My bag of tricks...
In the almost-two years since Diana
was born, her nappy bag
has been my saviour in times of need and my nemesis on a daily basis (I'm convinced I'm shrinking under the sheer weight of the thing).
Over the months, I've used a variety of handbags to serve as changing bags, mostly because I haven't had much luck with the nappy bags they sell in shops (they never seem to be roomy or accessible enough, and the on-sale Cath Kidston bag I purchased when D was born was an aesthetic success, but I could never seem to find what I needed in it and the compartments were too snug). I find that regular totes work just as well, with the added bonus that you can take them out in public when you're doing something without the babe.
After water spillages and food mishaps, the interiors of most of my bags are in a pretty unfortunate state so I rotate my nappy bag fairly frequently. The monstrosity above is the current incarnation of the nappy bag, formerly a beach bag that I wheeled out last month as a wishful prayer that the sun would come out after two weeks of nonstop rain. It didn't work.
Using a sheer nappy bag has its advantages – easy to find stuff – and disadvantages (I am probably a likely mugger's target, since everything is on display), but mainly, the see-through aspect is an issue because despite the bag being entirely devoted to D, with the exception of my wallet and one lip gloss, D will sometimes reject everything in it until she finds my tube of Clinique Black Honey, which she will then attempt to ingest
If only I'd known how much harder it would get.
As D's gotten older, my nappy bag motto has been: Be prepared for anything. This is why I am like a modern-day, slightly (OK, vastly) less successful Mary Poppins and carry the contents of my daughter's room with me on a daily basis.
Of course, bags on their own aren't enough because D needs to stuff them with things: phones, keys, fruit – D prefers the real versions of these objects, which she gets at home, but makes do with plastic alternatives in public. Cue more junk in bag.
In case we go out for lunch, I need to pack an assortment of other goodies that will hopefully entertain D enough to make it through the meal, or a marathon 20-minute version: a stuffed Bolshy
, her favourite book, The Baby's Catalogue, and Play-Doh have all been lifesavers.
There are also more snacks than I can count, from raisins to mini oat bars to grilled chicken and cherry tomatoes and cubes of cheese. I never know when we'll be waiting too long for food, so I always try to be prepared, but the gloopy mess of mushed bananas drenched in water and mixed with raisins at the end of the day (OK, week if I'm honest – I can never be bothered to clear anything out of this bag) does sometimes leave me wishing for the days when I used to be more forgetful about packing D's essentials.
Despite carrying everything but the kitchen sink around with me at all times, there's no guarantee that tantrums won't ensue anyway, when the bag of goods has been exhausted or D herself is too tired to be appeased. Those days, I'm just the frazzled idiot carrying a red and a green plastic apple because I wasn't sure which one D would be in the mood for (It was neither).
If the contents of a lady's handbag reveal something about her personality, I have none at all at the moment and live to serve my 21-month-old. Empty out D's handbags though, and everything from plastic toy thermometers to wooden trains and Daddy's
long-lost phone will come tumbling out, forcing me to draw the conclusion that D is a busybody. With klepto/hoarder tendencies.
- Flower Power
This super-girlie Amanda Printed Changing Bag, £49.99 from <a href="http://www.babymel.co.uk/product.php?shopprodid=24&varient=133" target="_blank">Babymel </a>looks compact and stylish but holds everything and anything in large wipe-clean pockets. Add in the matching changing mat and you’ve got a floral set that you’ll never be without.</p>
- Beautiful Boden
A typical gorgeous print for <a href="http://www.boden.co.uk/en-GB/Womens-Accessories/78048/Womens-Baby-Changing-Bag.html" target="_blank">Boden</a> fans, this large floral print Baby Changing Bag, £54 is roomy enough for all your lotions and potions needed for your little one, but doubles as a fun beach bag for summer trips this season.</p>
If pretty prints and girly colours aren’t your bag, try this uber-cool Cowboy Nappy Bag, £60 from <a href="http://www.cathkidston.co.uk/default.aspx" target="_blank">Cath Kidston</a> on for size. It’s made with wipe-clean oilcloth, making it a doddle to keep in tip-top condition, and has compartments for everything you need on a day out.</p>
- Lovely leather
If you’re looking for an investment bag, for baby years and beyond, look no further than the Petie Planet Leather Baby Bag, £150 from <a href="http://www.funkymoose.co.uk/baby-changing-bags/petit-planet/petit-planet-leather-baby-bag" target="_blank">Funky Moose.</a> Avaliable in black, red and yellow, this little number comes with two changing mats (great for when one needs a wash) and a rather handy bag light to see everything if you’re out after dark. <br />
- Monochrome moment
This black and white number with a splash of hot pink, the Be All Shadow Waltz Bag, £94.99 from <a href="http://www.jellybeangroup.co.uk/p493193/be-all-shadow-waltz.html" target="_blank">Ju-Je Be </a>has genius see-through mesh pockets so you can find things in a rush. It also comes complete with two insulated bottle holders if you’ve got twins to keep fed, and crumbs drains at the bottom corners to keep mess out (a must if you’ve got lots of snacks for your brood to carry).<br />
- Turn heads
This shocking lime green Mylo Changing Bag, £70 from <a href="http://us.mamasandpapas.com/en-US/" target="_blank">Mamas and Papas</a> is one for seriously cool mums about town. The colour will brighten up a black buggy, or if you’ve got a colourful set of wheels for your little one, sling it over the handle bars for a fun colour-clash look. It has structured pockets which can be removed if you just want bags of space too.</p>
- Green with envy
This gorgeous summer print is perfect for the warmer months, and will brighten your outfit up a treat. The Flower Green Premium Lulu Change Bag, £65 from <a href="http://www.josoblu.co.uk/store/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=636" target="_blank">Momymoo</a> is designed as a messenger bag but comes with handy detachable pram straps if you want to hook it to your wheels.<br />
- Budget buy
Watching the pennies? This simple but stylish Messenger Change Bag, £39.99 from <a href="http://www.mothercare.com/Mothercare-Messenger-Change-Bag-Stone/dp/B004H234CS?ie=UTF8&ref=sr_1_7&nodeId=42764041&sr=1-7&qid=1307455172&pf_rd_r=0J7QA8CTXXB9JAQYX6VZ&" target="_blank">Mothercare</a> has everything you need without the price tag. An Insulated bottle chamber keeps milk warm, and the padded strap means you can wear it comfortably over your shoulder no matter how long you’re out for.<br />
- Celeb's choice
This little number, the Nico Tote in Navy, £149 from <a href="http://www.iltutto.co.uk/shop/item/nico-tote-navy" target="_blank">Il Tutto</a> can be seen slung over Dannii Minogue’s arm as she dashes around with baby Ethan. The dark patent and unique metallic silver teddy will make you stand out from the crowd, while the super-roomy inside means you’ll never have to leave any of your essentials at home.</p>
- Peaceful tones
Step out in style with this unusual Dove Satchel, £70 from <a href="http://www.pinklining.co.uk/shop/changing-bags/satchels/satchel-grey-doves" target="_blank">Pink Lining. </a>The beautiful print will turn heads, and if it all gets a bit much, you can just look at the calming doves for a bit of relaxation, right? It’s also got countless pockets for your nappies, wipes, phone, keys…</p>
- Dotty for spots
The Skip Hop Dash Deluxe in Blossom, £58.50 from<a href="http://www.bibsandstuff.co.uk/acatalog/skip_hop_dash.html" target="_blank"> Bibs and Stuff </a>has a whopping eleven pockets to keep your bits and bobs in, so you’ll never be short on space again. Once your little one is not so little, it works as a cracking laptop bag too.</p>