daddy spree: the gifts they really want…

Papa Spree -T

1. The Silver Spoon For Children: Favourite Italian Recipes, £10.36
2. A.P.C Wool Shirt, £180.00
3. M&S Pure Wool Fedora, £29.50
4. John Varvatos Fine Knit Scarf, £87.00
5. Telegraph Avenue, £7.19
6. Illy Ground Expresso Coffee, £5.89

OK, more than a little on the self indulgent side: all gifts relate to, shall we say, strong interests of mine, such as: Sarah of course (I’m guessing she may be reading this); music (the books); and most things Italian. There comes a time, when Sarah’s on a work trip and the twins are asleep, when sardines and anchovies and sultanas and pine nuts and pasta combine to create a Sicilian conspiracy that no one else in the family will touch. This is the wine to go with it and the coffee’s for afterwards. The recipe’s simplified from the classic ‘The Silver Spoon’ cookbook and I hope someone tracks down this kids’ version for me. In my minds eye, I’d really enjoy looking like a mid-sixties Marcello Mastroianni as I lift pasta to mouth, but since that’s never gonna happen, the capotto (coat), sciarpa (scarf), cappello (hat) and camicia (shirt) might get me into a crowd scene at least.

Soulful Christmas and Happy New Year,

Tom

Papa Gifts - R

1. A Personalised  Book A Month Gift Service, from £29.99
2. Uniqlo Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater, £79.90
3. Uniqlo Cashmere Beanie, £29.90
4. Vera Wang For Men Eau De Toilette, £36.00-£46.80
5. Chambers & Beau Personalised Identity Bracelet, £40.00
6. Apple iPad Air 2, £399.00

Being a creature of habit (if it ain’t broke…), my Christmas list this year is mainly made up of things I’ve received before and really really liked. So, here goes. The Willoughby Book Club is fantastic – a gift that keeps on giving. If your husband/boyfriend likes reading, just tell them his preferences and they will carefully choose and deliver a book for him every month. There is something exciting about knowing you have a really good book coming your way each month, one that will probably broaden your reading horizons but still be your kind of page turner. The cashmere beanie hat and jumper are more about the snuggle effect they seem to encourage (no daddy ever tires of that right?) but the practical side of me appreciates the extra warmth and style too. The Vera Wang aftershave – well, Nicky thinks it smells really nice which is the only point of it, so that works for me. The only gift that isn’t a repeat is the bracelet, or ‘man band’ as I like to call it. Not one for wearing jewellery normally, the inscription of Bailey’s name on one side and ‘Papa’ on the other got me right in the … you know, that place where emotion comes from. Finally, no daddy Christmas list would be complete without a gadget and for me it’s the new iPad Air 2 – so much quicker and lighter than our current very old version. Even better, as you can partly fund the upgrade by selling your old iPad to one of many gadget recyclers (assuming your little one hasn’t laid claim to it already…).

Merry Christmas!

Russell

my baby emergency kit

Anya Hindmarch Baby Emergency Kit
Now before you shoot my down in flames (I’m talking about the price tag), hear me out. I was lucky enough to be given one of these when Tabarlow were babies, and it was one of the few things that I literally couldn’t live without. Ok, it’s definitely not cheap. But, in the same way that you use your baby/nappy bag every day, you will use this numerous times, every day, day in, day out (sometimes when you’re not using your nappy bag) for a minimum of two years. Wherever the baby (or babies in my case) go, this goes with you. It’s compact (I would just chuck it into whichever bag I was using that day); I could get everything I needed in it for two babies (including four spare nappies); it looks super-chic (no embarrassment in whipping it out to do a quick (stylish) nappy change. But the best part about it is the way it’s organised to make the whole process as seamless and stress-free as possible. It comes with a wipe-clean, black changing mat (no need for a bulky, padded one) that folds up into a tiny size (with attached elastic to keep it in place), and various labelled compartments and pockets so that everything you need has a place. So when you’re in the process of changing a nappy you literally have everything at your fingertips (no faffing around looking for the wipes whilst balancing two babies…). Anyway, I could go on and on, but I won’t because I haven’t had dinner yet… This was one piece of baby kit that I loved, and it made my life just that little bit easier (and particularly with twins, those things can make such a difference, however silly that may sound…). And of course, there’s no getting away from the fact that it looks super-chic and stylish, and is beautifully finished. But with Anya that’s simply stating the obvious. It’s the clever, carefully thought out design, and attention to detail that made in invaluable to me. Mine is currently on loan to my lovely friend, Des, and she loves it as much as I did. And it still looks as pristine as when it was first given to me. This is the kind of thing that would make an amazing present  for a few people to club together and buy for someone as a baby gift. After all, as lovely as it is to have drawers groaning with beautiful cashmere separates in neutral tones, it’s the practical (and still chic, obviously) things that you actually end up loving the most… The end.
£275.00  anyahindmarch.com

who says baby bags can’t be chic?

Marc by Marc Jacobs Nylon Eliza Baby Bag
It really is slim pickings out there when it comes to stylish baby bags. in fact, it’s a joke (and the joke’s on us). Marc Jacobs still has some of the best ones are far as I’m concerned. Now I know this isn’t exactly cheap, but there are certain things that are worth investing in. And your baby bag is one of them. Trust me, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with it – she will become your best friend. You may or may not (in my case, not – I simply didn’t have anough free hands/shoulders) still use a separate handbag, but your baby bag is the one that you will never leave home without whenever you have your baby/babies in tow. So it’s key that the bag you choose is neutral – the last thing you want to think/care about is whether your bag clashes with your outfit (and if you’ve managed ‘an outfit’ in those first few weeks, you’re definitely doing well). This one comes in black, but personally I prefer the grey (surprise, surprise) – I think it’s chic-er. It comes with all the appropriate bells and whistles that you would expect – handy exterior pockets, detachable shoulder strap (don’t even think about buying a baby bag that doesn’t have one), changing mat, and plenty of interiors pockets. Plus it’s nylon, so can be wiped clean (as important, if not more so, than the shoulder strap). There are a few others out there that I like (more of those soon…), but this is definitely a front-runner.
£241.77  shopbop.com 

This would make a really cool baby bag

John Lewis Leopard Print Tote Bag
I was in John Lewis this morning (buying a letterbox if you’re interested) and stopped in my tracks when I clocked this beauty on the ground floor. I am slightly obsessed with leopard print, but only in small doses, and it has to be the right kind of leopard print. I have mentioned my bag before (I have a great leopard print bag from Antik Batik that always gets a lot of attention whenever I use it), but have never come across another one that even comes close. Until today. This is a great size to just throw on your shoulder. It’s lightweight, and the design is really simple. I love that it looks slouchy (well it will once you’ve filled it anyway) The leopard print is spot-on (sorry, but it is!) and it is just a really cool bag. I think it would make a great baby/kids bag to chuck all that stuff in that we all lug around the whole time. I love it! I was so tempted, but I managed to resist. This time. Oh and by the way, it looks much nicer in the flesh (you have to trust me on this). Would look super-cool worn with jeans or anything low-key and casual (so perfect for us mums). I can’t stop thinking about it…
£129.00  johnlewis.com 

gorgeous maternity bag

Zara Home Kids Maternity Bag
Now this really is a first for me. A ‘maternity bag’ (‘hospital bag’ to you and me)! How gorgeous is this? I have seen the baby bags that Zara Home do, and love them, but have yet to see their slightly smaller ‘sister’ bag until now. And the thing is, this would make a great baby bag afterwards anyway. Plus you can buy a matching changing mat and little zip-up sponge bag (I have loads of these for all Tabarlow’s varoius bits & bobs – they are so handy). It’s just so pretty. But I also love that it is slouchy so it has that whole ‘pretty cool’ thing going on. Would look great with jeans or khaki cargo pants. And I love the option of the long and short handles. And you don’t need me to tell you how adorable this Liberty print is. Plus I like that it’s cotton, not nylon. Just chuck it in the machine if it starts to look grubby. Obviously it would help to know that you were expecting a girl, but if you do, this is the bag for you. Treat yourself! It would also make a lovely present from say, work collegues (and if they’re feeling extra generous with the whip-round, they could even throw in the changing mat and sponge bag!) for someone about to head off on maternity leave. Love.
£39.99  zarahome.com 

m is for marlow

Oliver Bonas Alphabet Tote Bag
In addition to the various ‘non-baby baby bags’ that I have, I also have a supply of simple, cotton tote bags (just to confuse my nanny and Tabarlow’s dad!) that I also use for ferrying all their stuff around in. In fact, now that Tabarlow are two and a half, I don’t really need the full-on baby bag at all, and often just use a tote to chuck everything in. They are just so easy. I spotted this one in Oliver Bonus in Chiswick the other week, and loved it. I am also obsessed with anything monogrammed. You can get the initial of your child (with twins – not so straightforward – will probably have to get an M and a T and alternate?), and there you have it – a personalised ‘non-baby’ baby bag. Obviously I love that it is grey too. Oh and it has a zip, which is always a bonus (no pun intended). Would make a great, inexpensive gift (anything monogrammed always goes down a treat I always find – just feels a little more thoughtful…).
£15.00  oliverbonas.com

ps: I am off to Paris tomorrow morning to shoot a story for the October issue of Red magazine. I can’t wait to hit my favourite high street haunts for kids. DPAM (Du Pareil au Meme) is always the first place I go! Can’t wait. I will be posting from my hotel room tomorrow evening (hope they have wifi!).

marc jacobs baby bag

Marc By Marc Jacobs Eliz-a-Baby Tote
Don’t get me started on the subject of baby/nappy bags! I could literally dedicate an entire blog to the subject. Why is it that people assume that just because you have a baby, you will automatically want to start running around town with a naff, brightly coloured bag (that may or may not match your pram/buggy)? Just because you now have a small person in tow, why would you suddenly want to start accessorising like Mr Tumble? I wouldn’t be seen dead with one of said bags (and you know the ones I’m talking about!), and neither should you. Now I know this one is not cheap (please don’t hate me!), but you need to factor in how much you will be using it (every day for a minimum of two and a half years, which ‘cost-per-wear’ works out at 26p a day). This is one of the best I have seen (and I only wish it had been around when I was pregnant). I love that it’s navy (one of my favourite colours as you know, and much chic-er than boring old black), and comes with all the important trimmings that you would expect/need from a practical (not my favourite word, but one I can’t ignore as a mother of twins) baby bag – handy pockets, foldaway changing mat etc. But the best thing of all? The simple fact that it doesn’t look like a baby bag – it’s just a great bag.
£235.00  net-a-porter.com