Monthly Archives: January 2008

Organise your Mummy Life

It’s the end of January and you’re already feeling out of control? Quick! Here are some practical tips to help you restore order in your daily life en famille.

Plan the Year’s Breaks, now!
metm141.jpgSure, you were a major last-minuter before bébé. You thrived on booking your ticket, packing and leaving – all within 48 hours. But things are a little more complicated now. Now’s a good time to look at your 2008 diary and take note of the bank holidays. Finding family-friendly accommodation and flights cuts down on last-minute stress and means you won’t have to settle for second best when everything is booked out. Plus, it will give you something to look forward to.

Donate to Charity
As the year begins, clear out all the toys your tot no longer goes ga-ga for, and the clothes she has outgrown (we know you want to make the most of that Bonpoint dress, but its becoming hazardous to the darling’s circulation). Donate them to a charity shop on the high street. You’ll be creating space you need in your cupboard for this season’s must-have’s, while simultaneously doing a good deed.

Create an Eye-Catching Birthday Calendar
It was hard enough remembering your girlfriends’ birthdays, but now you need to remember dates for the sprog’s friends too. Rather than scribble names on a tiny calendar, use photos of the sprog’s favourite people and write the relevant birthdays on each snapshot. Pin them up on a notice board for a visual reminder of their birthdays. This creates an interesting talking piece for the little one’s room.

Don’t add, replace
This rule will keep book shelves, wardrobes, bathroom cupboards and the dreaded toy box clear of clutter for the year ahead: before committing to anything new, think of at least one thing you can throw out to make space for it. You’ll find it easier to clean out once you’ve adopted a mindset of constantly letting go. (Now you need to master the art of spiriting it away without Junior noticing.)

Download your Photos
Remember those first few weeks after the birth when you and yours sent out regular photos to everyone in your inbox? A distant memory now …. If you don’t send photos regularly, at least make sure you clear your digital camera’s memory card after every holiday or family outing so you’re ready to aim and shoot when the next photo op comes along.

What Mini says:
Organisation is over-rated. Chaos rules.

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The Seat of Your Pants

– The ultimate fabric highchair

Let’s face it, other people’s highchairs are not always that much fun. You wonder who ate in them last metm121.gif(and why they can’t seem to control their utensils. *Sigh*). Or, you arrive at a place and there is no chair in sight. What’s a baby to do?

Stylish tots like me travel with TotSeat. Like an instant highchair – in fun TotSeatand funky designs – Totseat can be used on almost any grown-up chair. Unlike most other fabric baby chairs, TotSeat has some unique design innovations: it fastens at the back with a large plastic clip making it easy to disembark in a hurry, and the detachable cummerbund provides back support, so I won’t disappear backwards into the chair during my meal.

Best of all, it can be shortened or extended to fit all manner of chairs so you can get your sticky fingers on every grown up chair. It’s so exciting – you’ll be on a real high, I promise.

What Moi says:
TotSeat is also fully washable meaning that you can wash away the squashed banana in an instant. If only you could do the same for that stuff on the seat of your pants.

TotSeat (SSP £22) comes in a variety of colours and designs and is available from Blue Daisy, 13 South End Road, London, NW3 3PT, Tel.  020 7681 4144  or see the TotSeat website for local stockists.

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Walk a tightrope

metm141.jpg– Useful website for walkers

As a mummy you can find yourself walking a lot. On air one minute, and on eggshells the next. All this walking is great for getting yourself back in shape but have you ever wondered how many calories you’ve burned by walking somewhere?

Enter walkit.com. This simple website calculates the distance between 2 points and will estimate different walking times (depending on what you’re up for) and how many calories you’ve burned. Plus, it has the functionality to plot direct or less busy routes. And can take you via a third point, if you find you really, really need to stop off for a coffee or pop into your favourite boutique en route. Of course, they haven’t allowed for the extra calories burned by pushing a tot – and all that paraphernalia – around. But that’s where we’ll allow for a little artistic license.

And for moments when you want to feel self-righteous, the site will even calculate what CO2 emissions you’ve avoided by walking. (This should make ditching the Chelsea tractor a much more attractive proposition.)

Come on! It’s time to walk the walk!

What Mini says:
This whole walking thing is over-rated. I’m a shuffler myself.

Mini-et-Moi.com is the ultimate review site for London mums, babies and toddlers. Click here to read more about our reviews of classes, activities and great things for Mum and baby or toddler.

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No socks please, We’re Babies

– The secret to keeping socks glued to your tot’s tootsies.

metm21.JPGThere’ll come a time when socks as entertainment comes as a huge relief. You know: you’re brunching with trendy singleton friends and, oops, you forgot to pack toys for Little One. At that point, it’s fun making a game of socks.

 

 

But there’ll be other times when a trail of little pink (or blue) socks in the wake of your bugaboo will really, really get you. Deciding whether to turn back and collect said socks may depend on your mood – or perhaps the weather.

 

Enter the Sock-on. Looking something like a coat for a really tiny Chihuahua, the Sock-on slips over baby’s sock – making it impossible for them to be pulled, rolled or kicked off. Made from soft-woven elasticised material, they come in a range of colours – a cute accessory that no baby (or sane parent) will want to be seen without.

 

metm23jan_1.jpgSock-ons are available at Little Angel Express, 249 Archway Road, London, N6 5BS Tel.  020 8340 8003 ; Yummy Kids, 1-2 Russel Parade, London, NW11 9NN Tel.  020 8201 8870  or contact Sock-ons at marketing@sockons.co.uk for your nearest stockist.

What Mini says:

Damnation! Defeated by something so small and cute-looking! Spent the entire day tugging at my socks. Tried all the tricks – pulling, rolling, kicking. And nothing.

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Rattle and hum

– soft, squeezable and stylish rattles

Let\'s PartyRattle AND hum. That sounds like a challenge indeed. I can barely get the rattling right – well, you will insist on giving us babies ridiculously large and difficult toys to rattle, won’t you?

Imagine, then, how relieved I was to be handed a Maileg rattle. Soft and squeezable, the rattles are a perfect size for little hands. I can shake and squeeze it and the little bell that rattles around makes a lovely, melodic sound (perfect to hum along too). More like a doll with added rattling features, I love the beautiful Africa and her handsome beau, the Pesky Pirate. But all the characters are gorgeous and follow simple and stylish Scandinavian design principles. It was hard choosing just which one to grab onto first. Oh, and did I mention that they are organic too? Mummy loved that.

That’s the rattling sorted. Now I need to work on my humming …

What Moi says:

Actually when it comes to rattling, humming, gurgling and giggling, very little encouragement is needed.

The full selection of Maileg Rattles (SSP £10) are available from Elias & Grace, 158 Regents Park Road, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8XN Tel.   020 7449 0574  

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Sugar ‘n Spice

– Permanent Exhibit in the Docklands (E14)

 

Sugar and spice is not – as you will have realised – a guarantee for all things nice. And, since junior’s arrival – despite attempts to stick to healthy fruit snacks – we’ve learnt that sugar in itself frequently leads to frantic, manic marathons chasing a hyped and hysterical child around public areas. With this in mind, we set off to see London, Sugar, Slavery at the Museum in the Docklands. Was it possible to shake a bit of intellectual spice into a sweet day with the tot?  

metm131.gifGranted its not the sweetest of topics, but the detailed and sensitive examination of London’s role in transatlantic slavery means it’s definitely worth a visit. And it houses what is possibly the most creative and different soft-play area in London. 

After a fascinating hour in the Museum, when the sprog was keen (quite naturally) to spice things up a little, we headed to the kids’ play area. Frequented by lots of mums and tots (could this be the best-known secret in the Docklands?), it houses an imaginative soft-play area, some fun Thames-inspired water play and other learning opportunities for older kids. Not only clean and entertaining, it’s actually interesting for grown-ups too. Now that doesn’t need a sweetener!

What Mini says:
What’s up with intellectual stimulation when there’s water play around?  

London, Sugar, Slavery is at the Museum in Docklands, No1 Warehouse, London E14 4AL (Tel.  0870 444 3857 ). See the Museum Website for more information. 

A Note on Logistics
Travelling with a baby is easy on the Jubilee line and the Docklands Light Railway, and the Museum has excellent access for babes in prams. The kid’s zone is lots of fun but is only open in the afternoon. And if you’re feeling peckish, the café in the Museum has plenty of child-friendly options (or if you want a reminder of the corporate rat-race and an altogether different form of slavery, you could always head into Canary Wharf for something to eat).  

Mini-et-Moi.com is the ultimate review site for London mums, babies and toddlers. Click here to read more about our reviews of classes, activities and great things for Mum and baby or toddler.

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Green Living

– It’s time to care about the Earth, Mother.

metm5.jpgOur Mini-Manuals are filled with tips for life avec bébé. Here we focus on small things that busy, over-achieving, multi-tasking, multi-talented mums can do to make a difference to the Planet. And we’ll be helping you with that little resolution – the one to become a Green Goddess (between midnight feeds). After all, now you really have an incentive to ensure the earth’s future …

Tip 1 – Face Facts
Time to ‘fess up. Get a proper sense of how you contribute to the Earth’s crisis by calculating your family’s carbon footprint with the Act on CO2 carbon calculator. It’s quick and easy. Perfect for mums.

Tip 2 – Child (and Phantom)-proof!
When child-proofing your home, think about countering phantom loads (the power consumed by any device while plugged in but not on). Use power strips which make it easy to “unplug” many appliances at once – and make it so much easier to protect your little ghost from frights in the night. That’s mummy multi-tasking at its best.

Tip 3 – The Cheque’s in the Post. (So is my shopping.)
Make 2008 the year of the mouse. You’ll prevent paper waste (tonnes of it!) and save money and time. And, online shopping also saves energy (e-commerce warehouses use much less energy than retail shops). Plus, it’s an easy way to reduce that vertigo-inducing to-do list. (And, no sophisticated filing systems for junior to wreak havoc with.)

Tip 4 – Green is the New …
Next time you need to buy a toy – whether for your little gift-guzzler or the one next door, think green. Most toy shops offer toxin-free eco-toys, making for much healthier toy-eating by the little guzzler.

Tip 5 – Taste for Travel
If you can’t go the distance on foot then use public transport. And if you simply must drive to that music class, why not share the journey with another mum and tot?

When planning your much-deserved family holidays, find options that are closer to home. It makes for more pleasant travel with junior, and will go some way to reducing your travel footprint.

Other things you may want to consider:

  • Switch to low energy light bulbs. This simple solution allows you to save power and money.
  • Don’t throw out toiletry and product containers before they’re really empty – squeeze, cut, shake or water down to help lessen waste.
  • Opt for bio or cloth nappies instead of disposables. Put an end to the nappy landfills.
  • Choose organic baby food or make your own with locally-sourced produce.

 

What Mini says:
Forget ‘red lorry, yellow lorry’, green is definitely the way to go!

Let us know if you’ve enjoyed this article by hitting reply and typing the word “more” (or “more please,” depending on your manner/ manners /mood).

 

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