Thursday, 27 November 2014

Our Top 10 Christmas Traditions for Children and Families

The one thing we all love about Christmas is repeating the traditions that we remember from our own childhood - opening an advent calendar, hanging up a stocking, prodding the presents under the tree to see whose is the biggest... (maybe one not to be repeated!).

Having your own family is a great excuse to revive those traditions and maybe add a few new ones, so we've questioned our customers and searched the web to come up with 10 great Christmas Tradition ideas for you to try...

1. The Active Advent Calendar
Decorate 24 little boxes or pouches. Write a Christmassy activity on 24 little pieces of card and pop one in each box.  Throughout December, your children can open a box each day and you can do the Christmas activity together.  There are lots of ideas for activities - a woodland walk, watch a Christmas film, bake some Christmas gingerbread, make paper chains... the list is endless!

2. Elf on a Shelf
If you're not familiar with this growing holiday tradition, the Elf on the Shelf, in the form of an elf doll, is dispatched from the North Pole at the start of Advent to keep a watchful eye on the children and make sure they belong on Santa's "nice" list.

Children are not allowed to touch the elf or she will lose her magic and the elf must never move or speak when people are home or awake, but can "move" from place to place when no one is around. Each morning, the children rush from their beds to see what sort of mischievous pranks the elf has got up to while they've been asleep.

You may like to also consider the alternative "Thoughtful Pixie", who does a good deed every day rather than creating havoc!

Pebble Pixie Doll Rattle at Born

3. Santa Portable North Pole
This gorgeous magical website is a direct line to Santa! Just fill in a few details about your child (first name, how old they are, an exciting event that happened this year etc) and upload a few photos and let the magic happen! Santa sends an amazing personal video (via email) to your little one that will leave them in no doubt that Santa and his elves are on his way to visit them very soon! The video is free although you can upgrade to more premium paid packages.

Santa's PNP (Portable North Pole) Video message

One word of advice - when you specify whether you think your child should be on the good or naughty list, always opt for the safe option unless you want tears through December!

4. Baby Hand and Footprints
Paint your little one's hand or foot and make a print each Christmas. Cut it out, laminate it and turn it into an ornament that you can hang on the Christmas tree. Every year, your tree will fill up with these little prints - a lovely record of how your children are growing!

If you'd like something more permanent, consider using a company like Smallprint Jewellery who can turn your baby's finger prints into a piece of jewellery or a keepsake.

Smallprint Jewellery Events at Born

5. Biscuits for Santa
A lovely thing to do with your children on Christmas Eve is to bake Biscuits for Santa.  Whether you think Santa would prefer traditional gingerbread or double chic-chip cookies is totally up to you, but letting the kids bake the biscuits they're going to leave for Santa that night is a great tradition and they can really go to town on the decorating!

6. Snowman Soup
Take an empty jar or a cellophane cone and fill it 1/4 full of hot chocolate powder.  Add a layer of sweets (smarties, chocolate buttons etc) and a layer of mini marshmallows, then tie with a ribbon and add a candy cane.  The finishing touch (if you're feeling really festive) is to add a little card with a poem about the "Snowman Soup" - if you're not creative, don't worry - there are plenty on the internet!

Lovely to have on Christmas Eve and they make great little gifts too!

Snowman soup!

7. Norad Santa Tracker
Many people log into the Norad Santa Tracking website on December 24th.  Set up for children, it tracks Santa and the reindeer as they make their way from country to country, delivering gifts as they go.

8. The Night Before Christmas
A growing tradition involves turning Christmas Eve into an extra special occasion with a few early gifts or even a Christmas Eve hamper, specifically to make your little ones feel cosy and snug before bed! Many children find new pyjamas and bubble bath or a Christmas DVD to all watch together.  We love the idea of snuggling up to read "The Night before Christmas", for that ultimate festive feeling!

Earth Friendly Baby Organic Bubble Bath at Born

9. Looking after the Reindeer
Obviously, we need to remember to leave food for Rudolph and friends on Christmas Eve, but do you sprinkle the magic reindeer food outside your house to encourage them to land?  Mix porridge oats and glitter and tie up in a little bag with some ribbon, ready for your little ones to scatter before they go to bed.

10. Father Christmas Footprints
We can tell when Father Christmas has been, thanks to the half-eaten biscuit that's left (the wine nearly always gets finished).  Sometimes, though, he leaves footprints (icing sugar and glitter) from the chimney to the tree or up the stairs...

Father Christmas has been!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Child's Play - Your Guide to Buying Toys for Babies & Children

With Christmas fast approaching, if you’re thinking of a gift for a baby or child, toys are the obvious choice. However, working your way through the maze of toy products can be very confusing. Many on the market are loud, with flashing lights and bright plastic parts. They look like great fun but can sometimes be too much (for adults as well as little ones!). Babies love toys that stimulate their senses, but don’t overwhelm them.

Pixie Doll Rattle by Pebble at Born, £9.50

Toys are a gateway to a child’s imagination and we should allow them to create and explore a new world, one that isn’t always obvious to us as parents. So a dumper truck becomes the cornerstone in a building site game where houses, tower blocks, schools and hospitals are created from wooden play bricks. A wooden rainbow become a see-saw and a hilly road for a car. A faceless cloth doll becomes a best friend for life.

If you are not sure about which toy to buy, have a look at our toy range on our website or contact one of our stores – we will be more than happy to offer help and advice.  If you are buying the toy as a gift, we can enclose a gift card and wrap the gift free of charge, before posting it on its way! And if you already have some perfect toys in mind, you can send link suggestions to family and friends, to be delivered or collected from the store.

Recycled plastic blocks by Green Toys at Born, £22
What is Learning through Play?

For most children, play is natural and spontaneous. It is a major part of their development as it is through play that that children explore and discover their immediate world. It is here they learn new skills, experience emotions and practise new ideas. They take risks, develop creativity and imagination and solve problems on their own or with others. The toys you choose need support their learning and should inspire play, not dominate it.

A great example of this is a Steiner doll which follows the concept that  expressionless toys allow the child to project their own emotions onto the toy, choosing how they feel that day and leading to more flexible and creative play.

So which toy is right for my child's developmental stage?

Ultimately, your child will choose the toys they want by selecting which they play with and which they ignore! So how do you get that joyful face as they open their presents on Christmas morning and avoid that pile of discarded mistakes at the bottom of the toy box?!

Be led by your child. Choose toys that support their current developmental stage and that will inspire and stimulate without being overly challenging. It is always tempting to buy them something that will help them ‘advance to the next stage’ – try to resist – your child will do that when they are naturally ready and will let you know about it. Equally, age appropriate suggestions are useful, especially for safety, but if your child isn’t there yet, don’t buy it. Use your child as your main guide.

Finally, keep some toys that you think they have moved on from. Children sometimes need the comfort and reassurance or to consolidate their development. And it’s always nice to revisit old friends!

Here are some age appropriate toy ideas:

Zmooz Organic Rattle, £10

For a newborn

Your newborn will find endless pleasure in just gazing at you, hearing and feeling your presence. They are exploring the world with their senses, but do not yet have control over their motor skills. This is a great time for a cot mobile, with bright colours which they can watch but not reach. Also consider cloth comforters – these can be really effective if you sleep with it before your little one is born – it will have your smell and help give them a sense of security and well-being.

Sardine by Blabla, £38

My baby can reach and grab

At this stage, babies love textured toys that they can put in their mouths. This is also the time to introduce soft toys and maybe spark the beginnings of a beautiful friendship between a teddy and your child. Soft rattles are great too – they encourage movement, your baby can make an impact and it won’t hurt if their aim is slightly off!

Alphabet Zoo Playmat, £47

Tummy time:

It is important for your baby to spend time on their tummy – it helps strengthen neck and upper back muscles and gives them a different view of their world. Baby gyms and cloth mats are perfect for encouraging tummy time, giving them lots to reach for and explore.

Skip Hop Stack & Stick, £17

My baby is sitting up:

Welcome to a whole new phase! When babies sit up, they are also mastering hand-eye co-ordination and gross motor skills and they are keen to get practicing! Toys with cause and effect are perfect at this stage, so give them push and pull toys, nesting and stacking toys, squeaky toys, shape sorters, activity cubes and simple instruments that they can bang and bash. Activity toys and repetition are key for your little one at this stage.

Sophie the Giraffe Teething Ring, £9

My baby is teething:

Babies love to put everything in their mouths and chew when they are cutting teeth. It can be a hard time for babies and parents, but choose toys that can soothe or distract as well as being gnawed.

Brio Racing Car, £7

My baby can crawl:

Whether you have a crawler, bottom shuffler, roller or something completely unique, when your child is on the move, they love toys that move too. Push-along toys are great for this stage as they can move their truck or elephant on wheels along with them as they crawl around the room. Consider soft balls to chase after, or blocks to collect and stack.

Wheely Bug Ride-on, from £60

My child is walking:

Toddlers love to be up and about and want to show what their bodies can do! Pull-along toys are ideal at this stage as your child will get rewarded with little quacks, bouncing bodies or flapping wings as the toy gets pulled along! When they are really steady on their feet, they might like a ride-on toy which will encourage them to explore and get them around the house at even faster speed!

Toy Submarine by Green Toys, £12

My child is discovering their world:

When your child is eager to explore, choose toys that will enable discovery, but not dictate it. Think of props to inspire role play, such as tea sets or pirate ships. Consider toys that encourage problem solving, such as stacking toys, puzzles or sorting toys. Toys that can be played with outside or in the bath, so that your child can experiment with soil, mud and water. And don’t forget spontaneous toys – nothing beats a good old cardboard box!

Why buy toys from Born?

The right toy can take children into a world of imagination, giving them the space to explore, experiment and experience.

But it’s not just the end user, the child, that we think about when sourcing toys. What they are made from and how they are made is also important. So no toys for children made by children. No toys made from plastics that don't decompose. No toys that contain chemicals that could harm your child or the planet. So you can rest assured that your gift will be safe, ethical and most importantly, give your child hours of fun and the freedom to play.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Why is exercising in water good for you through pregnancy?

by Guest Blogger, WaterBumps.

Exercise in water is particularly good in pregnancy as this supportive, buoyant environment enables you to exercise safely by reducing the stress on weight-bearing joints, bones and muscles, while also providing the correct support for your growing bump. It can also help improve circulation, increase muscle tone and build stamina. And you’ll love the feeling of weightlessness you get in water as your pregnancy progresses!

Along with the physical benefits, exercise has emotional and physiological benefits too. It boosts the release of endorphins, giving you a stronger sense of well-being, better sleep patterns and higher energy levels – all of which will help you to relax and cope with the changes that pregnancy brings.

If you’ve been a regular swimmer before your pregnancy then you should be able to continue with your usual weekly swims. However, even if you have not previously swum much, swimming is a great – and safe - way to start exercising and staying fit. Begin slowly and build up the length of your swims gradually, making sure you warm up and cool down and that each session lasts no longer than 30 minutes. If your preferred stroke is breaststroke, you’ll need to make a few changes to ensure any pelvic pain or instability isn’t aggravated – so focus more on lengthening the glide and not kicking with your legs.

Water-based exercise classes designed specifically for pregnant women are popular as they also teach breathing techniques and skills that can prepare your body for each stage of pregnancy - and eventually labour and birth. The teachers will have undergone specialist training and will be able to adapt the class each week as your needs change. These classes are also a great way to meet other mums-to-be and help start to build an invaluable support network that could carry on after your little one’s been born. 

About WaterBumps

WaterBumps offers blissful, pool-based, pre and post natal classes using gentle toning and strengthening exercises, as well as times of relaxation, helping you to cope better with the demands of pregnancy. At WaterBumps we offer a free taster class to anybody new enquiring about classes.

Where and when

Penny Porter Physiotherapy Centre, Henbury, near Bristol:
  • Monday 6.30pm & 7.15pm 
  • Wednesday 6.30pm 
Private house, Wraxall, near Bristol:
  • Thursday 7.30pm 

Please phone WaterBumps on 07527 424 072 or email: to book your free taster class. To find out more visit: 

Don't forget to check out Aqua Yoga for Pregnancy by Francoise Freedman - available in store at Born.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Leander - Amazing Furniture to Inspire the Imagination!

When children sit or lay down, they don't stop moving, wriggling, playing and exploring! Movement stimulates their senses and inspires their development - something that Leander not only accommodates but positively encourages!  Throughout the design of every piece of child's furniture, Stig Leander always looks to combine clean, soft lines with the playful element, looking to spark imaginations and creativity.

Leander Cot Bed

The Leander Cot Bed is a piece of furniture that is both functional and beautiful. It grows with your child from birth through to junior, with all the parts needed to transform it along the way included. Five different steps allow your child to gradually transition at their own pace from the comfort and safety of the cot through to the independence of their own bed. The elegant yet simple design will sit well in any bedroom, with soft rounded edges and a gentle egg-like shape that appeals to children and adults alike.

Stig Leander says of the Leander Cot Bed,

"By observing children’s lives it became clear to me that the bed had to change with the child – and be part of the child’s universe.

The Leander bed follows the child so he or she does not experience those changes in the environment that can seem insecure in the world of a little child. The bed is constantly the same and can be adapted to the child’s stage in life.

I have retained the soft, oval expression and have deliberately designed the elements so they are not an angular system of blocks. I have tried to combine the simple, the functional and the aesthetic – and the materials had to be friendly and solid. I wanted to create a piece of furniture that delights and raises the quality of life.

The special shape also means that the bed is a natural and, not least, recognisable entity at all stages of development. Even though the bed changes and develops, it is still the same. Just like your child.”

Leander Stool Set

Extending the focus of movement and play, Stig Leander has worked with designer and Occupational Therapist Tina Smidt to bring out a gorgeous Stool Set comprising of a table and two stools, perfect for little wrigglers!

As children sit on the stools, the slightly pivoting seat is pressed forward, giving an ergonomically correct natural sitting position and allowing movement and play. The seat returns to a neutral position when the child stands.

Like the Leander Cot Bed, the Table & Stool Set are made of beech wood from sustainable forestry and surface treated with water-based lacquer to protect your child and the environment.
Leander Nursery Furniture
The award-winning Leander Changing Table grows with your child, making it a great investment and a perfect choice for the family who love great design and function. It is ergonomically designed to adjust in height while you use it as a changing table, avoiding backache for the parent and making it more comfortable to be close to your baby.  The changing table has a generous changing area, a spacious drawer and a good sized shelf below.  Once your child has grown, simply convert the table to a neat desk.  Sustainable, sleek design and compact! 
If you love the clean lines and gentle curves of Leander's designs,  you will love the Leander wardrobe and dresser - a perfect addition to your baby's nursery or child's bedroom. Designed with the characteristic rounded edges of Leander furniture, there are no sharp edges and the drawers have soft-close to avoid trapping little fingers. The wardrobe has a hanging rail, drawer and an adjustable shelf, whilst the dresser has four spacious drawers for clothes, nappies and soft toys, and plenty of room on top for books, a mirror or those extra special toys!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Sale at Born with 50% off most items in sale!

Final Reductions at Born! Many products online and in store are now 50% off, so grab a bargain while you can! 

The 50% sale includes selected items from Boob, Hotmilk, Frugi, Tots Bots, Petunia Picklebottom, Janod and more.

If you can get to one of our stores in Bristol or London, there are some exclusive sale items including the gorgeous Sense Organics Baby Clothes and Toiletries.

Grab a bargain and tick those items off your Christmas list!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Try Before You Buy! The Avon & Bristol Baby Sling Library at Born

Thinking of buying a baby sling or carrier? Try before you buy, get fitted for a carrier, sling or wrap by experts and find out how to carry your baby or toddler safely and securely. The Avon & Bristol Sling Library is now meeting each month at Born in Bristol.  Have a free one-to-one sling and safety demonstration where you can ask qualified and insured sling consultants questions about wraps, slings and carriers and find out which might be the best for you and your baby.

The sling library is run in conjunction with Carry Me Slings and has a great range of slings and carriers that you can hire for a minimal cost. The sling libraries are run on a voluntary basis and the library is not for profit. The small hire fee covers the cost of purchasing new slings, laundry, training and expenses. The library operates on a community level and their aims are to support all parents with the choice of infant carrying, explaining the benefits and safety.

The Boba 4G Organic Carrier at Born

Details of the Sling Library:

Born, Bristol
64 Gloucester Road
Tel: 0117 924 5080

The first Monday of every month, 9.30am - 11.30am, by appointment only. Next session is on Monday 1st December 2014.

Hire Costs:
Hire costs are £6.00 for a fortnight. We also ask for a cheque deposit of the value of the carrier, which is held until safe return of the carrier and not banked. So please remember to bring your cheque book (or a cash/paypal deposit which can be refunded).

Please phone Born (0117 924 5080) or contact Carry Me Slings (tel: 07846 280720 or email: to book a free appointment or to find out more.  

The ERGObaby 360 Carrier at Born
The Moby Wrap at Born

Aigle Wellies - Just What Puddles Are Made For!

Autumn is upon us and Winter is almost here, so it's time to celebrate! Why? Because with wind and rain come puddles and puddles make us happy! Splashing through the rain and puddles with your little ones is the best feeling in the world, but beware - puddling can be a dangerous sport if you're not well prepared!

Every self-respecting puddler knows that the most important bits of kit are your boots. Successful splashing depends on having the flexibility to stomp with force, safe in the knowledge that the water will land where it should - outside the boot and well away from toasty toes and little feet!

Toddlers and children won't put up with wet socks and cold feet for long, which is why Aigle are our best selling wellies - tried and tested over generations, and capable of winning a battle with the muddiest of puddles!

Aigle's wellington boots have been handmade in France for the last 160 years, and the same level of craftsmanship and attention to detail continues today. The natural rubber (a portion of which is recycled) produces boots that are supple and flexible, but still sturdy enough to give support and durable enough to last for generations - one pair of boots can see their way through 4 or 5 children!

Making the Aigle Boots in France

Natural rubber has significant advantages over PVC or plastic wellies:

  • Natural rubber gives the boots a high resistance to wear, tearing and to the development of cracks or leaks.  
  • The rubber retains it's elasticity, even in extreme cold.
  • Natural rubber is more comfortable and is shock-absorbing (vital for extra high stomping!)

Aigle wellies are lined with soft cotton, further enhancing the comfort for little feet.  They've even got a reflective strip on the heel, so your child can be seen more easily if you like to indulge in a bit of night-puddling!

These premium quality handmade wellington boots are all that your little one will need for keeping out the rain, the mud and the snow - so come on, puddles - do your worst!