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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mummy Must Have | Bean and Me

Before I had a baby I wasn't really into online shopping, actually to be honest I wasn't really into the whole process of shopping. I've worked in retail for 13 years so to me shopping = work. Don't get me wrong I could spend money like there's no tomorrow, I just never really enjoyed the process. I was a little institutionalised and spoiled working in a department store. It meant I could pretty much buy everything I needed at work without having to venture out into the rest of the big bad scary shopping centre full of grumpy, rude people and queue's a mile long in every shop. Shopping frustrated me and online shopping scared me a little. I convinced myself that every online store was out to steal my money and wouldn't actually send me the item I purchased (thanks dodgy Ebay sellers for giving me that complex).

Since having my baby and not being at work each day (yay for maternity leave) I am forced to go out and shop when I need things. Surprisingly enough shopping is now one of my favourite things to do. Shopping is actually quite an enjoyable experience when you're not rushing around trying to get everything done in the space of a lunch break. And shopping centres are also a great place to meet friends for lunch! The only problem is that babies don't always want to work to your schedule. There have been a few times where I would have loved to spend hours walking the aisles of shops browsing all the shiny new things, but bubba most certainly didn't want to. She makes it quite obvious when shes not in the mood. But thats ok, because I've now discovered the wonderful world of online shopping.

Despite my original aversion to it, I took the leap and I've found online shopping is actually really fun. I've found heaps of great small businesses that sell lots of unique products that I never would have found before. I prefer to shop from businesses that have a facebook page as it is easy to contact them if anything goes wrong. I also like supporting businesses run by stay at home mums because I'd prefer to give my money to someone realising their dream and trying to support their family, rather than a big corporate giant. I have found quite a few of these businesses, but one I particularly love is Bean and Me.

Bean and Me is the online baby of Rochelle Laracy, which was inspired by her actual baby Jenson (fondly known as bean). When he was little he reacted a lot to clothing and nappies due to very sensitive skin. To overcome this Rochelle switched as much as possible to using only organic products to avoid nasty chemicals and the skin reactions that followed. Along the way, she was also inspired to create a beautiful place where other mums, dads, aunties, uncles, grandparents and friends can buy gorgeous baby items for their own special beans - thus Bean and Me was born.

The majority of the products stocked are organic or Australian designed, owned and made. There are a few products that are not organic, but are still 100% cotton. She does stock two brands not Australian owned, but rest assured all brands are thoroughly researched to ensure that they are ethically made. At Bean and Me you will find a great range of baby products including clothing, shoes, accessories, toys, teethers, rattles, swaddles, sleeping bags and much more. Basically most of the items you will need for your baby and a great range of items to give as gifts to someone who is having a baby.

I was particularly drawn to Bean and Me because they stock mainly Australian products and brands that I had not seen in the big baby shops before. The organic factor was also a big drawcard for me as bub also has very sensitive skin and can react with red patches or hives very easily. We haven't gone completely organic with her, but I am very careful with the fabrics I buy in clothing and anything that's going to go in her mouth.

There are so many products that I love, but I wanted to introduce you to my favourite product that Rochelle stocks, the Dandelion Gyro Ball. Dandelion is not an Australian made company, but they do specialise in eco-friendly organic baby items. They use minimal and 100% recycled packaging on all products. Products are made from organic fabrics free from chemicals and filled with natural fibres. The Gyro is a ball, rattle and teether all in one (otherwise known as the perfect toy for bubba).

The Gyro ball is a twist on your average baby ball. It is a fabric open ball with four different tube sides, each one made from different material and textures. Each section is filled with natural corn fibre filling which doesn't clump up when washed. It also has teething tags on the ends and a rattle in the centre section. Basically it is everything I want in a baby toy all in one item. Its natural, organic, machine washable and developmental. It stimulates four of the five senses - sight, sound, touch and taste (I don't think it would taste that great, but obviously its ok because she has it in her mouth all the time). I love it!

It says on the packaging that its for six months plus and I got it when bub was only four months old so I didn't expect her to be that interested in it at first. It took her a couple of days to get used to it, but after that it quickly became her favourite toy. I thought she would just suck on it and not do much else with it until she got older. I was wrong. It didn't take her long to work out different ways to use it. She quickly learnt she could pick it up and hold it above her head while she was lying on her back. Its the first toy she ever lifted above her head.

Clever girl lifting it above her head

When she lifted it above her head she realised that it made noise and now she doesn't stop shaking it when I give it to her. When we first got it she was just starting to attempt rolling on her side. I put the gyro beside her to encourage her to roll over and within a week or two she had not only mastered rolling to her side, but also rolling all the way to her belly. She now flips onto her belly and plays with the ball while doing tummy time. It has actually helped encourage her to stay on her tummy for a lot longer than she used to.

Apart from rolling, lifting and shaking; she has now worked out that she can throw it. And apparently its hilarious to throw it and watch mum go pick it up, only to throw it again. She has also worked out (not sure if it was by accident or on purpose) that she can put her hand through it and wear it as an oversized bangle. She does this even while playing with other toys. Yep, shes special.

Her pretty new bangle

The other feature I love is that you can machine wash the ball. The only thing I don't normally like about soft toys is that they are usually hand wash only (and who's got time for that with a baby?). With the amount of times she puts the gyro in her mouth, I definitely need to wash it. I washed it for the first time the other day in a wash bag on the gentle cycle. I was a little sceptical that it would come out of the machine looking different to when it went in (as some other toys have), but it held its shape and none of the colour ran.

If you want a stimulating and developmental toy for your baby I definitely recommend you get the gyro ball and you should definitely get it from Rochelle. She runs her business very professionally and is always around to answer any questions you may have. She prides herself on providing good customer service and having worked in customer service for years I can definitely say that customers will not be disappointed with the service they receive from Bean and Me. Parcels arrive promptly and well packaged. I have ordered more items and I am sure they wont be the last ones I will order. I already have a list of other stuff I want (just don't tell T).

If you don't already want to get on her site and check out all the great products right now you are crazy, let me give you another reason to do so. Rochelle is generously offering Finding Myself Young readers 15% off any item from Bean and Me until January 31st. Simply use the promo code YOUNG when you checkout. If your looking for a guilt free excuse to buy something cute for your baby, this is your chance to do it. All her items would also make great baby shower gifts. Now don't let me keep you any longer.

Toni x

*I was not paid for this review, but I was gifted the Gyro ball.
*All opinions are my own and I have purchased other items from Bean and Me

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