“Simply” Cook

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, right up front, that I really should have read the details of what I was buying. But, if the offer is being marketed to new parents, surely there’s got to be an assumption that I’m too tired to think, never mind read, comprehend and act on said information?

Simply Cook markets itself, alongside HelloFresh and Gousto, as a meal delivery service. A boon, I thought, in these busy early days when cooking is harder because of the above alluded-to cognitive failures.

What I was expecting was a box of ingredients with which to make tasty meals. What I should have noticed was that SimplyCook wasn’t billed as a meal delivery service, but a recipe delivery service. Each delivery, costing £20 or so, contains four recipe cards and three little pots of spice blends per dish to help you make the meal. Spices I probably already had in the cupboard, but temporarily lack the nous to assemble into food. 

This will then mean a separate shopping trip to buy ingredients, which will mean leaving the house, potentially with a baby in tow. They do have a link with Ocado to help you buy all the ingredients you need, but by this point these ‘simple’ meals have become expensive as well as complex. And I’m strictly on a Lidl budget these days. 

I don’t doubt that there’s a great market niche for SimplyCook. But for new parents trying to make their life a little easier whilst adjusting to a new tiny human in their midst? Not so much. 

Hospital Bag for Dads

There are about a billion links for mums for what to pack in the hospital bags, from the sensibly succinct to the outrageously overblown. But dads will need a bag too, especially if you’re going to be at the hospital for a drawn out induction process as I am. Note that until she goes into labour, chances are you won’t be able to stay the night, but you’ll still need supplies. 

  • Toiletries – You’ll want to freshen up. Don’t forget shower gel and shampoo, it’s not provided
  • Towel – In case you want a shower during a longer stay, again not provided
  • Phone, charger and headphones
  • Comfortable overnight clothes
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Layers – It’ll be hot on the ward, but if you need to pop out for air or supplies, it’ll feel cold. 
  • Change of clothes for coming home
  • Entertainment, whether book, iPad or what-have-you
  • Pillow – Seriously the chairs for partners are really uncomfortable and hospital pillows are tissue thin
  • Coffee – Hospital tea is fine, hospital coffee is an abomination
  • Snacks – The hospital shop will be expensive, and food options are only for mum. None for you!

Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive. But after three days in hospital so far, that’s what’s been of use to me or what I had to go back for!

Pram Shopping, the impossible Venn

Imagine a Venn diagram of two circles for pram features; one circle has lightness, portability, the ability to get it through doors, into cars and public transport. The other circle has stability, useful features and wheels that don’t jam if you happen to drive over a mote of dust. There’s only the tiniest sliver of an overlap between the two circles and it’s made of solid gold and rivers of human tears.

Pram shopping is a nightmare; everything affordable feels like it’s made of matchsticks, balsa wood and held together with squirrel spit, while everything you love costs more than a small car. And this is before you start getting over-helpful shop assistants start talking to you about new safety legislation, travel system options, and extras you couldn’t possibly do without.

My main piece of advice in this area: Try them out. Go into a big shop and look at all the options yourself. Get one of those over-helpful shop assistants to describe and demonstrate as many models as possible to you. Take it for a spin. Try folding it together a few times to see if you can do it one handed, in the dark, while carrying shopping and a wriggling small person. Can you lift the thing into your car or get it onto a bus?

Second piece of advice: Accept help. If people want to help you evaluate the options, lend, give or buy you a pram, let them. Obviously use the above to make sure it’s right for you; a free pram you don’t feel comfortable using is of no use to you. But do accept help. It’s a jungle out there.

Personally, and this isn’t an advertorial, there’s no commission involved or anything, we ended up going for the UppaBaby Cruz. Mainly because it felt sturdy, but collapsed small very easily.