Tag: gift ideas

Christmas gift ideas…for me. OK, so it’s basically my wish list. Shut up.

OK, so I don’t actually expect anyone to buy me this stuff (friends and family who are reading this with incredulous looks on your faces – it’s all good – you’re off the hook haha). It’s more of an aspirational wish list and hopefully something that will help any of you who are looking for ideas of what to buy a 32 year old chick who is like, totally exactly the same as me. Yeah. So that’s kind of specific. Ha!

See, I have always loved the idea of writing a list of great gift ideas for Christmas (or Father’s Day or Mother’s Day) but often I realise I’d just be giving up my secrets and the recipients of my gifts would know exactly what was up. We can’t have that!

But if I write a list of stuff I would not be mad at receiving, then no secret squirrel business will be betrayed!

I did write a little guide full of affordable, feel good options a couple of years ago though,  so that’s probably worth checking out.

Anyhow, here’s stuff that I would (hypothetically) be really stoked to receive. Hope it helps! If you like this stuff too, feel free to ‘accidentally on purpose’ leave this post somewhere your partner/kids/parents/rich uncle will see it!

Subscription for Marie Claire Magazine

marie-claire-australia-december-2016-424x600-1471750-424x600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t tend to buy many magazines these days, because I have so many things at my fingertips, electronically (ahem and I have a kid who doesn’t know about adults’ me time). But there’s something really relaxing and indulgent about flicking through a big, fat magazine full of thought provoking articles and amazeballs fashion and lifestyle stuff. It’s usually my ‘treat’ magazine. For those times when I am lucky enough to be child free or we go on holiday. Or even when I had my surgery earlier this year and I knew I’d need a pick me up during recovery.

You can purchase it here

Kylie Cosmetics

maliboo_liquid-lipstick_single-wbox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am obsessed with make up. OBSESSED. Especially with creamy, matte lip products. I keep seeing Kylie Jenner’s lip collections and fantasising over them being on my face, wishing I could have one of each colour. Don’t even get me started on how she’s doing the eye shadow palette thing now too. But I know I will never get around to treating myself. It’s the kind of thing that seems too indulgent for me to buy throughout the year (not to mention it’s shipped from the US). It’s the kind of thing I will always say no to, because other priorities get in the way. I can never justify it. So basically, these cosmetics are the perfect treat for a loved one (perhaps one who loves make up and watches a bit more of KUWTK than they’d like to admit). Something a bit special!

You can buy them here

A good quality bluetooth speaker

I love my music. It recharges me when I feel like crap. It makes housework bearable. It makes exercise really enjoyable. It’s also something that reminds me of who I am when I’m not just being ‘mum’. I’m that bad ass chick (OK so maybe that’s a bit of a stretch) who still listens to punk rock and ridiculous hip hop. I like it loud too.

I’ve had a crappy little speaker for a while which I take around the house with me, but I’d love to invest in something a bit more reliable and solid.

I love this one from Bose:

141409-l-lo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love that it comes with a charging cradle and that it can be plugged into the wall. Sticking USBs into stupid ports on computers or a travel adaptor charger gets old after a while.

It’s a bit pricey but hey, this is my fantasy list. Maybe you could go in on it with some other friends/family members. Or buy it as a joint present for yourself and your partner.

You can buy it here

iTunes gift card (with a nice big amount on it)

You know. So I won’t feel guilty all year buying the music to play on my imaginary BOSE bluetooth speaker. Or in my car. Or those TV shows/movies I never ever get to see at the cinema anymore. It’s those little things that add up when you’re watching your budget throughout the year, but that make a weekend evening in seem a little bit more exciting (yes – I know – how did my life become this).

I know some people feel like they’re slack for buying vouchers, but I honestly would not be mad if I was given this. If thought is put into something, then it still has meaning. This would be so useful to me and would feed my TV and music obsessions quite nicely.

You can purchase them online or you can get them at some supermarkets (I’ve seen them in Woolies) and other retailers.

My Life Story 100 Year Journal

 

yellow-octopus-my_life_story_book_black4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been lusting over this for a few years now, but I’ve never bitten the bullet and purchased one. I think there’s something really romantic and lovely about the idea of recording your life for future generations to keep and have that insight into what your life was like. Or you can fill it in for a child and they can continue it when they’re old enough! I know that if I could have things like this to read about my parents’ lives or my grandparents, these sorts of precious memories would live on forever in writing. That’s pretty cool.

You can buy it here


So, there you have it. Stuff to buy the awkward music loving/make up obsessed/me time starved/sentimental idiot in your life.

I could have continued my wish list forever, but I hope this gets your creativity flowing.

I also recommend supporting small businesses – think handmade gifts, personalised prints, unique t-shirt prints etc. I bet it wouldn’t take much searching to source some great local traders online and offline. I wish I’d been able to get to all of this in one post. Definitely something I should revisit!

What is on your wishlist this Christmas? 

(please note that none of these products have sponsored me in any way – I just genuinely like the look of them – also, please check individual websites etc for online order cut offs in order to ensure you get your deliveries by Christmas or you can try to source some of these things in stores if you’re pushed for time)

Don’t freak out! Easy last minute Christmas gift ideas.

Despite our best intentions, sometimes we can be a bit shit at getting all of our Christmas shopping done on time, or circumstances can change and suddenly we’re a few gifts down. Also, there’s also nothing more annoying than realising you missed a bunch of online Christmas shopping deadlines and you’re gonna have to do this in real shops! I thought I’d put together a little list of gifts you can get at the last minute, without having to go too far out of your way or do anything that is too logistically/financially difficult as time gets away from us. I hope this helps!

Shop your pharmacy

There’s always some pretty cool stuff if you browse through your local pharmacy. Cosmetics, pamper items, specialised gift packs, fragrances (like the gorgeous Cosmopolitan* that I’m lucky enough to be wearing right now that can be found at Priceline/Terry White/Nova)! You can make themed care packages: mani/pedi, skin care, shaving kits etc.

Just run around like a headless chook and stop when you meet your budgetary limits!

Shop your supermarket

While you’re stuck fighting for the last minute Christmas feast stuff with the masses, might as well also grab some gifts to stick in the trolley! The supermarket often sells DVDs, a limited selection of children’s toys, books, beauty products, etc. You can also create a foodie’s hamper. Think some good quality chocolates, some boxes of the good tea/coffee, some fancy biscuits. Or think savoury: fancy crackers, cheeses, quince paste, fancy relishes etc.

The key is to not let it look like all you did was raid the supermarket – style things up a little. Put things together in a way that shows you still put some thought in. You’ve got this!

A lot of supermarkets now also stock great gift vouchers for lots of outlets/experiences. If you know your intended recipient would rather choose their own gift/experience, this can be a really easy option!

Bake in bulk

It might be last minute and you are probably pushed for time, but if you can get your hands on a couple of nice recipes and you don’t mind hanging out in the kitchen for half a day (and you’re pretty confident with this stuff), this can be quite achievable.

Here are some of the recipes I’ve loved…

Gourmet Rocky Road – It looks festive and decadent, is really really easy to put together (we’re talking microwave and fridge – ingredients you’ve heard of – no oven).

Chocolate truffles – I’ve used these as a non alcoholic alternative for rum balls (which are also awesome). Again. No oven – minimal stove top time. Only 4 ingredients that you have heard of. Yippee.

Choc chip cookies – A classic that never seems to disappoint!

And look, I’m so not going to judge if you buy some Betty Crocker or one of those cute gingerbread man box mixes. Go nuts! Splurge on some of those Christmas coloured M+Ms. Bling things up!

People love a nice sweet treat and when something has been home made (even with the help of a box mix), it’s extra special. It means someone put their precious time into it.

If you don’t want to cook, you can even just raid the baking aisle at the supermarket (see above for tips on shopping your supermarket) and put together some cute patty pans, sprinkles, etc to make a little cupcake decorating kit! Even easier!

Shop your bottle shop

Obviously one just for the over 18s (21 if you’re in the US). You can get something for every budget. I’ve personally never turned down a nice bottle of vodka or a beautiful bubbly. I know Mr Unprepared just loves receiving a selection of obscure craft beers that he can try out.

Also, you can do this if you’ve got some craft supplies lying around (or that you managed to scrounge from the supermarket)!

9e4d2b747ced2291b17fa29cfc55eda8

image source

Most importantly, you might be pushed for time or you might be feeling stressed at this time of year, but just remember that it’s all about showing we care about our people. There are so many little ways to dress things up a bit and make a person feel special or thought of, without killing ourselves to achieve it.

I hope this list has helped to inspire you and I wish you well! Good luck!

Do you have any other tips/hacks to add?

 

*Cosmopolitan fragrance was gifted to me for my bloggy consideration. I really really like it, which is good because I am shit at buying that stuff for myself and I never know where to start 🙂

I want one.

Last month, my brother went to Melbourne and I had to do some cat sitting for a few days (he was already cat sitting for my parents – so basically outsourcing his job – terrible). He told me that if I was so kind, he would bring me home a gift. It didn’t take me long to decide on what I wanted.

6528200-3x2-940x627

 

image source

It was perfect timing, really. This beautiful baby had just arrived at the Melbourne zoo! It’s like it was meant to be! I have always wanted a pygmy hippo. They’re so adorable. Hello, they’re like normal hippos but smaller! Like, they’re only 180-275kg when they’re fully grown! Tiny!

When I told my brother what I wanted from Melbourne, he started asking annoyingly practical questions. But don’t worry, I had answers…

“Where the hell would you keep it?”

“Duh. In the bath.”

“It’s probably going to get too big for the bath. Where’s it going to run and play?”

“In the backyard with the dogs. Heidi [the grumpy heeler] probably won’t be impressed, but she’ll get used to it. And Blitz [ditzy labrador cross] will be so excited. They’d be BFFs. It would be like on those unlikely animal friends documentaries and it would be SO cute.”

“…”

So I’m pretty confident he brought me one home. I haven’t seen him yet to collect my gift but I’m so excited. As if it could be anything else!

I’ve wanted one for years, but Mr Unprepared has never pulled through for me. He just doesn’t get the appeal. I’ve dropped so many hints and pointed out pictures of the exact ones I’d like, but he just doesn’t seem to understand! Husbands!

I think they’re so cute, yet potentially dangerous. Like me. I feel like the pygmy hippo is my soul animal.

Also, they are not fighters by nature. They just ignore each other when they’re not impressed (according to Wikipedia). Which is totally how I feel about the internet sometimes. My pygmy hippo could share my blog with me. He could write guest posts about life in the bathtub. I’d clean his teeth with a giant novelty toothbrush and tickle his adorable tiny ears. DON’T PYGMY HIPPOS HAVE THE CUTEST LITTLE EARS? I have cute little ears also. TWINNING!

Also, pygmy hippos spend about six hours a day foraging for food. JUST LIKE ME! It’s uncanny.

ZooPygmyHippo

At Christmas, he could wear a cute Santa hat and I’d serenade him with “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas”, which is incidentally my favourite Christmas song of all time (and very true to my life).

I’ve never seen a pygmy hippo’s smile before, but CAN YOU IMAGINE???

My brother is sooooooo generous. He must have paid a FORTUNE in excess baggage fees to ship my pygmy hippo over, and I’m sure he’s spending a LOT of time feeding him and cleaning up hippo poo, while he keeps him for me. Which I am sure is really small and doesn’t smell at all.

A small price to pay for having me look after the cats for less than a week. I bet he’s thinking it’s totally worth it. Because he’s the best brother ever.

Don’t worry, bro. I’ll take him off your hands soon. Can’t wait!

#blessed

Feel good Christmas gift ideas that won’t break the bank.

Sponsored by GroupTogether

unnamed_Fotor

When I think of Christmas, I think of the act of giving. I think of the ways in which we can show the people in our lives that we care about them and that we have appreciated them throughout the whole year. Christmas to me is about togetherness. In the ever increasingly commercialised world that we live in, we could almost be forgiven for thinking that it’s about ‘stuff’ and ‘money’ and ‘more is better’, but we don’t have to remortgage the house each year to please those we care about. Truly. A little imagination and a lot of love can go a long way (which is what really counts don’t you think)!

Here are some great ideas (if I do say so myself) that won’t break the bank. They are not only fantastic if your budget is a little tight, but for anyone who has a lot of people to share the love with. And? The coolest part? They aren’t tacky, generic crap. They mean something and they’ll bring a genuine smile!

Group gifts.

unnamed

I think if I was given the choice between several itty bitty gifts and one thing that I really wanted, it would be a no-brainer. Just think, if your family/friendship group/sporting team etc all put in just a few dollars (whatever they chose to give), it would add up pretty quickly! You could give a loved one a much needed spa appointment, an experience (hot laps in a race car or sky diving anyone?), or that thing they really want but have never been able to justify buying it for themselves, because they’re so wonderfully generous to everyone else in their lives.

There’s even this awesome website called GroupTogether.com which makes it ridiculously easy! It is pretty cool because the organiser doesn’t have to work so hard to make a group gift happen, which is nice because it can take up a lot of time we don’t have at this time of year. Basically, you set up a collection with GroupTogether, it sends around an email to the others in the group and if they want to contribute, they pay online and add to a gorgeous gift card (yes – you don’t even have to rush down to the shops for a massive card and then somehow arrange for everyone to physically sign it at the last minute)! Basically, this helpful website tracks payments and can even send reminders! When the time comes, it will transfer the money to the organiser who can purchase the gift! Yay! That is a lot of brain space saved for us to fill with other festive chaos 😉

I know that group presents aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I find that not pressuring people to spend more than they can give (or judging those who choose not to) and setting realistic targets makes it a really positive experience! GroupTogether is perfect for managing that!

Also? For added feel-goodedness (not a word but I don’t care for your rules), GroupTogether even lets you nominate a portion of the gift amount to be donated to charity! Yes!

Which brings me to my next idea…

Charity donations.

The perfect thing for the person who has everything or needs nothing. At this time of year, I realise just how lucky I am and I try to remember those who may be less fortunate. Every year my mum purchases gift cards from World Vision for the family (isn’t she awesome?). They aren’t just any old Christmas cards, though. Each one can help World Vision to provide anything from school pencils, to immunisations or school books for children in need around the world (you can pick what you want to give). Each time I receive one of these cards, I feel genuine happiness inside – especially since I’ve become a mum. It brings me a warm feeling to know that someone has donated on my behalf to give children the things my child will be lucky enough to take for granted. Other organisations such as Oxfam provide a similar service.

If causes closer to home are more your thing, there are often present drives for charities in the bigger department stores. You can select a gift for a child, wrap it and place it under a tree there. It is sure to brighten somebody’s Christmas day.

You can also simply choose a charity close to your heart and make a donation on behalf of your loved one/s.

Let’s share the love around these holidays.

Home made gifts.

I know. It sounds like too much effort. Or it sounds lame. But, hear me out. I am a fairly average crafter, with very little experience AND I have a toddler. I have managed to somehow fool people into believing that I am actually OK at this home made gift caper and if I can, you can too!

Here are some ideas you can find online (or on Pinterest where I found them)…

cdbd0761299be179ea2619474ad59787

‘Cookies’ that can be baked later 🙂

0403e46bdd083ee9ceef093653864d91

A Sundae kit

9e4d2b747ced2291b17fa29cfc55eda8

Rein-beer!

7c790b906ce0afa04c3cd8bfee547afa

A naughty hot chocolate in a jar 😉

You can also put together great little (affordable) ‘care’ packages – mini manicures/pedicures in a jar (let’s just make peace with the fact that everything’s in a jar these days haha), little survival kits for anything from a frazzled parent to someone who is scared of zombies! Perhaps a uni student, a parent-to-be, or …well, just about anyone! Just get creative!

Oh, and if you do have a toddler like I do, SLAVE LABOUR. They think they’re enjoying some awesome new pre-school activity, but really you are teaching them about Christmas and the spirit of giving and then everyone receives something adorable (because it’s made with love by their favourite little person/people)! Yes. It’s a win/win situation, right there haha.

939063d44c3496ffde48ad5480064fed

Salt dough ornaments

I could seriously go on and on and on and on. But I won’t. Although, you can contact me if you ever want more ideas. I’ll be all over that sh…tuff (I found out on Twitter that I swear too much and I’m on the naughty list – oops)…

As long as you put a little bit of love in it, people will enjoy it x

Something meaningful.

Sometimes something straight from the heart can be the most valuable thing of all. These are one of a kind, very personalised things that no-one else will ever give that person.

I’ve been known to make photo books filled with special memories, and when the Little Mister was a baby, we ordered special little brag books for the grandparents and great grandparents. You can either print the photos out yourself, go to a printing place (for just a few cents per print) and then buy cheap little albums to put them in. OR you can order them as pre-made books online. A lot of websites will run amazing bargain priced Christmas specials and you can get them made at a very low cost.

Here are a couple of other ideas:

086184ac04a7da6515b7e578056d47ec

“Open when…” letters to a loved one

These are great for when you need to spend time apart from your partner – perhaps one of you travels for work. Or it would even be great for your kids if you have to be apart for whatever reason.

c45e42d44fb77a526201b93587ad6ecf

Pre-planned/pre-paid (if required) date nights for every month of the year

Oh my goodness. I would love this! Sure, it does cost something some of the time, but the time you would get with your partner (kid free) would be priceless and you deserve to treat yourselves all year round if you are lucky enough to get the child care (this kind of gift would be great motivation)! Perhaps the envelopes could include movie passes, reservations for a restaurant, baby sitting funds, something for a concert etc etc. However, there are a LOT of things you can do for free together too (and not just the bow chicka wow wow if you know what I mean haha), with a little imagination!

Your time/presence.

Last but definitely not least, give your time. Just be there. Show your loved ones how much you care all year round. It is the most important gift of all. You are very special to some people in your life and you can never be replaced. Find a way to be there in spirit, even if/when you can’t be there in person. Turn up when you can 🙂

~

I hope these ideas help a little. The thing I like about them is that you can tailor just about all of them to your budget or your particular situation.

What great gift ideas do you have? Have you tried these things before? x

(More) Useful Stuff for an Awesomely Unprepared Mother.

OK, so once I posted five must have items for a new mother after being inspired by the purchasing of gifts for a baby shower, I kind of spent the next million years thinking about other ideas to add to the list. Once my list started in my head it wouldn’t stop! My brain wants to explode with all the stuff I’ve found useful and I just have to be obnoxious (but hopefully more helpful or relateable) and share them, as it feels like every female with ovaries that I’ve ever met is pregnant right now 🙂

Clothing for the baby in larger sizes
All those newborn sized jumpsuits in the shops just make you want to squeal with embarrassingly exuberant delight and buy one of everything for an expectant mother! Sure, she’ll definitely need them, but perhaps throw in a few clothes that come in the 3-6 month and even 6-12 month sizes too. I was so thankful to those who purchased me slightly larger outfits for the Little Mister, because at the 6 month point he was running out of things to wear! Of course I never mind the excuse to go shopping (YAY!) but I had to build his entire wardrobe for each new size range almost from scratch (as you do)! Just keep in mind what season it will be – for example, don’t buy a fluffy, snuggly winter outfit in size 00 if the baby is going to be wearing it in the heat of summer!

At least 7 hooded baby bath towels
OK, so they don’t really have to be hooded. The hood is really a nice touch to keep the baby’s head warm after a bath (which a big enough normal towel can do quite nicely too), but it’s also damn cute.

I rest my case!

I say 7 because that way there’s a fresh one for each day of the week and you have enough spare that you don’t have to worry if you can’t get all of your washing done at once. I bought a few new towels to round off my collection and now I STILL don’t have to worry about running out if I’m struggling to catch up with all my washing right away! It’s a constant rotation of loads of little man clothes (whites or colours), adult clothes, baby towels/bedding etc and adult towels/bedding! Same goes for wash cloths. Have heaps of those too 🙂

Swaddle-Mes
These were/are amazing. They come in different sizes and they’re so easy to use. Forget all that fancy folding and tucking they teach you in the hospital with a blanket that never stays on. Just use a Swaddle-Me (or similar brand) that has velcro and is shaped perfectly for tucking crazy baby arms inside! Our older relatives call them straitjackets, but don’t listen to them. A lot of babies like the security and as they are uncoordinated early on, their arms can flap about too much keeping them awake. I used mine for what felt like a really long time and now have swapped them for sleeping bags (we made the swap somewhere around 4 months but some other babies can switch a bit earlier or even a bit later)!

Colourful, soft educational toys
When I had my baby shower, I was inundated with all these bright, crinkly, noisy, soft toys for the Little Mister. I looked at the massive pile of them and thought – what the hell? There’s too many! This child is going to be so spoilt! Trust me, they will all be used. When the baby is very young they can’t do much more than look at the bright colours or listen to any music or crinkly sounds that the toys might make, but they’re a welcome distraction from grumpiness and they make the day interesting when you’re staying in. I felt like the Little Mister would get bored of them before he could play with them properly. I was so wrong! At six plus months he began to see them as completely new toys, able to hold them and manipulate them (and shove them in his mouth)! He still has toys that he is yet to discover the true potential of (!) and that makes me really happy! You can switch toys out so they seem fresh when they’re reintroduced and I honestly feel that at this age there can’t be too many (within reason haha)! As a baby he was too young to realise he was being spoilt and was just really excited at exploring everything. They kept him busy. You get a lot of life out of them so they’re a worthwhile addition to a new mum’s swag! Right now at 18 months he still loves the bright colours and he’s into sorting them into categories. Balls go together, then teddy bear type things, stuff that makes sounds and so on! I try to hide some away, but he loves digging around for them anyway!

Nappy wallet
My friends with slightly older babies had alluded to these clever inventions when I was preggo, but I didn’t fully understand at the time. A nappy wallet is just that. It is a streamlined way to keep a couple of spare nappies, some wipes and whatever else your baby needs at change time. If you get an awesome one, it will also fold out into a small change mat! The reason I didn’t understand it at first was because I was in that new mummy phase where I wanted to pack my whole house just for a five minute trip to the shops. I figured I already had everything I needed with me (and then some). Why would I need a nappy wallet too when the stuff was all there in my bag? Here’s why. Sometimes you’re in a rush in a public place (or someone’s house). You can grab the nappy wallet right out of your bag, knowing it has everything in it. There’s no clumsy lugging of your entire nappy bag, trying to use fifty hands/arms you don’t have as you try to change your gorgeous bundle of joy (who may not be a fan of change time) in a small space. Just carry bub and a nappy wallet (which is already stocked up) with you! You can re-stock it after each use (from your surplus supply in your massive nappy bag), so it’s always ready to go! This would be particularly useful in cafes and other eateries when socialising (if you’re lucky enough). You can dash off, leaving your stuff with your trusty friends/partner/doting family 🙂

Do you have any other great gift ideas for new/expectant mothers? x

Useful Stuff for an Awesomely Unprepared Mother.

Pic

I recently went shopping for a friend’s baby shower gift. While I myself am a fairly green mother (four months in – he’s still alive – yay!), I thought back to when the Little Mister was so brand new and I was so bewildered by all that baby stuff everyone (parents/friends/magazines/books) told me I’d need. I thought to myself, what would my friend need to know/have?

I then had to restrain myself (it didn’t get physical but it was quite the warzone in my brain) from buying the poor mother to-be the entire local baby store (and every baby department in the bigger chain stores). Oh, also I haven’t won the lottery quite yet (I buy a ticket maybe twice a year) so I guess my finances might not have liked the gesture anyhow. I settled on some very cute gender neutral bibs (at 10 weeks a new mother suddenly realises why those bibs she received at her baby shower are necessary – baby becomes a drool factory before attempting messy solids later) and an insulated bottle bag that comes with a special instant heating pad – you just click a thing on the side of it and it gets hot right away without needing to be plugged into anything or requiring batteries! I also checked the side of the box and there are no nasty chemicals involved! Something I wish I had back in the old days…8 weeks or so ago!

I used to dread baby showers like crazy. Of course I felt honoured to be a part of the celebration and I was always so excited that one of my close friends was going to pop out a mini-human of their very own that I could love and dote on. I just felt so damn awkward! I had no idea what to buy them and not a clue how I would feel if they already had one! I felt lost when I’d sit there at what is usually a fairly alcohol free event and people around me would be talking at a million miles an hour about swaddling, clothing sizes (so many zeros!!) and the latest brands and gadgets to help make a parent’s life easier!

This has got me thinking. What are those super useful must-haves that have saved my life time and again in the last four months?

The “Boring Stuff”
Somehow my husband and I accumulated a crapload of samples and gifts that had our baby supplies looking quite healthy! It’s the stuff that everyone thinks of as boring every day baby stuff, only when you’re heavily pregnant and a little overwhelmed it’s less stuff to tick off the list. We’re talking nappy rash creams, wipes, newborn nappies, powder, baby oil, baby lotion, cotton wool balls, tissues and even teething gel (not to be used until required of course). It might not seem that thrilling, but if you put that stuff in a hamper for a first time mother-to-be, she will be thanking you later when she has baby brain and needs something in a hurry that she forgot to grab from the supermarket (it’s not so easy to get out in the early days)! These were the things I just never really got around to buying before the baby came. I had all the big stuff, the fun stuff and the read-it-in-a-trendy-magazine stuff, but the “boring stuff” just fell off the radar (and then the Little Mister made a surprise appearance three weeks early)!

Digital thermometer, room temperature thermometer and bath water thermometer – thermometers everywhere!
Besides being a really strange word to type over and over, thermometers have been my best friends since the early days. As new parents, my husband and I weren’t sure if we could trust our instincts just yet when it came to the temperature of the bath water, the temperature of our bedroom (where the Little Mister is STILL sleeping even though all three of us are totally ready for him to move) and his body temperature.

Knowing the bath wasn’t too hot or cold meant there was one less thing to worry about on our long list of brand new parent worries! It gave us a base to start from and let us feel for ourselves what the correct temperature is. It’s actually warmer than I would have thought it should be at 36 degrees celcius. I probably would have spent the early days chilling him too much and wondering why he was always upset! Little babies hate being naked as it is – it’s not as cosy out in the world as it was in the womb!

A few times in the first six weeks or so, our bedroom would be a bit too hot for the Little Mister’s liking. We wouldn’t know and while he wouldn’t always FEEL warm or sweaty to the touch, having the thermometer for the room confirmed our suspicions and more often than not, an adjusting of the air conditioner settings and his amount of bedding/swaddling would fix everything.

I used to freak out about the Little Mister’s body temperature because knowing that babies can’t really regulate their own temperature just seemed to mess with my mind! A couple of times I was able to reassure myself by using his digital thermometer. It might seem like something you can just buy later, but if I hadn’t had it ready and on hand when I was worried, my stress levels would have gone off the charts! Sometimes when you want to check, it can be the middle of the night or a time when you can’t make it to the pharmacy to purchase one. I use it after his vaccinations (a horrible terrible necessary evil) if he’s not himself, so I can see if he’s got a fever (a common side effect). It also helped because they would take his temperature every day in the hospital (I don’t know if this is normal or because he was recovering from the infection that brought on my labour), which probably got it into my head that temperature is something to worry about!

Books!
I am not a super parenting nerd (believe it or not, despite the fact that my having a blog might lead you towards this conclusion), but sometimes reading a book that is written with new parents in mind, with up to date information (relevant to your country or culture’s practices) can be incredibly reassuring. Sometimes a lot more reassuring than googling your crazy mind to pieces in the middle of the night because you woke up and you just have to or else).

The three absolute bibles I go by are:

Save Our Sleep by Tizzie Hall


Kidwrangling by Kaz Cooke
What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

I won’t review each of them for you, because that would bore the pants off you, but I have learnt everything from what’s “normal” for every month of my little man’s life so far, what developmental milestones to expect, how to deal with common worries or problems and (perhaps most importantly) how a baby’s sleep rhythms work. Knowing how the Little Mister’s body works at each stage of his very young life has helped me to deal with everything from his tummy being very immature the first few weeks, to knowing that a good sleep routine can make all the difference to how well he sleeps through the night. I love that these books aren’t promoting extremist parenting in any way, they use plain English that anyone can understand (and sometimes even humour which lightens the mood somewhat – why is parenting so damn serious?) and are organised in a way that makes it easy to figure out what you’re looking for!

People shy away from books because they think they’ll become overwhelmed and worry more. I felt the same at first, but these books are the ones that didn’t give me that freaked out feeling and for that I am grateful!

Muslin Wraps
These light weight cloths are SO useful. I use so many of them on a daily basis and have done so since the moment we got home from hospital. They’re a fantastic vomit/regurgitation shield for your shoulder (and more importantly your clothing) as you burp your little one, they are great to have on hand when the Little Mister has drool coming from seemingly everywhere and sometimes it’s good to wrap him in one when he needs to feel safe and secure while napping (but the weather is warm). I also drape one over the front of the pram if he’s sleeping in it (helps to give him a safe, quiet spot and a way for him to block out all the stimulus the world has to offer). I find that because the wraps are breathable, they’re great in summer.

And look. A confession. On the odd occasion, when all else fails and you don’t have any other options (ie you were caught the f*ck unaware and that sh*t is EVERYWHERE), the wraps can sometimes help to wipe up some crazy spills of the poos and wees variety. Of course you have to make sure the wraps are cleaned thoroughly and sanitary for next use!!

Stuff for the Mum
Year after year I would get a little bemused by all the pampering stuff people would give me for birthdays and Christmases. It seemed like everyone in the whole wide world had the same idea! I don’t think they realised just how low maintenance (read: lazy) I was with that stuff! My skin mostly did what I wanted it to and I wasted most of my time in the shower just thinking or washing my hair obsessively (don’t ask – it’s just this thing I do).

As that stuff stacked up, I wondered how many tubs of body butter one little person could possibly need?! How many body scrubs?! Loofahs? Geez!

Now I know. My skin has not been the same since pregnancy. Hormones, stretch marks and that rash I kept banging on about are now an issue. Not to mention the drool that dries out my upper arms (the baby’s drool – not mine haha). I love nothing more than quickly rubbing body butter on myself or giving my face a quick, gentle scrub in the shower to freshen up. It’s funny because I have less time to pamper myself than I ever did, but I appreciate it even more now. When I buy baby shower gifts, I sometimes make sure that the baby isn’t the only person getting a present. I know the mum-to-be might look at me funny, like “great – more pampery stuff – everyone gives me this stuff”, but afterwards I know it’s appreciated!

It’s nice to know someone’s thinking of you just a little bit, because your world becomes all about the baby very quickly!

Well, I could go on forever (perhaps this could be a regular instalment) but I’ll stop at those five lifesavers, shall I?

What stuff can you not live without?