Rocking and a rowing…

As I have said before, I am a big fan of beautiful and practical design. Bloom’s CocoStylewood fits that description. The sleek unibody design makes it a welcome addition to a nursery. I confess that at first my son was not thrilled to be rocked in it, but as he grew older he actually sought it out and rocked himself in it – giggling with delight. It has now become his Row, Row, Row Your Boat perch!

I must also confess that if Bloom made an adult size CocoStylewood I would probably be typing this post while rocking in one. The construction is solid* and the micro-suede is very supple. Bloom offers wood and plexi-glass for the unibody base as well as numerous colors of micro-suede. Of course I can never say enough good things about a company that makes children’s products that are lead free, phthalate free, PVC free, heavy metal free, and AZO dye free (you can read the company’s safety and sustainability statement here). After wondering whether this should be on our baby registry I can say that we certainly made the right choice.

*I have to asterisk my solidly built statement because I actually did have a slight problem with my initial CocoStylewood. I can’t say for sure what happened, but the wood “sheets” that build the base separated from each other and as I said it was in the phase in which my son was not so fond of it. Basically, it came unglued. It did not however seem to be cracking or compromising the structure itself. Nonetheless, I did not want to risk it breaking so I gave Bloom a call and they promptly sent a replacement. The new unit has been perfect after much more use than the first unit, so I chalk up the first units glitch to being a one-off. I also have to say that Bloom’s customer service was exemplary and this only makes me recommend their products more emphatically.

Children’s products useful by design and cool by nature…

One of my favorite companies, as a Dad, is Boon.

I always admire a company that can create children’s products that are useful, safe, aesthetically pleasing and just plain cool. That does not mean these are the only kind of children’s products I like or buy, but I am most attracted by a well-thought out and beautifully designed product. I own and use seven of Boon’s products: Frog Pod, Squirt, Fluid, Catch Bowl, Snack Ball, ModWare and Groovy.

The Frog Pod is a great bathtub accessory. The frog keeps all of my son’s bath time toys in one place and hung to dry when not in use. Since I am often on tub cleaning duty after my wife whisks him off to his room to prep him for bed, I just unhook the Pod from the wall, drag it through the tub (thanks to the “vents”) and quickly pick up all loose toys. Then you just hook it back to the base and the next morning everything is dripped dry! The only thing I would say you need to be aware of is that if you choose to use the suction cups to hook the base to the bathroom tiles do not position the Pod directly under the shower because if a lot of water gets to the suction cups they will (logically) come loose and the whole unit will fall off. Can be a bit jarring to hear that clatter in the middle of the night!

The Squirt, Fluid, Catch Bowl, Snack Ball, ModWare and Groovy are all for different stages of your baby and toddler’s feeding phases. The squirt made feeding homemade fruit and vegetable puree’s to our son, when he was starting on solids, a cinch. The ModWare is a great way to get toddlers to eat their meals without sticking themselves or chiseling “Elmo loves me alot!” into the dining room table! Paired with the Catch Bowl (for anything that could go “splat!”) and Groovy (for less “clean-up” intense food) these utensils have been a great way to get our son to eat with us at the table using our “table-friendly” Tripp Trapp high chair by Stokke (that will be reviewed in upcoming posts).

Two niggles here on two of the Boon products I have used to allay any fears that I am blindly in love with their products (doing get me wrong… I kinda do!). The Fluid allows for great hand control when your kid is ready for what I call “tipping” sippy cups, but (and this problem does not only afflict Boon) does nothing to avoid a steady stream of water when our son decides to play “let’s see how much water I can pour onto the hard wood floor”. The trade off for the “staying put” power of the Catch Bowl is the need for a foot planted against the table, both hands firmly grasping the bowl and all your weight leaning back to pry the sucker (no pun intended) off the table (and often from the sink when you go to wash it out). As I said: “niggles” that do not really downgrade the product experience much nor can I honestly think that there is an easy work around considering that they serve their primary purpose well.

The Snack Ball is probably my favorite Boon product. It is very versatile doubling as a very resistent “ball” to play catch with or a table top bowling ball using toy soldiers as pins. To be honest, I have used it often for my own snacks because as I said before it is just plain cool. I must warn you, though, if you plan on using it for yourself you will have to get used to other parents giving you some dirty looks for apparently depriving your child of their snack!

And it does not end with my review of Boon products because there are two points about this company that I think add value to their products. As a marketing person myself I know how often gimmicks are used by companies to nurture affection from customers more often than not as a facade for lack of quality in their products or services. Boon on the other hand has great products, so they could simply end their offering there, but they strive to make products that are BPA-, Phthalate- and PVC-free and as if that is not enough they have a Giving Back program that has been committed from “Day 1” to donating 10% of profits to charities specifically benefiting children in need. Now if that doesn’t further convince you to grab some Boon products I don’t know what will!