Magic Monitoring for eBay Baby Goods

As previously mentioned, where possible we plan to make as much use of eBay as possible in attempt to lower the cost of major purchases such as pushchairs, cots, etc, and I think I’ve stumbled across a tool that may just prove useful.

IFTTT.com (IF THIS THEN THAT) is an interactive website that allows you to create “recipes” that will result in certain functions being carried out when predetermined criteria is met, for example;
IF THIS: today is 25th December
THEN THAT: post a “Happy Christmas” Facebook status

The outcome doesn’t have to be a Facebook status update, you can get IFTTT to tweet you, send you a text message, email a daily update etc. When combined with eBay feeds, you can start to see the possibilities…

Linking it to eBay

The idea behind IFTTT is simple yet genius and with a bit of thought and planning I’ve created a number of “recipes” that culminates in a daily email digest being sent to me with details of any new eBay auctions that would interest me.

My “recipes” work in the exact same was as the example above, but focus on eBay search criteria and the output it a daily email summary;

Recipe: Uppababy Vista
IF THIS: a new eBay aution starts where the title includes “Uppababy Vista”
THEN THAT: include details in a daily email summary

Free IFTTT Recipes

One of the best features of IFTTT is that it allows you to publish your “recipes” for others to use freely. I’ve therefore published the following, should anyone else also wish to monitor eBay for travel systems;

Recipe: Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip

Recipe: iCandy Peach

Recipe: Britax Smile

Recipe: Silver Cross Pioneer

Recipe: Silver Cross Wayfarer

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Feeling Babies First Kick

Today we are 17 weeks and 2 days into our pregnancy and this morning J complained of an uncomfortable “fluttering” feeling. Straight away I said get ready for the first kick and bang on schedule, making me look like I knew what I was talking about, Pancake sure enough gave her first kick.

17 weeks! I think it was a little bit freaky for J with it being our first, feeling something inside stretching, but reassuring at the same time. Sods law, I put my hand and waited for 20 minutes without a single feeling.

Every magazine, book, pamphlet and website we’ve read thus far has said to expect the kicking from around week 20 (week 18 if its you’re second!) so it just goes to show that despite advances in technology and biology, when it comes to pregnancy, much is still unknown and advice should really be considered as guidance only.

I guess we must have a dancer in there already practising her moves and grooves… or a footballer!

Let the shopping begin

Recently we’ve allowed ourselves to start accepting we’re pregnant and have been on eBay a fair bit monitoring prices of travel systems such as iCandy Peaches and Uppababy Vista. If you’re lucky, some bargains can be had, and with time on our side, I’m hopeful we can grab a pretty good deal. Failing that and we’re forced to buying brand new, I think our hearts are set on the Britax Smile or Silver Cross Pioneer or Wayfarer.

Making the news

What was making the news on this momentous day? Below is a collection of front pages I’ve collected dated 17 March 2015.

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Competition Win: Water Babies Here We Come!

Whilst at the Baby & Toddler show the other week, one stand we made a beeline to was Water Babies. As previously mentioned, introducing Pancake to water as early as possible is one of our main priorities, having both grown up loving the water and becoming specialist scuba divers.

Whilst chatting to the reps at the show, we found out there are classes held on a weekly basis just 2 miles of where we live, so enrolling when the time comes is a no-brainer. Making up part of the Water Babies stand was a Mini stuffed full of balloons, which at the time we didn’t really understand.

Luckily, the Water Babies rep pointed out that they were holding a competition for those visiting the Baby Show – “Guess how many balloons are in the car and win 10 classes”.

Like most at the show, thinking we had little chance of winning considering the amount of attendees, we just stuck the first figure that came out my mouth, the ever faithful 76, and thought nothing else until today.

76, it turns out, was bang on the nose and we were randomly picked as the winner (two people guessed correctly) and called with the good news.

With 10 weeks of swimming courses already boxed off for Pancake starting some time in September, we couldn’t be happier considering it was something we were going to signup to anyway. Maybe we should start entering a few more of these competition things and who know’s what else we’ll end up with 🙂

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Parenting books for new parents

With so many parenting books for new parents out there, it’s easy to get carried away spend a huge amount of money (especially with Amazons One Click) when you’re preparing for your first new born.

After hearing the experiences of a fair few, I was initially put off as the vast majority of books have been described as terrible, and was left wondering if any of them are actually worth the money. Despite this, after a quick search, I stumbled across one that I found quite basic, yet appealing, and wouldn’t break the bank.

Baby Owners Manual

After browsing the reviews on Amazon, I plumped for the The Baby Owner’s Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-shooting Tips and Advice on First-year Maintenance as it promised to be written in a “male friendly” way. It’s aim is obvious from the front cover, light hearted, yet it gets the serious points across without daunting us men.

To give you an example of the male friendly language used, some chapter headings include:

  • “Home Installation” (nursery equipment)
  • “Baby’s Power Supply” (feeding)
  • “Troubleshooting Baby’s Audio Cues” (crying)
  • “Programming Sleep Mode” (sleep cycles)
Baby Owners Manual

Baby Owners Manual

How I’m finding the Baby Owners Manual

Granted, I am only a few pages in, but I’m finding it amusing and a fun read. It covers a lot of material from preparing for the baby’s arrival to feeding and changing to first aid. The “Medical Maintenance” section is also pretty useful, even though we have a NHS Senior Nurse Practitioner in the house, as it explains everything from CPR to birth marks.

The book is written and laid out similar to a Haynes Motor Manual, uses basic diagrams, refers to the baby as “The Model” and suggests ways to ensure that your baby does not “malfunction”. It puts a different and fresh spin on something that should be taken very seriously, and although while reading it, it feels like I’m reading a joke book, I can hand on heart say I’m also learning a lot at the same time.

The Baby Owner’s Manual is 12 years old so some may consider it a bit dated but on reflection, for the £1.97 price tag, and ignoring the odd Americanism, I think this new parent book mixed with the all advice you pick up from magazines, friends, family and from the good old NHS, is probably all you need.

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Our Baby & Toddler Show induction

This weekend we headed off to the Baby & Toddler Show held at Manchester’s Event City – an interesting experience to say the least and well worth the £7 entry fee.

Baby & Toddler Show highlights

  • Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip travel system – simply brilliant! One handed operation that a man can do, and a huge storage net underneath.
  • Britax Smile travel system – similar to the Armadillo in functionality, accessories and price.
  • Yoomie self-warming baby bottle – a god send for breast feeding
  • Water Babies classes – as we’re both scuba divers, swimming is a top priority for us for safety as well as recreational purposes.
  • Bean Bag Planet – the fact that one bean bag lasts for 7 years!

Searching eBay

One thing we did notice was that many items were touted as being “suitable for a second child if you have one in the next few years” as they’ll last.

With that in mind I think we’re definitely going to focus a little more on the eBay Baby section after hearing positive reviews from a bunch of friends.

Obviously some things like a mattress is a big no no as it has, on occasion, shown an increased risk of cot death for babies sleeping on a mattress previously used by another baby. However things like a Mamas & Papa Morph carrier can be picked up for ¼ of the price and will no doubt do the job required.

Birmingham Baby Show @NEC

Because we’re not quite ready to start buying, we decided to hold off and go to the next baby show in May held at the Birmingham NEC. Right now there’s a 45% early bird discount meaning it’s £10.50 compared to £20 on the day. We’ll be going but will remember a few valuable lessons learned in Manchester;

Noise

Take water and paracetemol (I’d be tempted with ear plugs too!).

Times

Doors opened at 10am and we arrived at 11:30am to find it was busy, very busy. After spending an hour mooching we headed off for a break and grabbed a pub lunch with a friend. Returning at 3pm we found the show extremely quiet meaning no queues and no problem finding people to ask for advice unlike earlier in the day.

Beware New Parents

We came across a fair number of people who seem to think they were the only ones pregnant. Be expected for people to barge past in order to get to the front of a queue, test drive a pram, pick up a bottle, or feel a bean bag. I was amazed at the “survival of the fittest” instinct I witnessed and soon learned to stand my ground, after all pretty much everyone there was pregnant.

Testing things

Due to the sheer number of people, it’s quite hard to get to grips (literally) with some of the products on show. Before the next one, we’ll be sure to pop into some stores and try out the prams etc where we have more time and space to play around. Then, at the show, we can finalise which one’s we’re going to buy and try and strike a good deal, without the faff of having to wait 10 minutes just to push a pram 5 metres.

Prices

It’s too easy to be overcome by the amount of cute baby things, and I’d imagine far to easy to leave with a huge credit card bill too. Do your home work first.

Price exactly what it is you’re after online, see what deals are available and then compare the “show prices” and see if the reductions are really that attractive. We’ll still haggle even if it’s just for some extra free stuff. As can be seen below, on the last day of a show, some companies reduce their prices even further.

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