said he’s bought Daphne a few bits which will be a nice surprise for me 🙂 And he already surprised me on Saturday by giving me this beautiful handmade decoration as a reminder of Daph’s first Christmas! Again, I cried. Ridiculous.

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I’m going to have a little break from blogging now as no one wants to read posts over the Christmas holidays. But I’ll be back in the New Year (soz). Thanks to everyone who reads my ramblings, and thanks even more to those who leave comments! It’s so nice to have an outlet when I’m not working – although I will be starting a new freelance job in January (eeek!) which is very exciting – more on that in the New Year…

Hope you all have an absolutely wonderful Christmas break, filled with friends, family and the aforementioned cheese! See you in 2016!

Afterthought: this post is severely lacking in snark. Must be the Christmas spirit getting to me.

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BABY ON BOARD Pregnancy updates

31 Weeks

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I’m seriously not going to miss taking photos of myself every week

I’m 31 weeks today! There’s definitely something about passing the 30-week mark that makes you think that from now on, EVERYTHING has to be about the baby. I’m sure this is also because I’m now on maternity leave, so I’ve got very little in the way of day-job-work to distract me. Anyway, being 31 weeks has suddenly got me all in a flap about the fact that the baby will be full-term and therefore may be born at any time in only SIX WEEKS. Squeak!

Everyone I’ve spoken to has said that first-time babies are always born late, so I had almost resigned myself to not having Chip until September. But then I googled it and discovered that statistically first-time babies are as likely to be early as they are late, so that’s a load of nonsense. Also, with my placenta issue, if I haven’t had him/her by 41 weeks they will induce me, which means that he/she will definitely be born by 2 September! A very strange thought.

I’ve had mixed reactions about my August due date, with some people saying they hope I’ll hang on so the baby is born in the next school year so that he/she isn’t the least developed (read: most stupid) in their class, and others pointing out that an August baby means one year less of childcare for me (as the baby will be going to school almost a year earlier than babies born a week later). Truth is I actually don’t care at all when Chip is born. I just want him/her to be healthy and for me not to rip in half during labour. Oh and for my feet to go back to normal after (more on that later).

Anyway, my first week of maternity leave has been lovely, and basically felt like a mini holiday. I’ve been out seeing friends a lot for lunches, brunches and dinners, and generally just pottering about. I even went back to John Lewis’s baby department again, but this time with my Mum. Sadly it was no more successful than my previous trip. In fact the only difference was this time it was my Mum saying ‘Oh it’s all a bit overwhelming’ as we wandered around marvelling at all the baby nail scissors and bibs and stuff. Again we left empty-handed, save for a helpful ‘John Lewis Baby’ brochure of ALL THE THINGS I WILL NEED. It’s on the coffee table. Progress.

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We did also go to JoJo Maman Bebe however, where I found it impossible to resist this little rattle. Despite my Mum saying ‘Charlotte, people will BUY you things like that, you shouldn’t buy them yourself!’ But… where’s the fun in that?

I’ll probably do a separate post on the bits we have bought so far, but suffice to say that I feel we’re getting there on the clothing front – the only part of baby shopping that doesn’t freak me out. Although who knows if August babies need long or short sleeved baby grows? I’ve got a mixture of both just in case… (I’m also still slightly confused as to the difference between a sleep suit and a baby grow but hopefully all will become clear at some point).

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Proper bump pic + podgy pregnancy face

But enough about the baby, back to ME. I’ve had some new symptoms again this week, which I shall now moan about for your reading pleasure and my future self’s nostalgia:

1) Crazy dreams. This may be due to us finally beginning to watch Game of Thrones (yes yes, I know, eighty years late to the party) but my dreams are so far off the sane-scale these days that I’m starting to become concerned. They don’t make any sense at all. Last night I was in a 4×4 being washed through a tsunami in the Devonshire countryside on my way to an interiors photoshoot. I think this may be a weird hybrid of issues in my life at the moment: the possible need for a new safer car (although I hate 4x4s with a passion), the possibility of moving out of London (although Devon is certainly not on the list of potentials, much as I’d love it to be), the fact the house we had an offer accepted on last week has flooding issues (we’ve pulled out), and well, me missing a big photoshoot for one of our clients due to being on mat leave. Just weird. Every morning I’ve woken up and gabbled, all excited like a five-year-old, ‘I had the weirdest dream!’ to Oli, who this morning made me laugh by replying ‘Yes, well tell me after I’ve been to the gym’. Message received loud and clear: other people’s dreams are BORING. Ahem. Moving on then…

2) For the last three days, my hands and feet have been really stiff and puffy when I wake up in the morning. I googled this and apparently I have rheumatoid arthritis. Of course, I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis because I’m pregnant, and so instead I have carpal tunnel syndrome. Not nice. I have to flex my hands and wrists for a good few minutes to try to get them to loosen up after I wake up – I literally have no grip otherwise. Annoying. And much sympathy now for those who do have rheumatoid arthritis.

3) My feet continue to upset me. My poor feet! My feet will never be the same again!! They are elephant feet. I hate them and they hate me. I miss my old, slightly bony, vein-riddled feet SO much. I miss my shoes! I’m actually praying to the god of feet that these fluid-filled bags of skin return to their normal size and shape after Chip is born because I can’t bear to spend the rest of my life looking down at such squidgy monstrosities.

4) And finally, I am definitely feeling BIGGER. I feel like a proper pregnant person now, and have started to wear my bump and my awkward waddle-walk with pride. I am using this as an excuse to eat more too (resistance to massive weight gain is now futile). My appetite is huge and seems to require at least two ice creams a day. A few weeks ago I discovered a wondrous thing known as ‘maternal fat stores’ which are apparently key to you having enough energy to breastfeed when your baby is first born. Basically I’m allowed around an extra 3kg of fat on my body by the time I’m full term. So now, whenever I sneak to the freezer for another Cornetto and Oli gives me a look, all I have to say to him is ‘maternal fat stores!’ and he rolls his eyes and leaves me alone. This bit of pregnancy I am getting on with quite well…