I was really quite excited to purchase my changing bag but was disappointed to be met with an array of spotted, striped and floral designs which, while clearly practical, weren’t really what I had in mind. Losing my sense of self after having a baby was, to a degree, inevitable, but I would be damned if I was going into the experience without suitable arm candy! For some reason, a lot of my hopes and fears seemed bound up in the outward appearance of my changing bag. As if it would be a measure of what kind of mother I was or how well I was coping. I wanted to convey an unruffled, glossy visage of an impeccably groomed woman who clearly had her shit together (and just happened to have a baby). So in my hormone addled pregnancy fog, that meant that by hook or by crook I would have me a killer bag – but where to find it?
I discovered the ‘Jemima’ by Jem + Bea about half way through my pregnancy. Everything that I had seen up until that point was the stereotypical changing bag outlined above – a bit too wipeable to be chic. Though considerably more expensive than the majority on offer, I reasoned that this was going to be something I carried with me pretty much 100% of the time and would be in need of for at least the foreseeable future. Even before Luna was born I was hyper aware of the psychological impact having a baby could have. I had no idea how I was going to look, what clothes I would be able to wear or how I would feel in my own skin. Having an amazing bag seemed a no brainer.
It should come as no surprise that the girls behind Jem + Bea have some serious fashion credentials. With backgrounds in law and designing for the likes of Mulberry and Anya Hindmarch respectively, these new breed of baby bags were never going to be anything short of impeccable!
The Jemima is a large tote made from super luxurious textured leather and has a pocket for everything! The ‘Jem + Bea’ logo is subtly embossed in gold (another tick – you know I love my gold) and for an extra £21 you can have a personalised leather tag (if I’m honest that kind of sold it – love me a monogram!) I also snapped up the stroller straps which have made carrying the bag on the pram a breeze.
- Nappies – I’ve tried a number of brands and always come back to Aldi! Soft, substantial and super cheap
- Wipes – Water Wipes always. An amazing and very ‘wet’ wipe with no hidden nasties! (I always have a packet stashed on my dressing table for any makeup mishaps)!
- Spare Babygro and Vest. There is nothing more gorgeous than a baby in a simple white babygro. I’ve tried M&S, John Lewis, and Mothercare but these ones from Mamas & Papas are far and away my favourite! They are ridiculously soft and don’t seem to suffer any shrinkage in the wash!
- Sippy Cup. I’m very conscious that Luna doesn’t become dehydrated and I’m forever thankful that she LOVES water, so we always have a sippy cup to fill up on the go.
- Muslin. Brilliant for everything from protecting yourself from projectile vomiting cleaning up said projectile vomit, a makeshift bib, a sun shade or as something to lie on for emergency nappy changes. Aden & Anais make the most gorgeous muslins and I always have one of their ‘Jungle Jam’ styles stashed in my changing bag.
- Snacks – I usually have some wafer biscuits for Luna and a granola bar for me for munchie emergencies
- Purse. The Jemima bag comes complete with a small pouch – great for phone, change, keys, lipstick – anything you want to be able to grab in a hurry. (I’ve found this so handy that I’m eyeing up the gorgeous blush ‘Mama’ pouch as a bit of an ‘extra’).
The Overspill (I.e the cast of In The Night Garden)
Shhhh. Ok, so one changing bag really isn’t enough – particularly as your baby gets older and needs to be entertained pretty much constantly! Though it’s nowhere near as glamorous as my ‘Jemima’ I love my Fjallraven ‘Kånken’ backpack! I would call it ‘utility chic’ and it really is brilliant for housing the never ending pile of books, soft toys and plastic bleepy rubbish you end up carting about with you! It might seem excessive to lug two bags and a baby around but trust me – there is nothing more likely to spoil your day than forgetting your pre-packed entertainment!
Jem + Bea – My Top Picks
- The Jemima (which now comes in grey…Be still my beating heart)!
- The Amber – It was a toss up between the Amber and the Jemima – the Jemima won on sheer size but oh dear lord the Amber is just to die for!
- The Jamie Backpack – so cool. I think if this had been available this time last year it would have been a serious contender for my back up bag!
I have no doubt that my love affair with Jem + Bea will continue for some time and if we are lucky enough to have a second baby, there is every chance I could be tempted to another. Did anyone else get caught up in the world of the changing bag? What do you keep in yours? Can you have too many baby bags? As always I would love to hear your thoughts.
Browse The Jem + Bea Website HERE