Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby talk with Brits

The first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's (aka William and Kate) is expected to arrive shortly. By the time this column appears, Britain may already have a new prince or princess. As of press time, royal followers were betting (3:1) that Kate would have a girl and that the royal parents would name her Alexandra. Second to that was Charlotte at 5:1 odds. Diana or a variation was running even with the name George for a boy at 7:1 odds.

While Brits ponder names, many mums in North America - who might also be expecting their first little prince or princess - have been speculating on the royal nursery. I imagine it to be quite lovely and big. Judging by the scaffolding in place at Kensington Palace in London where refurbishments are in the works for the parents and their little one, there will be room enough for the baby, parents, nanny and a tea party with friends. Built in 1605, Kensington Palace has been home to six British monarchs - including Prince Charles and Diana.

In the spirit of speculation and to inspire American mums working on their own royal nursery, here's the excerpt from an e-chat with Britain's Olivia Robinson, creative and development director at Mamas & Papas (us.mamasandpapas.com) surrounding the arrival of the royals' baby. (Mamas & Papas is a British brand of baby furnishings and accessories, not the musical band known in America.) 

Q: How excited are people in the United Kingdom about the upcoming arrival of William and Kate's baby? What does it mean to Brits?
A: I think many young people in the U.K. identify with William and Kate because they are such a modern, relatable couple and there is genuine excitement for them as they start their family. Anticipation is growing as each day passes and it's certainly an exciting time to be here in the U.K.

AP Photo
Q: When is the baby shower? Where will it be?
A: There has been lots of speculation about whether or not Kate would have a baby shower and it seems as though the consensus was that Kate would have a shower. As this is a break with royal tradition, I doubt any details will be released or even confirmation that the shower has happened. Your readers may not know that baby showers are not very common in the U.K., so that's part of the reason there has been so much "will she" or "won't she" speculation.

Q: Is there already a trend with regards to baby items because of what Kate and William may or may not have planned for the nursery?
A: Yes, trends are already starting within the baby industry as a result of the royal baby. For example, Kate was spotted buying a Moses basket and sales of these baskets have increased by 57 percent. We are seeing a trend toward classic and traditional items which makes sense because I think most people would describe Kate's style this way.

Q: I understand no one will see it, but what do you imagine it will look like? What is popular in the U.K. right now - with regards to nursery themes or trendy d├ęcor?
A: I think we can expect the nursery to have a modern and elegant look. Although we likely won't see photos of the baby's room, I would imagine it to have a classic, neutral color palette like our Once Upon a Time Collection. It features neutral shades, super soft fabric and animal detailing. Overall, we have found that parents in the U.K. are shying away from pink or blue rooms and are creating nurseries that are gender-neutral and match the style of the parents.

The Mamas & Papas Baby Snug.
Q: If parents in America wanted to have a few items from Mamas & Papas that are super popular in the U.K. what would they be?  
A: The Baby Snug is one of our most popular items and is a must-have for any new mom. It is a floor seat with a wide, durable base that gives baby a place to sit, eat and play, thus giving parents the ability to keep an eye on baby in their seat while having their hands free. This item was a lifesaver when my son was young.

Q: What about new technology? Is there anything trendy with regards to cribs, bedding, high chairs or strollers? What is a Footmuff? 
A: Parents are always looking for baby products that make their lives easier. Our Urbo stroller is a great example of how we design products to meet this need. The Urbo is the perfect stroller for city dwellers. It's easy to push, lightweight (under 20 pounds), allows baby to face forward or backward and lies flat so that it can be used from birth. It's also available in a variety of colors - red, turquoise, black, sandcastle, lime jelly and purple.
Footmuffs are very popular in the U.K. and are becoming increasingly popular in the colder climates. Our footmuffs are available in the U.S. and coordinate with our strollers. (Much like sleeping bag for the stroller) they keep baby warm and snug on cold days and convert to a stroller liner during the warmer months.

Q: Was the Pip bunny inspired by (you-know-who) anyone in particular?
A: No, Pip Bunny was not inspired by anyone in particular, although we think it would be a great gift for Aunt Pippa to give to the royal baby! Pip Bunny is a part of our Once Upon a Time collection, which was designed with qualities similar to those Kate is so fond of - soft, high-quality fabric with a classic and modern look.

Q: The outfits for boys are very nautical, featuring boats, anchors and stripes. Is there any particular design that is hot in the U.K., such as monkeys which are hopping here?
A: Funky patterns and stripes are a very hot trend right now. Monkeys are definitely popular here in the U.K. as well. We have a number of babywear pieces coming out this fall that feature a fashionable animal theme. My favorite is an Owl Dress that's made of high quality fabric and features bright colors and owls.

Gina Joseph is a reporter and columnist for The Macomb Daily. Send comments to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com, follow her on twitter @ginaljoseph and visit her beat blog at macomblife.blogspot.com.

1 comment: