Each month our columnist Leonora Bamford shares her little luxuries from the worlds of parenting, pregnancy and lifestyle.
I woke up this morning and realised that the clocks had gone back and there was frost on my windscreen! How has this year gone past so quickly?! I have my first Christmas event tomorrow and carol singing concerts are already cropping up in the diary!
Christmas Grottos in London
I was so sad to hear that Harrods isn’t going to be doing its famous grotto this year – but there are some wonderful other ones to consider, especially if it’s your baby’s first one. We have a brilliant run down of what’s on offer at My Baba. It’s not as long as normal, due to fewer places offering grottos this year, but Lapland UK is sure to be a good show – and Kew has been on my wish list for years!
Kidsware Collective Coat
Kidsware Collective is my go-to online shop for picking up a pre-loved bargain. When I say pre-loved, many of their pieces still have the labels on! We all need to wrap up warm as the days get colder and I’ve fallen in love with this dear little coat.
Il Gufo Bunny Suit
I’m a huge fan of Il Gufo and although my kids are much bigger now, I’m always looking for presents for godchildren and friends with babies. At this time of year I couldn’t think of a more divine present than this bunny jumpsuit with dear little ears, tail and paws. Lined in cotton jersey, it has a sweet little pocket, a size zip and elastic cuffs – perfect for cold weather.
Stokke’s Winter Set Gloves
I wrote a piece a long time ago that went viral and almost crashed our site – it was for the launch of Stokke’s winter set. I couldn’t believe how such a simple idea could have been missed! Anyway, fast forward a few years and Stokke are still making these beauties, with a soft fleece lining and waterproof outer layer.
Little Butterfly Face Cream
Last but not least, I always like to use a moisturiser on a baby’s skin when the weather turns and you’re inevitably coming in and out of centrally-heated buildings. One of my favourites is Littl Butterfly’s Anti-Pollution Face Cream, a delicious blend of organic oils and extracts perfect for warding against the environment and soothing irritated skin. It’s also dermatologist approved for sensitive, eczema-prone skin.
So, whether you’re popping out for a walk with friends, Christmas shopping, singing carols or visiting Winter Wonderland, make sure you and your babas wrap up warm and snuggle up.
Leo’s Little Luxuries: Top Tips for Halloween
I love Halloween and dressing up a baby for the occasion, is a given. There are so many adorable outfits to choose from and I always try to swap with friends at this time of year to save on buying on Amazon. So for my Little Luxuries column this month, the focus is on the Spooky Season.
Stella McCartney’s Dalmatian Collection
If I had a baby, I would be all over Stella McCartney’s Dalmatian collection. I was mad about the new Cruella movie and what’s not to love about Dalmatians? Top tip, if your little ones are old enough to actually go out and Trick or Treat, Lizzie King always says to fill them up with a great meal and loads of veg before you set out, that way they get the fun but don’t binge on sweets.
Mimi’s Bowl Frozen Monster Bites
If you’re making a meal at home or having friends over, you must try out Mimi’s Frozen Monster Bites, they’re super easy to make and kids love them, adults too! I often have a batch in the freezer, even without the Halloween twist, to serve up as a fun treat.
It’s also a great time for batch cooking and there are so many delicious root vegetables to stock up on. I like freezing in ice trays and then storing in the freezer in easy zip-lock bags ready to whip out and defrost. My older kids planted lots of pumpkin seeds months ago and they’ve been cropping up all over the place. We always end up using them for crafts, carving or eating.
Halloween Nail Inspo From Nails.Inc
My family all love dressing up and whether I go as Cruella DeVille or not, I’m going to be painting my nails viper orange with this gorgeous new colour from Nails.Inc, that’s as natural as can be.
Selfridges’ Halloween Pop-ups
Selfridges have some fun kids workshops on and a really fun Pumpkin Hunt throughout the kid’s department.
Leo’s Little Luxuries: Back-to-School Season
The word on everyone’s lips this month at Baby is ‘routine’ and that’s something I certainly try to live by. I agree that a baby has to fit in with their parent’s lives and how they live, but I believe that there’s a way you can bring routine in to that. Babies crave knowing what’s happening and when, whether it’s feeding, sleeping or playing. I always find that a baby in some sort of routine, whatever that might look like, is a happier one. Which is why all I’m focussing on all the little things that can help set up a successful routine for my Little Luxuries column this month.
With a new school year starting there are so many wonderful classes that one can sign up to from dance and music to art and yoga. We have a great updated list on My Baba with lots of new classes hitting town. I’m also a huge fan of the Peanut app, which is a fantastic network introducing women at any stage of their family journey to connect and get talking.
Mimi Bowl Recipes
If you’re looking to start the weaning process, check out Mimi Bowl’s lovely site and find her on Instagram. I use her recipes for the whole family and her take on first tastes and weaning is great. Her Root Vegetable puree is still one of my favourite pasta sauces out there.
A good feeding routine is always key from early on and I love the look of these super chic DockATot nursing pillows to help get comfy. They’re all gorgeous and I’m torn between the Strawberry Thief and Navy Night Falls pattern.
Toniebox Audio System
I know I always rave about the Toniebox but it really is the best audio system for a nursery. I didn’t get one for my son until he was a toddler but the ever-growing characters are utterly brilliant. For little ones, In the Night Garden is a bit of a must and I absolutely love the look of their white noise Toni which helps them drift off easily with 2 hours of white noise.
Stokke Xplory X
If you’re looking for a new pram, the Stokke Xplory X is a perfect pram for adventure with your little one. The nifty adjustable footrest supports their growing legs and the seat is extra soft. As with most modern prams, it offers reversible seats so the baby can face you or the passing world depending on their age. The Ruby Red is really striking and there are some great accessories. If I needed a pram again, I would definitely go for the winter stroller mittens!
Lilbell Diaper Bags
I try not to suggest too many overseas brands but I’ve fallen for these classic diaper bags from Lilibell. I have some great handbags and always like using them as nappy bags, this genius insert organiser brings a bit of order to your bag and they have one in baby pink!
Leo’s Little Luxuries: Summer in the City
I have had such an amazing start to the summer and although the English weather has been a bit sketchy, it’s been wonderful to catch up with so many friends and family. One of the most special things is being able to meet up with friends who have had babies during lockdown. I think Instagram has been a great way of keeping in touch and seeing how little ones changes. There is something quite amazing about meeting a friend’s baby for the first time and realising that they can walk already. So for this month’s Little Luxuries, I’m sharing my favourite things to do with little ones in London, and some of the baby essentials every new mum should have.
b_together Family Club
I am a huge fan of Maggie Bolger and I can’t wait to check out her new family club b_together in St Johns Wood. I love the whole ethos behind it where you can play, work, eat and relax with your family. Its right up my street.
Roof Garden Café & Bar
I have been wanting to go to Roof Garden Café & Bar, nestled on the top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank, for ages. It’s home to over 200 wild native plants, a luscious lawn and has amazing view across London. The garden, originally a partnership with the Eden Project, was built and continues to be maintained by volunteers and Grounded EcoTherapy, a group which offers people with issues like homelessness help through horticulture. Definitely worth a visit on a sunny day.
Nuk Ice Lolly Set
I love Lizzie King’s thoughts when it comes to eating the rainbow and this year our garden is heaving with crops. I gave each of my children a plot in the garden this year and I have been gobsmacked at what they have grown. For anyone embarking on weaning journey, I absolutely love these this Nuk Ice Lolly Set. It’s so good for weaning and I literally blitz up and fruit and veg into a smoothie consistency and freeze in moulds. Coconut water is another great thirst quencher and easy to freeze.
Liewood Dante Beach Set
I have been doing a lot of shopping for presents at Molly Meg and the new range from Liewood has gone down really well. I love this Liewood Dante Beach Set for trips to the coast.
Baba West Infant Vitamin D Daily Oral Drops
Even though we have been seeing a little bit of sun, I still always recommend our Baba West Infant Vitamin D Daily Oral Drops which are really easy to administer and make sure they’re getting their recommended daily dose.
Kit & Kin Hospital Starter Pack
Finally, great news for any expectant mamas this summer, Kit & kin have just launched this lovely new hospital starter pack, which I am sure would make a great welcome gift.
Read More: The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist
Leo’s Little Luxuries: Staycation Essentials
For my Little Luxuries columns this month I had hoped to talk all things holidays and family travel, but it’s such a hard one with government guidelines changing on a daily basis and some people really don’t like travelling with their little ones. I used to find that mine would finally fall into a new routine, just when it was ready to come home again. Whether you’re staycationing this summer or going abroad, I would say the key thing to remember is to travel with a comfort from home.
I used to always take my own travel cot with me and it might sound neurotic but I think a bottom sheet or a muslin from home to wrap on the mattress, makes them feel more secure.
Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser at the V&A
Last week I took my little one to the Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser at the V&A. It was very interactive and he really enjoyed it but it would be just as fun to go to with friends. The V&A have a great outdoor area and café for after the show.
We can’t live without our Toniebox and they have some amazing bedtime calming stories. I think if you have any sort of device like this it’s well worth packing.
Piccolo have some amazing pouches that are easy to pack. Don’t worry too much about food if you’re weaning, because most places you go to will be able to steam up some fresh vegetables and fruit is so sweet at the moment, all you need is the back of a fork.
Love Organic Baby Shawl
From Babies with Love is such a beautiful company with the best ethos. Every penny of profit from their unique, ethically sourced designs goes to orphaned and abandoned children around the world. This Love organic baby shawl is one my favourites.
Stork Sak Carry On
My all time favourite carry-on bag is from Stork Sak. Their eco Cabin Carry-On bag has an integrated organiser which means you can pack and hang up without unpacking, if you know what I mean. It’s the most organised bag I have come across.
Stokke Clikk High Chair
I am a huge fan of the Stokke Clikk High Chair. It’s for children aged 6 months to 3 years is my recommended product for a UK staycation or alfresco fun in the garden. With detachable legs and an additional travel bag, the Stokke Clikk can be conveniently packed.
Leo’s Little Luxuries: Exploring the Great Outdoors
I am so excited by the theme of exploring in the great outdoors for my Little Luxuries column this month. What more could any of us want after the last year and a half we’ve all had.
Every lockdown baby will be on a path of exploring and discovery and whether it’s having a picnic in the park with family and friends or scoping out your local area, I am sure everyone will have a list full of places they want to explore with their little ones.
BabyBjorn’s Baby Carrier
I absolutely loved carrying my babies around with me and BabyBjorn’s Baby Carrier Harmony is amazing. It can be used from birth up to approximately the age of three and has been specially designed with 3D mesh that is not only very soft but also sturdy. The airy mesh hugs the baby and provides proper support for their back, neck and hips.
Muddy Puddles Scampsuit
Muddy Puddles is such a brilliant brand and their whole ethos is about getting outside and enjoying the wilderness as a family. Remembering that we live in England, I never go out without one of these scampsuits. They are so versatile. The removable inner fleece suit is super soft and comfy as a cosy onesie and the suit without the lining, works as the perfect waterproof puddlesuit!
Stokke Xplory X
The Stokke Xplory X is a brilliant pram to get you outside. I used the Xplory for my last baby, who’s now 4 years old. It was such an awesome stroller in many respects, but what was stand-out for me was how close it brought me to my son. Over the years as he grew, we enjoyed hundreds of expeditions around both town and country, and despite many years of use, to this day my Xplory still has so much life and love left in it. I’ve given it to my best friend who’s had a lockdown baby and I know she’s going to have many more happy adventures.
Le Toy Van Rainbow Tunnel
I am crazy about Rachel Riley’s toy shop which is always full of lovely, old fashioned toys and one that caught my eye this month was this sustainable rubberwood Rainbow Tunnel which will give your little one long lasting fun, whilst caring for our planet.
Leo’s Little Luxuries: Weaning Essentials
I can’t believe we can actually get out and start mixing again and I have been thinking of all those young families who must have craved going out and meeting other little ones. For my Little Luxuries this month I’m focussing on all the wonderful new activities popping up on London now things are opening back up again (plus the weaning essentials needed to fuel you and baby for a big day in town).
I am beyond excited to go and see the Alice:Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition at the V&A with a couple of friends, whilst their babies hopefully sleep soundly in their pram. I am also really excited about the re-opening of the Science Museum on 19th May and especially the opening of ‘The Garden’, which is an interactive space located in the basement. All of my children have loved their time there and although it suggests 3-6 year olds, there are always plenty of babies around, too. There’s so much to take in for little ones from giant tubes to flying saucers and lots of lights.
Everyone seems to be talking about weaning at the moment and I was lucky enough to interview Annabel Karmel last month for my podcast. I wish I had listened to this 10 years ago, when I started weaning my first born. She really is a fountain of knowledge and her app is brilliant.
Read More: Weaning Recipes from Annabel Karmel
I had an amazing nanny called Natalie, who taught me all the tricks of the trade when it comes to weaning and we used to set aside nap time to batch cook for the months ahead. We used to pop the purees in ice trays and once frozen, pop into clearly marked zip lock bags, which we would take out the night before for meals the following day. It was so incredibly easy and actually quite therapeutic to do.
Another thing I would say is, don’t stress yourself out, if you don’t have delicious fresh things at the ready. I used to carry a banana in my handbag, which often saved the day and when travelling, a mashed banana and a mashed avocado mixed together always went down very well.
Piccolo’s Weaning Recipes
Another of my go-to’s for weaning expertise and essentials is the brand Piccolo, and they have some delicious organic recipes. I love the look of this Green Vegetable Three Grain Risotto with Cheese.
Nana’s Manners Cutlery
Nana’s Manners have a great range of equipment for weaning and amazing cutlery for teaching little ones how to eat. Their product ranges are set up in three different weaning and feeding stages. Stage one is for babies starting their weaning journey aged four months and above.
Béaba’s The Babycook Neo
I have tried all of the steamers, but this super duper luxe baby food steamer and blender is on a different level. It’s the latest model from new generation food maker Béaba. The Babycook® Neo is an eco-designed product and looks super slick.
Merle Cape Bib
When it comes to keeping your baba tidy, especially when finger-led weaning is involved, you can’t beat this lightweight Merle cape bib. The recycled material makes it instantly re-usable: simply rinse and wipe clean.
Leo’s Little Luxuries: Spring Must-Haves
Hurrah, Spring has sprung and we’re allowed to meet outside. I have missed my friends so much during lockdown and I can’t help but think of all the babies born last year and over the last few months, who have missed out on all the playdates and interaction with other little babas. On 12th April, lots of outdoor restaurants are opening and I will be catching up with friends and their babies for a good old natter, and to find out just how much we’ve missed from each other’s lives over the last year. For my Little Luxuries this month I’m focussing on those Easter essentials and the little things to help us savour every memory of our own little bunnies growing up.
Easter Bonnet from JJ Park
When it comes to Easter dressing up, I am all for turning the children into cute little bunnies and chicks. How sweet is this little bunny bonnet from JJ Park.
Milestone Journal from Noble Macmillan
I always treated myself to a beautiful leather-bound journal from Noble Macmillan and not only did I jot down various milestones, but I often put down how I was feeling and what had happened during the day. My older kids absolutely love me reading back little exerts from their early days.
Baby Records by Little Brown Box
Speaking of milestones, Little Brown Box is one of my go-to brands for memory boxes for newborns, and their Baby Record cards are absolutely adorable for capturing each special moment and milestone of your baby’s journey.
Pick Plates from Ciara Atwell
A company that I have just discovered is Pick Plates owned by the amazing food blogger and author, Ciara Atwell. These plates really remind me of my childhood. My mother used to do what she called a Cowboy Supper and we would have little compartments on the plate for different things. These genius little plates do just that for you. They’re great for weaning and introducing new foods with a smile.
Weaning Made Simple by Annabel Karmel
With weaning in mind, Annabel Karmel has updated her recipe app and has a fantastic allergy tracker that is well worth a look. She is also about to re-release her number one bestseller on all things weaning and baby recipes, Weaning Made Simple.