As a mom of a 13-month-old who is also expecting a little brother and sister very shortly, I had been watching the changing bag market very closely, eagerly anticipating next season's offerings in the hope that there would be something that would be, first and foremost, large enough to accommodate all of the paraphernalia that comes with two under two, practical, and also stylish. I couldn't believe my good luck when I was chosen to win a Storksak Noa in black leather courtesy of Natural Baby Shower, my absolute favourite outlet for baby equipment.
The first thing I noticed as I opened the box was how stylish the bag looked. It could easily be mistaken for a high-end large handbag, and there is a noticeable absence of bright prints that scream 'I'm a nappy bag!'. This is a demure piece with elegant branding that would not look at all out of place on the shoulder of someone out doing absolutely nothing to do with a baby, which means that the bag is not only a stylish option for travelling with a brood, but a piece that will last beyond the test of time as there is definite scope for it transforming into a beautiful, spacious handbag when the baby days are behind you.
It has a selection of ways of carrying the bag built in, including a long shoulder strap, short straps and the innovative velcro straps for attaching it to your stroller. I loved these at it kept my shoulders, arms and hands free from the weight of a bag and allowed me to hand it from the push bar of the stroller rather than filling the basket, leaving my stroller's basket free for shopping. This adds to the value of the bag given that with some other brands you have to buy a separate strap system to achieve this.
On the exterior of the bag, you could almost miss the discreet, insulated bottle holder, which appears as one of the side seams until you take a closer look. Lined with special insulating material, this will comfortably accommodate a standard sized bottle, or a toddler's beaker , as I discovered yesterday, and keep the contents either warm or cold for up to four hours. On the front of the bag is a deep pocket which unfortunately I felt unable to take full advantage of as it doesn't feature a fastening, but I think would be perfect for keeping a useful item such as tissues to hand.
As soon as you open the bag, you notice its beautiful golden lining, which is continued on both on the included changing mat and the inside of the internal organiser so everything co-ordinates beautifully. This fabric, although beautiful, wipes clean without any problem and moms will be reassured to know the changing mat is also fully machine washable.
There is a capacious zipped pocket within the lining of the bag which I found more than accommodated my phone, keys, credit cards and cash with room to spare, so no need to carry a separate handbag as I had found had been the case with other nappy bags. But for those who like their baby essentials to be organised and tidy, the real selling point of this bag is the internal organiser. This is a separate little bag with its own carry handles and zip featuring 5 external pockets, the perfect size for nappies, nappy wipes and nappy sacks, and a large inner pocket that will close with a zip.
The beauty of this feature is not only the fact that it will keep the items organised, but that it can easily be removed from the bag at change or feeding time to keep everything close at hand without the need to go rummaging through a bag with things just piled on top of each other. The bag is already one of the larger styles on the market, but if, like me, you have or are anticipating further additions to the brood, you can easily remove this small interior organiser and place it in the basket of your pushchair (where it will take up hardly any space at all due to its small, efficient design) and then have the entire capacity of the main changing bag available. It is reassuring to know I have this option, although the bag is so large to begin with, I doubt I will ever need to use it. Within the internal organiser, I kept my nappies, nappy wipes, nappy sacks, a bib and spoon and jars of baby food and snacks in the exterior pocket, and inside the interior organiser, I kept the changing mat and a selection of small toys which proved the perfect distraction for my son James at change time. He even knows where I keep them! Therefore, everything I needed at change (and feeding) time was easily accessible and could be removed from the main bag all at once.
In conclusion, this is the perfect changing bag for a style-conscious Mom who doesn't want to compromise on functionality. I know I can advance towards the birth of my second child safe in the knowledge that the Storksak Noa has got me covered.