Monday, 20 September 2010

PB essentials: the paraphernalia

So, my lovelies, time to wrap up this little series of Planet Baby essentials with the unbelievable amount of ‘paraphernalia’ we need. It's a beautiful word which covers a multitude of objects, most of which we had no idea about pre-PB! So here goes with some categories to break it down:


We have an assortment of delightful Bunnykins crockery, mainly given for the pixies’ christenings, just like we grew up with. I love the idea behind it – the fun comes from the anticipation of finding those beautifully detailed scenes beneath the food when you have been 'very good' and cleaned your plate. I also adore the little rabbits that run endlessly around the rims.

For everyday use, we have stacks of unbreakable melamine plates. Ah, melamine, how we love thee, especially with young Sam on the loose, reaching his cotton-picking little fingers up onto the table to pull down plates! As well as more Bunnykins, we have plenty of other colourful bowls and plates. Together with gender-neutral ones, of course, we have India’s ‘girly’ plates. We have to ensure the older pixies are each given their own plates and bowls or mayhem ensues! Here's India's favourite Prinzessin Lillifee plate from Germany.

We’re huge fans of Hobart woman Anna Jayne Designs' bibs, both the reversible towelling ones for the early days of milk feeds and the plasticised ones for solids. How's this for some retro cuteness?


One day the pixies will use their cherished Bunnykins mugs. Until then, they’re using an assortment of colourful melamine mugs and their prized Playtex Insulator cups. After trying a multitude of different brands, we now swear by them. They are spill-proof (the holy grail for parents), keep the contents cool for a long time and are both BPA- and phthalate-free. They come in a variety of bright colours and patterns and are indestructible! We used to be able to buy them at Coles but they seemed to vanish from the shelves a while ago. Now we have a friend in the US who posts them to us (much cheaper than ordering online), together with the replacement plastic valves (another godsend for parents who know how orange-mouldy and manky such cups can become, no matter how well you clean them).


Our sweet Mothercare Winnie the Pooh playmat lasted for all three pixies. Easy to fold and transport, it was machine washable and dried quickly. Our Minimink rugs have also been winners, especially in the Hobart winter.


Now, this is a huge topic which I’ll canvass properly in future posts. But generally, we choose wooden and educational toys, classics which will last. Mind you, we also have our fair share of plastic toys!


We used our dependable Love’n’Care Royal Rocker and brilliant Bumbo seat when the pixies were small. The latter was particularly helpful when Joshua developed a flat spot on the back of his head as it meant he could sit up without putting pressure on his head, unlike the rocker. Here he is, sitting in it.

Our Ikea Kritter table and Leksvik chairs have been sturdy, well-used and a bargain.


Our cotton Living Textiles cot-sized sheet sets (flat sheet, fitted sheet and pillow case) have worn beautifully and are easy to care for. We folded them underneath the smaller bassinette mattress at the beginning so we didn’t have to buy extra bedding for that short period. Waterproof undersheets have been essential.


Our trusty navy Baby Björn Baby Carrier Original Spirit with extra back support has done remarkable service and has now been retired (well, Mr PB lost it but Sam is too big for it now, anyway!). It’s been so durable, withstanding the pixies’ teething and drooling and been easy to care for – just thrown in the washing machine. Mr PB used to take Joshua on long walks and he’d doze off very contentedly. We also used it as another option with the newborn ‘settling’ problem.
Mr PB, headphones on, about to head off on a walk with Joshua
We’ve been pleased with our hardwearing navy and white Peg Pérego pram.  I’ve loved its versatility, being able to use it with the pixies either facing me (imperative when they’re tiny and even when they’ve been bigger, I’ve still enjoyed watching them) or away (I’ve eventually had to accede to their desire to look out and explore, not just look at my face!). We found it stored away easily, being quickly dismantled with one foot and one hand (with the other one holding the baby) and a good weight, so important when you have to lift it in and out of the car. At about $430 on sale, we scored a bargain.


Our trusty old combination DVD/VCR player has copped a fearful hammering from inquisitive pixie fingers but has survived intact (apart from one repair trip after ‘someone’ - aka ‘Mr Nobody’ – posted some toast in the slot, the old classic!). The pixies pretty much watch ABC Kids exclusively (we’re firm believers in a ‘no ads’ household while they are young). Our childhood favourites of ‘Sesame Street' and ‘Play School' feature on the morning agenda, together with shows like ‘Giggle and Hoot' (I still have to send Joshua’s drawing in, bad Mummy), ‘Shaun the Sheep’ and ‘Blinky Bill’. The telly goes off after ‘Play School’ finishes at 10 am and is turned back on again at 3pm for the afternoon version of the show.
Some of the many DVDs on PB
We have a stash of DVDs which are in high rotation but only viewed at certain times. Current favourites are ‘Trotro’, the cute little French donkey, any ‘Land Before Time’ or ‘Ice Age’ dinosaur episodes, any episode of ‘The Fairies’ and the slightly subversive ‘The Upside Down Show’. Classics (mainly chosen by Mr PB) include ‘Peter Pan’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Captain Pugwash’ and ‘The Goodies’ (yes, you can tell we are children of the 1970s!).

So, that’s it in a nutshell. Do share what you’ve found works best for your children – roadtested tips are the best!



  1. Hi Jane!
    What a great inventory of essentials! I'm in the baby buying mode right now and have baby must-haves on my mind 24/7! Thanks for the great recommendations and insight!
    Trina ; )

  2. Another Baby Bjorn fan here! I just love those bunnykins plates. All our little bits and pieces like that got left behind in Africa, so I'll have to start a collection for Will! Love the bibs too!

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Trina! I'm pleased you found it useful. If you want, send me an e-mail and I can give you my detailed list of things to buy before your baby arrives.

    And Ash, aren't they the best? We've really enjoyed starting collections for the children from scratch, I must say. Yes, the bibs are fabulous - click on her website link if you're interested. J x

  4. I had a Baby Bjorn Active (with the back support) for Matilda but it didn't cut it when Kelvin came along - I can't rave about the Ergo carriers enough. I was lucky enough to pick one up second hand when Kelvin was nearly 6 months old and it's fabulous. We have a Mountain Buggy pram so no options for carrying a second child other than the skate board so the Ergo was like a toddler seat because it easily carried either child and is super easy to change between wearers (important when I'm 5'4" and hubby is 6")!

    Other than that we're with you on almost everything else! Have you're kids discovered Mister Maker yet (ABC 2 at 9:40 and 2:45 - we often go for the 2:45 version prior to flicking over to Playschool in the afternoon).

  5. What a great list..very interesting and very helpful to anyone having a baby! Rachaelxx

  6. That's good to hear about the Ergo, Ange. I must admit as I'm a shorty (shorter than you!), I struggled to use the Baby Bjorn when the pixies were older as their little feet would slap my knees when I walked ☺. It worked best with taller Mr PB who also had the broader back and stronger muscles to carry them when they were bigger. No, we need to get a set top box!

    And thanks for stopping by, Rachael! Glad you liked it! J x

  7. Jane, thank you for your visit and your comment. I'm glad it brought me to your blog. All a mother needs to know. I love the Lilifee plate as it comes from the same brand like my son's favourite Captain Sharky :)

  8. What a great wrap up! I haven't ever documented the 'baby stuff' so I might do it one day. I'm also a BB fan - we had the red 'sporty spice' one with the full-on back support. It's still going strong and has carried 11 babies from 4 diffferent families! 11!! x

  9. Thanks so much for stopping by, Anna. Discovering your delightful blog has been the highlight of my day ☺ Ah, yes, Die Spiegelburg makes both those brands (see my sidebar for their link). They are made in the little town in Germany where I lived in 1989 - Muenster - and my hostparents (I was an exchange student) know the owner. I'll do a post about their goodies one day.

    Why, thanks, Bron. Writing that post really caused me to focus my thoughts on these things for the first time since we arrived on PB! I can get so caught up in dealing with the everyday that I rarely take the time to step back and assess what we've done. And what fantastic service out of your BB. Brilliant. J x

  10. Jane, you do realise that with posts like this, you will very quickly become my 'mothering guru'! Loved it... have taken notes and filed away for future reference!

    In answer to your question about juggling a newborn and blogging.... I have this weird condition whereby I literally need to do something creative every day. Believe it or not, I find it more soul restorative than a nap and that's really saying something at this point in the afternoon when my eyeballs are hanging out of my head!

    Thanks for all your lovely comments - I love receiving them :) x

  11. Blush ☺ I'm happy to help, Ange - other mums helped me out when I was learning the ropes so it's good to be able to pass on that good karma! I still have my 'L-plates' on every day -I'm no expert. I just know what we've worked out after trial and error. And that's great! I'm so pleased you are making that a priority - something I wish I'd done from the start. Only now with the PND has its importance been made clear to me. Sending Leo sleep vibes ✌J x

  12. I must admit, I agree with Ange on the Ergo baby carrier - I had a BB active for Ina and it was great, but Griff needed a lot more carrying early on, he was unsettled and much bigger. The Ergo delivers a completely different level of comfort. I still carry him (and he's a big 19monther). The weight is on your hips, not your shoulders.

    I also love Anna Jayne bibs - we have the terry-backed ones and they are such a great design and they wash beautifully.

    Ina uses Stephen's old Bunnykins bowl - the design is so scratched and faded because I think he used it for breakfast every day until he was old enough to be embarrassed by it! So special. Griff has a brand new one with a camping scene on it.

    Most importantly, both the kids have their own 'transition objects' (cuddly toy that brings endless comfort and helps them get to sleep!) Actually, I think these would be among the first objects I'd grab if the house was on fire!

    And as for DVDs - we're big Peppa Pig fans around here. If you haven't discovered Peppa, I'll lend you a DVD. You'll love her!

  13. My goodness, Sarah, you do well to still be using a carrier. At 11.5 kg, Sam is a dead weight - I only carry him when completely necessary! I used my two-handled Bunnykins mug until my teens - something most treasured now. And I know what you mean about the 'fire conundrum' - that might be a good topic for us both to post on! Yep, would love to borrow Peppa. Oh, and I'm still looking for the Anne of Green Gables video - I suspect Ian has moved it to the 'shed' - it may take a while to find! J x

  14. Hi Jane,

    there is something so lovely about bunnykins isn't there, I'm pretty sure my mum has my baby bunnykins things stashed away at home somewhere. I think, from memory, there is an antique store at Ross that has a really wonderful collection!

  15. I agree, Catherine. It harks back to a simpler time, somehow. Ooh, we might just have to make enquiries about that. How tantalising - thanks for the tip! J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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