As a mom of two kids under 3 (including one in cloth diapers), saying we have to haul around a lot of stuff is the understatement of the year! The modest-sized diaper bag I received for my baby shower got the job done for my daughter, but when our son made his entrance it not longer cut the mustard, size-wise. As such, in a moment of unsound logic I dumped its contents and a bunch of other stuff into this huge, cheap-o, single pocket tote which fit everything but left us completely disorganized! ("Oh, he needs a change? Just give me 17 minutes to locate a clean diaper and a couple wipes," I'd say.) Needless to say, it didn't take long before I was shopping around for a better solution!
Enter Pinky and Company, an online family-owned and operated boutique based in Port Moody, BC, offering brand-name, designer diaper bags and other essentials for mom & baby. I discovered the company following a Google search for Canadian diaper bag retailers, and found myself quickly drooling over all the practical, stylish options for keeping organized. Upon contacting the company, the owner herself responded, taking me up on my review proposal and recommending the Skip Hop Grand Central - a diaper bag touted as being "for the mom who needs it all and takes it all". (Yup, that's me!)
...And that, my friends, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. :D
For the mom who needs a little extra space, this is the perfect large-size, yet super-stylish, baby bag.
Skip Hop's Grand Central diaper tote magically combines a compact modern style with an uncanny ability to hold more than you can imagine, tucked away and out of sight. High on style and superb in storage, it holds as much or as little as you want it to; it's the only diaper bag you'll ever need. Take it out for the day or away for the weekend - Grand Central's three innovative sections organize everything you need, without feeling over-stuffed.
Available in Black or Cinnamon - pick the one that's right for you!
- Baby's Section includes clear, wipe-clean zip pocket and webbing toy fob
- Mommy's Section includes zip pocket, phone pocket, and fleece-lined sunglasses pocket + 3 large, divided sections
- 11 pockets include 2 large exterior zip pockets
- 2 insulated side-pockets fit extra-wide bottles
- Main section has secure zip-top closure
- Cushioned changing pad
- Sturdy, lightweight material; water-resistant lining
- Cotton tote straps; faux leather trim
- Hangs neatly on stroller and can be worn over the shoulder
- BPA-free, Phthalate-free
- Size (inches): 18w x 13h x 6d
Let's Take a Tour
Pinky and Company sent me a Skip Hop Grand Central diaper bag in Cinnamon. (I decided to "live dangerously" and veer away from my standard black.)
Here it is in its original glory!
Just look at all those "hungry" pockets, ready to bestow sanity upon my life!
...yet still totally manageable and sweet lookin' over mom's shoulder!
A beautiful thing, ain't it? :)
Here's a video highlighting the bag's features and how I pack it. If you prefer a written & pictorial tour, however, just skip this and read on!
As you can see from the earlier photos, the Grand Central has three main sections. This means one for each member of our family who requires a bunch of stuff - i.e., everyone except Dad! It also has two roomy side pockets.
I obviously assigned myself the "Mommy's Section" (at the front of the bag) and lemme tell ya - I'm workin' it!
First of all, the outer top pocket holds my keys & that's it. A waste of space? Not at all, considering the time and frustration I've saved NOT scrambling around at the last minute for them. They're in the key pocket. Period. Below this is a larger zipped section where I keep my other most frequently-accessed items. Money, cards, chapstick (yes, I'm addicted), pen and a couple other things. Here you can see both uber-important sections in action!
Two other items i'm prone to misplacing (my sunglasses and phone) now have dedicated homes inside the main mommy section. As you can see, I also store larger (and/or needed less frequently) items here such as hand cream & sanitizer, my nursing cover and toys for the kiddos. Opposite from the shades & phone pockets (which you can't quite see here, but trust me - it's there!) is a zipped section in which I store receipts, coupons, invoices and other paper items.
Next up - the biggest of the big sections, located in the middle of the bag and "zippable". This one's for 10-month-old CJ's goodies. Here it's stuffed with about 5 cloth diapers, a wet bag and a change of clothes, and his wipe solution bottle and wipes mini-bag which are nestled happily into their own little open pockets. (No more rooting around for these as the little guy wails in "getting pinned on my back sucks" frustration!)
The third big section is for my daughter's goodies. The main part always has a change of clothes and I'll sometimes throw in a couple books/magazines. At the back is a zipped, clear pocket which is perfect for holding her tiny little hair accessories (clips, elastics, etc.)
This section also includes a toy loop to keep baby's favourite rattle or teether at bay. I haven't used this myself but here you can see it in action.
On to the side pockets. They're both extra-roomy and insulated, so I stuff'em with bottles (obviously) as well as snacks and other items I like to have close at hand. This one's holding my daughter's sippy with almond milk and a pouch snack for my son. (The other one currently has my own water bottle and sunscreen.)
The Grand Central comes with built-in stroller clips. There's one like this on each side of the bag.
The clips are designed to work on most strollers. Here we have the bag attached to our UPPAbaby Vista. (Note - took this pic during a recent trip to Canada's Wonderland where the ability to hang it came in extra-handy, since the basket was filled with all sorts of other stuff - blankets, snacks, souvenirs, etc.! Looks like I got a little lazy here re-packing the bag after one of little man's bum changes. ;)
Finally, the bag includes a change mat. I haven't actually used this as I've replaced it with another one I own that I really like. As you can see, however, it's your standard cushioned, foldable, wipeable variant.
- Practically stylish - As in, it looks good but Dad doesn't recoil in horror at the idea of sporting it.
- Fits a boatload of stuff - plenty of room for mom & two kiddos under 3 (including one in cloth diapers; the bag easily fits 5-6 dipes & associated paraphernalia)
- Extremely well designed (from an organizational standpoint) - I love that there are three main sections, each with their own special sub-sections (e.g. the sunglasses and phone pockets in the mom section). Everything is logical and I don't find anything extraneous.
- Wipes clean - both the inner and outer are pretty much impervious to nasty kid-originated messes. It all just wipes away.
- Stays upright - The base is wide, so you can set it on a flat surface without worrying that it's going to topple over!
- Straps stay put - I can't express how annoying it is when a purse or bag slides off my shoulder, especially when wrestling with a squirmy baby or toddler! Happily this isn't an issue with the Grand Central as the tote-style straps stay in place, regardless of how full or heavy the bag becomes.
- Includes stroller clips - Great built-in feature. Hanging the bag (vs. carrying or stuffing below) makes its contents more accessible and frees up the stroller basket (and your arm) for other key tasks! This is an item you need to purchase separately for many other bags.
- Durable - Lemme tell ya, I am putting this bag through the wringer and it's taking all the abuse like a champion. The material around the stroller clips, in particular, takes a lot of strain and it's not showing any signs of wear.
Could Be Better
- No cooler section - this is included in the similarly-roomy Bento line of Skip Hop bags, and would be a welcome addition to this one (if they could manage to find room for it!), as the one storage-related item we still often need to bring along is a separate soft cooler pack.
- Sunglasses pocket is on the narrow side - my own sunglasses fit just fine, but there isn't much additional room so I suspect pairs with large frames might fit very tight or possibly not at all.
- Stroller clip mechanism could be easier to work. OK I'm getting picky here. But I don't love that you need to press down on the lever (is that the right term?) to both attach and detach them. I feel that the type of clips you find on carseats (i.e. where the two parts snap together) would be more convenient, though, on the downside, this would result in some extra bulk.
Does It Last?
- 3 Month Update - The bag continues to be in "like new" condition after 3 months of regular use; no signs of ripping, staining, etc.
*** The Bottom Line *** The Skip Hop Grand Central is truly One Amazing Diaper Bag, and I'd go so far as to say it may be my absolute favourite baby-related item we own. Seriously. If you're in the market for a stylish, roomy bag with uber-organizational powers, give the Grand Central a serious look.
You can purchase your own Skip Hop Grand Central, or another diaper bag of your choice, directly from Pinky & Company. With several designer brands and dozens of styles, you're sure to find your perfect match! Use promo code M2MPINKY and receive 10% off your order! (Good until November 11th.)
Note - at this time, Pinky & Company is shipping exclusively within Canada. Free shipping is offered on orders over $125 (before taxes), otherwise there is a flat-rate fee of $9.99.
Pinky & Company has generously offered to give away a Skip Hop Diaper Bag (winner's choice of style & colour) to one lucky Manager to Mom reader! Open to CANADA.
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Please follow all instructions within each entry option to ensure your entries are valid
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Disclosure: The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Pinky & Company. I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample item free of charge. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.