Monday, 29 June 2015

Pop-up Nursery

Having a baby is an intimidating prospect in general. Having one away from home is an even more daunting task! 

Before the birth of my daughter, my husband and I were in the middle of moving to a new city in China. I was also planning on giving birth in the UK and living there for baby's first 2 months. I was faced with setting up a temporary nursery at my mother-in-law's house that would later travel with me to China. This limited our nursery purchases to absolute essentials only.

First, I mapped out the main activities we would have to plan for with a newborn: feeding, sleeping, changing and bathing. I next zoned out areas in both my temporary accommodation and my luggage allowance for each activity so I knew how much I could feasibly purchase without overwhelming the allocated space. The following are the tried and tested items that made our pop-up nursery a success in the first 2 months of parenthood!

1. Playtex Ventaire Bottle Set: Although planning on being a breastfeeding mother, I anticipated the possible need for bottles (thank goodness I did!). This playtex bottle set served all my needs and continues to be invaluable. The curvy vented design means less air getting trapped in baby and gives the ability to hold her more upright. Despite finding I have to supplement with formula, I haven't needed any more than four bottles! 
2. Medela Swing Breast Pump: Compact and light, this pump even comes with a travel pouch! I am not a fan of the bottle and pacifier (dummy) that comes with it but otherwise it has been a great item!
3. Mam Night Newborn Soothers: Although I originally wanted to avoid giving my daughter a pacifier, after two weeks of sleepless nights and lots of cluster feeds I caved. She took to these immediately and a set of 2 was all we've needed. She hasn't had any problems with her latch with these and it just curbs the urgency of feeding or soothing enough to give this mommy an occasional break. They even glow in the dark which is genius when you need to grab them quick in the night! 
4. Widgey Nursing Pillow: Sturdy but soft, this nursing pillow has proven invaluable and greatly increases the comfort of long hours of nursing! This one came with me to the hospital too!
5. Burping Cloths: I started out with 6 of these and it was more than enough. Bibs were not needed until much later when she started drooling really.

Other than these items all I found I needed was access to a sink, kettle and washing up implements.

1. Aden + Anais Swaddles: These are much hyped and for good reason. They are super soft, breathable and a nice large size. I have a set of 3 and I use them for all kinds of things, but ironically not often for swaddling! My daughter was never much of a fan and could kick her way free of any attempt! They are eminently packable though and make great travel blankets.
2. Jojo Maman Bebe 3-in-1 Sleeping Bag: Although a bit pricey, this sleeping bag is super flexible for travel. With a 1.5 tog inner and 1 tog outer bag that are easily zipped together or separated, this makes it easy to be prepared for both warm and cold climates.
3. Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod: My daughter would only sleep on me for the first 1.5 months but after that, this bed became a lifesaver. Because of the size, I was able to pack this into a suitcase and my baby has had the same bed wherever we have travelled! Normally we just have this in her cot but it can also be in the bed with my husband and I when she wants to stay close, taking some of the worry of co-sleeping away. This has really helped establish a settled sleep routine for her in any circumstance we have found ourselves in!
4. Beco Gemini Baby Carrier: As mentioned above, my daughter did not like to be put down or to sleep on anything but me for the first 1.5 months. This Beco carrier saved my sanity as she could nap and I could still have the freedom to do things. This carrier has great flexibility in the carrying options and is good from newborn to toddler, which is not the case with all carriers. Plus it has lots of nice pattern options!
5. Ewan the Dream Sheep: Having a white noise machine that emulates the sounds of the womb is a really good idea for a baby and Ewan is a more cuddly option than an iphone app. He also glows red from his chest to simulate light in the womb which I find rather alarming but my daughter really seems comforted by. Each of his legs is a switch for different soundscapes: ocean, wind, harp and storm. He also has a handy Velcro loop to attach him anywhere.

1. Travel Changing Mat: I chose a cheap and cheerful travel changing mat with pockets that I set up on a card table for changing. Adding a cotton changing pad liner is a good way to make the changing pad softer and are easily washable.
2. Skip Hop Duo Chevron Changing Bag: This was the bag I went for due to the great organisation it offers with 10 pockets and I have to say it has not disappointed. I love that the grey chevron pattern is stylish while remaining neutral. I also love the small pocket at the top for keeping pacifiers and the stroller clips built into the shoulder strap. I have been able to carry EVERYTHING in this bag! I seriously may never go back to purses.
3. Wet/Dry Bags: So great for dirty baby clothes and a must if you go down the cloth nappy route. I admit to using disposables when traveling (although I cloth diaper at home) but still find carrying one of these always useful for any unforeseen accidents or situations when a bin is not handy (surprisingly often the case in China).
4. Oil Cloth/PVC Tablecloth: Easily wipeable and available in so many cute patterns, it is a really inexpensive way to add colour to a pop-up nursery while protecting your temporary changing area. I went along to a fabric store to buy a few meters cheaply, then laid it on the card table that served as my changing station.
5. Amazing Baby Black and White Board Book: Trust me on this, when changing you should have some form of entertainment for your baby. It will save you so much in baby tantrums! High contrast black and white images are great for newborns. My daughter loved looking at this book from birth and it continues to be a favourite. I just set it propped open beside her and it would keep her interested long after we had finished the change. Now that we have a permanent nursery, it goes with us in the diaper bag when we travel.

In another entry I will go over what I keep in my diaper bag, but this is how I quickly and inexpensively set up a temporary changing station. The only other items needed were a covered bin and a box to hold baby clothes.

1. Hooded Bath Towels: I have found that 2 of these is plenty. The hooded ones are really nice for snuggling your baby while drying. It's nice to get a cute one as I think you need to enjoy adoring your baby as long as you can!
2. Baby Bath Support: We started out with a plastic baby tub but I wish we had started out with a bath support instead. Bathing is so much easier now that we have one and can take place in any bathtub.
3. Weleda Baby Shampoo and Body Wash: I really love this wash. It isn't super foamy but it makes a nice soft lather and is gentle for baby. I love the scent as well! It makes me want to bury my nose in my daughter's hair afterwards!
4. Mothercare Natural Sponge: Mothercare provides these at a good price and the quality is great! Natural sponges are so super soft and gentle on a baby's skin, much better than a washcloth in my opinion. They also build up a nice lather, which makes the washing bit that much faster (great for babies that don't particularly love the bath like my daughter).

These are the things that worked for me! I would be interested in other ideas for pop-up nurseries and will also be covering what didn't work at a later date!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Bringing Up Baby

A lot has changed in my life over the past year, the biggest change being the birth of my daughter, Izzy. I have had to learn the ins and outs of both being pregnant and a new parent while abroad in China. It has certainly been a big adventure so far!

There has been a lot of trial and error in establishing this new lifestyle. Being streamlined for travel is much, much harder with a baby! However, I think Izzy and I are starting to get the hang of it and would like to share what we are learning along the way.

To that end I will aim to be posting a "Mommie" entry on Mondays, travel tips on Wednesday and reviews of my favourite items of the week on Fridays with a few things in between. I hope you tune in again!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

New Address, New Life

Life has been changing as I have been moving between three countries so it has been a struggle to keep up with posting regularly! After some troubleshooting with blogger and domain registrations, I have now changed the address of this blog to:
Please update and follow!

I have also settled in to a new life in China and as Spring has sprung it seems like a great time to reset and renew the D+D project. Although I haven't updated here, I have continued to keep new inspirations and ideas jotted down in a little notebook and I hope I can start to share these again. I wish you all a happy spring with many new and wondrous things!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Etsy Friday Favorites: Lavender, Gold and Grey Highlights

Happy Friday everyone! I must share that I am a bit Etsy obsessed and find new favorites everyday, but thought it might be nice to do a round-up of my top 5 favs every Friday. This week is all about three hues I have been obsessed with lately: lavender, gold and grey. I like the combo of brights and neutrals for Autumn. 

I start with this tote bag from Coriumi. I love the bold geometric details mixed with the interesting leather textures. Perfect for commutes on the tube!

Available here:

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Travel Sense: Italy {Part 2: GUBBIO}

We continued our travels and drove to Gubbio, famous for it's medieval city district still set in the old stone walls. It was to the north of Rome in Perugia, Umbria. Thanks to my Californian family, we were able to rent an old stone house from an acquaintance for two weeks and it turned out to be rather spectacular.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Travel Sense: Italy {Part 1: ROME}

In May this year I had fabulous trip to Italy to meet up with my Californian family and my husband's UK family. Our first stop was Rome for 3 days. We decided to cut costs by finding an apartment rental on Tripadvisor's Flipkey. We ended up in a leafy, quiet neighbourhood in the Trastevere area, the place for great Roman eats!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Carried Away By: The Flask Vase

The best design comes from simple ideas and these new vases from David Derksen Design are simply beautiful! They are made from the interior containers found in the common thermos, adapted with the addition of a powder coloured rubber base a bit like a rubber stopper. Transportable and sturdy, they are made for an on-the-go lifestyle, but be warned. These are bespoke, uniquely designed pieces, not mass produced so they have been accordingly priced. At 85 euro they aren't cheap but for something coming straight out of a design house, this is a bargain.

Find them on sale here: