Jasmine: We have done shopping posts previously [see good stuff for parents and good stuff for babies here], but thought that we should feature some of our favourite items specifically from Amazon for mummy, baby and the home. We have gotten
plenty of some stuff over the last few years after browsing reviews and comparing prices, but this post will focus mainly on the things that we can’t find in Singapore or that would cost much more here.
Andrew: I used to only buy books and DVD box-sets from Amazon (of my various TV shows!) – now I know you can literally buy anything from Amazon. Actually many things are cheaper on Amazon, minus the delivery charge, hence buying in bulk always works (as Jas will mention later) or getting a friend in US to help – thanks Anand! Anand also helped us to hand-deliver the Medela Breast pump which we ordered from Amazon back home as it cost one-third the Singapore retail price. When asked if it’d be awkward for a man to carry a breast pump thru customs, he said it wasn’t his first time! Haha!
Anyway, here’s the list of things:
1. Leachco Back ‘n’ Belly pregnancy pillow
Jasmine: For my first pregnancy, Andrew bought me this ginormous pillow when I was six months preggie and complaining of backache all the time. I have brought it out of storage now that I am halfway into my second pregnancy, and it is still as lifesaving as before. For one, I toss and turn quite frequently due to the weight of the baby and the back/ rib pain. While there are pregnancy pillows half the size of this, it’s nice to turn and not have to shift the whole pillow over or supplement the other side with bolsters. The curves of the pillow are also in just the right place to support both the tummy and the back. (Andrew: There was even one we bought which claimed to support mainly the tummy, just a small wedged-shaped pillow, which was absolutely useless.)
When our friend Anand saw this, he immediately said this pillow could be marketed to potbellied men. Heh.
We call it ‘the cloud’ because it ensconces the sleeper snugly, and it is as large as one (takes up half our queen-sized bed). Dilly finds it very comfortable too, it’s like one big pillow fort! (Andrew: Sometimes when I’m lazy to run around with Dylan, I put him on the bed, within this pillow fort and let him play within. He does enjoy bouncing around within the pillow.)
It’s mine now, Mummy…
Jasmine: The only minus (besides it being hard to make the bed haha) is the cover- after we wash it, it takes both of us to struggle to put back the cover as if we are casing a bursting sausage. I wish they would make a cover with a concealed zip on the outside seam but perhaps that would jack the price right up. (Sidenote: Not to be confused with the zippered cover available for their other similar model, the Back ‘n’ Belly Chic. The Back ‘n’ Belly Chic covers won’t fit the Original, which is the one we have, due to differences in the placement of the seams, so I can’t buy that.) Leachco does sell a replacement cover for the Back ‘n’ Belly Original on Amazon but it’s identical to the current one, e.g. more sausage casing, so we didn’t buy it.
Andrew: The other minus (for me) is how much space this pillow takes up! Heh. This pillow squeezes me all the way to the corner of my bed.
Jasmine: We have bought at least half a dozen books from Amazon that probably merit a post of their own, but we will just share our most recent acquisition- the Art for Baby book, which features black and white renderings of iconic Pop Art works by Keith Haring. Takashi Murakami etc. (Andrew: Honestly, we have bought enough books for Dylan that would last him at least until he is 2 or 3, when he can actually understand words.)
Jasmine: What I didn’t realise was that the book is of higher quality than other board books. It is large and sturdy, has a white, subtly pearlescent sheen, and the artworks are embossed and glossed to make them stand out on the page. Extremely presentable as a gift!
Though Dylan is past the newborn stage of being able to see only in black and white, he still loves this book, particularly this rendering of Julian Opie’s Girl, which he will bend over and kiss whenever he flips to that page. Aww…
Apart from the high-contrast images, the other finishing touch that makes it perfect as a baby shower or full month gift is that it has a neat back pocket containing a frieze of all the images in the book! This can be pasted over the crib for a newborn to look at for visual stimulation.
Can’t wait to read this book to baby girl! (Andrew: Read? How exactly would you read this book – or are you confusing this with all the other books we have bought?)
Jasmine: Dearie, don’t be mean! I will name the various items, describe their characteristics and let baby girl observe them. You can tell if newborns are attracted to a particular picture because it holds their gaze longer. Studies have proven so.
Jasmine: Don’t ever question me again.
3. Cone Sorter by Plan Toys
Jasmine: We have a set of stacking cum nesting Mula cups from Ikea which Dilly loves, so we thought that he might take well to this cone sorter, which is premised on the same concept of teaching babies about height, depth and sequence.
It’s no secret that I just have this soft spot for wooden toys and unique toys, and this one is one of the more special (and even stylish) stacking toys I’ve seen. With a 4.9 reviewer score out of 5 on Amazon, it’s beautifully crafted in wood and there are many ways to stack it.
The outer shapes are in warm tones while the inner shapes are in cool tones, so that allows for categorisation of colours and enhances the peekaboo effect- everytime Dilly pulls off one shape, at least one or two other shapes and colours are revealed.
The inner cylinders also add a layer of difficulty as they can be stacked concentrically too, so there are reviewers talking about how this toy is a challenge even for their 2 or 3-year-old kids.
Dylan’s current favourite activity (aside from pulling all the pieces off one by one) is practising his fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination by inserting the light green stick into the emerald green cylinder. Today, he was just sitting there putting it in and out, while giggling at his reflection in the mirror. Too cute.
We’ve had this for a month now, and unlike the other toys that get rotated weekly, this one has become a staple plaything because he just keeps going back to play with it everyday. (Andrew: Honestly, Dear’s rotating schedule for toys gets confusing at times when I try to find a toy that has worked with him previously and can’t find it anymore. She tells me there is some form of method to this rotation, i.e. square toys, circle toys or something to that effect; but I somehow doubt it.)
Jasmine: Dear, they’re all in the nursery cupboard, in one of three boxes, labelled ‘books’, ‘music [and movement]’ and ‘soft toys’. Anyway, you could have just asked me 😀
And since you have given me an opening to talk about my rotating schedule, I decide a theme every week for the selection of toys. Last week I was conducting an experiment on electronic vs wooden toys, previous week was shapes-themed e.g. square vs circular objects, another week was on transparency and colour, another week on music and sound. This coming week is play food week… Want me to go on??
Dilly’s play area, which is constantly work-in-progress
Andrew: This is one of my favourite toys with Dillie too! For me, the fun is in stacking it in various ways, as opposed to the ‘correct’ way, combining it with the other toys like putting little balls on top of the pyramid and letting him smack everything down. Dylan is very good currently at dis-assembling the pyramid with great vehemence – well, he’s moved from just sweeping the whole toy aside, to taking it apart piece by piece. I suppose that shows some motor skill progression?
4. Starburst Mirror
Jasmine: And one of the first items we bought off Amazon when we first moved into our home was this starburst mirror. The ones in Singapore cost hundreds and were extremely geometric, whereas I wanted something more organic to go with our “modern fairytale” theme. (If you must know, the current theme, with one baby in the house and another on the way, is “keep it clean”.) I think this mirror cost us SGD40 or 50 tops.
This picture was from when we had only moved in for half a year, and our dining room was painted the palest shade of grey, so the branches of the mirror really pop against that backdrop.
Pls ignore the preggie me in the pic, I didn’t have any closeups of the mirror
(Andrew: Erm, think the choice of pic is quite deliberate. You’ll find any chance to post a pic again of you all dolled up!)
(Jasmine (sadly): I don’t get many chances to get dolled up… Sobs… Bring me on a date?)
Jasmine: Last November, we repainted the dining room a deep shade of cerulean blue, so now the pearly accents stand out. (Sidenote: my mum oversaw the painting when we were on holiday in Shanghai, and our helper cleaned up after the painters left, so Dylan never even had to smell a single paint fume! Thanks Mum!)
Andrew: Not sure if we ever wrote about this before, but Dylan used to have a thing for mirrors (which all babies do) when he was a newborn. So one thing I really enjoyed doing was to walk him around the house and turn him to face the mirror, which would inevitably bring the cutest smile to his chubby little face! When he grew older, he started getting more curious and stretched his hand to grab the beads, which was when I had to start keeping him further away from it.
In conclusion, one piece of advice for shopping on Amazon: buy in bulk. Yes. I’m dead serious about this. Sorry, Andrew’s credit card.
I’m not sure if it is still the case now, but in the past, Amazon tended to deliver smaller parcels via local carrier iParcel, which might have been cheaper for Amazon but was notoriously unreliable (just google for all the customer complaints). For instance, when I ordered a single item, the Manhattan Skwish toy, iParcel did not come to my door to deliver it (when my mum or helper is home all day, everyday) but merely left a note in my postbox saying that delivery had been attempted and I would have to collect my item from the post office. Pfft. What a lie!
However, when ordering bigger parcels or parcels containing multiple items, such as when we ordered the Supermat (another great buy that can’t be found in Singapore), Amazon sent the package by DHL, and that arrived with no issues.
Anyhow, this bedrest thing means occupying myself with lots of online shopping, and Andrew has just agreed to sponsor our next batch of
goodies essentials from Amazon, so perhaps another post is in short order!
Andrew: Hmm, a bit loose with the use of the word ‘agreed’ there, more like ‘acceded’. As long as the house doesn’t get too cluttered (Jasmine: that’s why I rotate the toys weekly) and Dylan enjoys the toys and we are saving money, I have no objections!
Jasmine: Oh my gosh. Andrew thinks spending money IS saving money! I have converted him!!