Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Chester loves his singing and dancing!

So I have been using the Just Dance Wii game recently to help shift some of the baby weight and Chester has had a great time helping me! He is really getting into it and now knows and sings his own versions of the songs haha!
So this afternoon when we got home from nursery before I even had chance to get Millie out of the pushchair he started singing Get around by The Beach Boys to her! Which I thought was very fitting considering she does 'get around' everywhere in her Graco Symbio B!!


Chester singing to Millie!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Chester monkey and his monkey friend!

I must of known what a cheeky monkey my son Chester was going to be, as when he was about 5 months old I went to The Baby Show and brought a Goldbug Harness Buddy. He is now 3 1/2 and it has proven to be invaluable! Most certainly my best purchase for him!

I get stopped in the street A LOT from people asking me about Chester's 'monkey' and where they can get one from. I am seriously thinking about asking for commission haha! So I thought I would blog about it so more people can get my thoughts on this fab product!

I have used the Goldbug Harness Buddy from the moment Chester could walk (he was lazy so this was about 18/19 months!) I still use it now all of the time! He may be 3 1/2 but he still needs to be kept on his 'reins'! Chester is a very active child and in to everything he can get his hands on! The fact that it is a monkey has from day one made it very easy for me to get Chester to put it on! My mum once pulled out some traditional 'reins' for Chester and he was horrified and refused to put them on! I was secretly smiling inside, little did he know that they had the same effect as the monkey he had been wearing on his back for a good few months! MWAHHAHAHAHA!


What I love about the Goldbug Harness Buddy is that is has grown with him so it is suitable for a wide age range with adjustable straps and two clips to strap the child in, meaning I get very good value for money! They retail at £19.99 which in my opinion is well worth it. I am a very active mummy who cant sit still (I wonder who Chester gets his energy from?!) so we use the Harness buddy on a daily basis, even more so now that the weather is getting nice as we can walk to and from nursery! The 'tail' is just the right length, giving Chester some independence whilst keeping him close enough for me to be keeping an eye on him.

Now that I have 2 children I have fallen even more in love with the Harness Buddy! When I was pregnant I managed to forget to put the Harness Buddy in the car, what a big mistake! Chester was running all over the place and I just could not run after him (I would liken my look that day to a penguin trying to run!). Needless to say I never made that mistake again! Now that Millie is here its fab because I can just pop it on my wrist and I know that Chester is by mine and the pushchairs side at all times! Or if Chester is in a particularly helpful mood he will want to push the pushchair himself, like this: 

On the other hand another feature I love about the Harness Buddy is that you can unclip the 'tail' so that if you walked to the play area or somewhere that you no longer needed to keep hold of your child you can simply un clip and let the child go off and play with the 'monkey' still on there back. It is just as easy to clip back on when its time to go home! 

The Harness buddy also has a little zip up pocket on the back, which gives Chester somewhere to store his 'treasure' which currently is a crayon, a toy car and 2p!! 

There are 20 Harness buddys to choose from all lovely and many suitable for both boys and girls you can check them out on the website or on there Facebook page. 

I know that we will be using Harness buddys for a long time yet, the only problem I have is which one to choose for Millie........

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

What to do with baby?!

My eldest Chester is 3 and over the last few days he has been ill with tonsillitis so we have been pretty housebound. Today while feeding my youngest Millie who is 10 weeks old I started to think to myself, what do I do with Millie. Now I don't mean how do I care for her, I mean how should I be interacting and playing with her?! She cant sit up yet, she cant (well almost) grip things in her hands, she sleeps a lot and then drinks a lot of milk!!

This might sound like a silly question seeing as I am already a mum but my baby brain has seriously kicked in this time round!

Normally when Chester is at nursery school (3 times a week) me and Millie go to baby groups, I have been doing this for the last 7 weeks. I may have had a c section but I have a severe inability to sit still haha! So at the baby groups the mummy's chat and the baby's get to know each other and look around at there surroundings. Some baby groups are things like baby massage so that is more one on one.
But the last few days because we have been house bound poor Millie has been missing her groups and interaction with others. I seem to just be going round in circles putting her in her bouncing chair, then on her musical playmat and then onto her Hello Kitty play mat, then cuddles, then milk...... then round to the beginning again!

Obviously I have talked and sung to her, read  her stories with her brother. But what SHOULD I be doing with her? I mean is this enough to stimulate her brain. More to the point why cant I remember what I did when Chester was this little?!!

Some of the mums I meet say they never even left the house at 10 weeks, so that makes me think what did THEY do with there babies at that time? Now I am certainly not saying its wrong to stay at home with a 10 week old baby, in fact those Mummy's are probably the ones that can teach me the most!

As a Mummy I am always going to worry about what I do and the choices I make, but I am just curious to know what other Mummies are up to?!

So who has the answers for me?! What SHOULD I be doing to keep my baby entertained?!

What do you look for in a new pram.... link up

So as many of you know I am currently testing the Graco Symbio B along with 4 other parents. Over the last few weeks I have certainly given the Symbio B a run for its money! Yesterday I worked out that I had pushed it for 7 miles by not using my car for the day (unfortunately due to my windscreen cracking, but thats another story!) One of the parents Ghostwritermummy suggested we all give our opinion on 5 things that she finds important when looking for a pushchair. I think its a fab idea so below are the 5 things Ghostwritermummy finds important when looking for a pushchair (actually I would agree that they are my 5 things to look for too!) along with how I think the Symbio b compares.

  • Ease of use: Having a C section (10 weeks ago) a light weight pushchair is essential to me, so I was delighted when I realised that the Symbio B only weighs 7.5kg! I have found it easy to push, easy to put up/down and easy to steer! Lifting it in and out of my car is very easy and I have not felt any strain on my tummy whilst lifting it. I love that the seat unit comes away from the frame to put down as this makes it even lighter. The break is on the side of the handle which I love, the other feature which makes it easy to use it the handle that can be moved from front to back at the click of a button! So overal I am giving Ease of use a 10/10!! (check out my video on how to put the Symbio B up/down using just one hand (almost!): Putting up/down the Symbio B

  • Looks: I have the Symbio B in Chilli Red and I love the colour! It is suitable for both boys and girls and I think it makes it stand out from the crowd a bit! I have to say that it does have a chunky look about it BUT it certainly does not feel chunky when I have been squeezing it down small shop aisles! Overall I think that it has a very modern and up to date look about it. So I am going to give looks a 9/10!

  • Practicality: We are currently using it in lye flat baby mode and Millie seems very snug and comfy in it. It is very long so should last in that position until she is 6 months, the only down side is that I would of liked  some sort of strap for the baby mode as I feel she has got nothing to keep her secure if needed. I have used the Symbio B over lots of terrains as I can not sit still we have been out most weekends as a familiy! It has handled very well, last weekend we went to a county park where I pushed the Symbio B over grass, stones, bark, mud and up hills. It was easy to push over all of these terrains and  coped very well! I have a Ford Focus and have had no probs fitting the Symbio B in the boot as well as my shopping! The shopping basket is something I am still not sure on. On the one hand we went to the zoo a couple of weeks ago and was able to fit a picnic for 3 into it, but on the other hand when I have gone out with the rain cover in the shopping basket I have not been able to fit anything else in. So I think it depends on the season as to whether it is big enough or not! Taking all my points in to consideration I am going to give practicality a 8 and half/10 

  • Customer Service: I have to say that I have not really had to be in contact with customer service that much with Graco as have had no problems, the handbook is easy to use/follow, there website has lots of informative videos/info on it. On their Facebook and Twitter pages they are very quick to answer any queries and are always starting discussions and showing how to use/useful tips about there products. So I am going to give them a 10/10

  • Price: I have left this one until last as I wanted to justify in my other points first as to why I think this is worth its money. It is easy to put up/down, easy to steer/push/use, comes in lovely colours, looks stylish and most importantly it is comfy for my baby. Unfortunately I am not someone who can afford to spend a small fortune on a pushchair and the Symbio B would probably be right at the top of my budget BUT in my opinion after the testing I have done over the last few weeks I think it is totally worth every penny. Its RRP is £474.99 but I have seen it for less when company's have had special offers so its worth a look round. I believe that it will last right up until Millie is out of the pushchair at roughly age 3 so if you think of it as roughly £3 a week for your child to be comfy and you to have a pushchair that is easy to use, its a bargain! I am going to give price a 10/10

So my overall score out of 50 for the Symbio B is 47and a half! I really have fallen in love with the Graco Symbio B and can honestly say it is the best pushchair that I have ever owned!  

To read what the others testers have said about these 5 points please check out Ghostwrittermummy's link up post here: Link up

Monday, 19 March 2012

Millie and her MAM!!!

Millie is only 10 weeks old, but she already is a massive fan of milk lol!! She is such a chunky monkey and I love it (heehee). Whilst feeding her earlier I was thinking to myself I cant imagine what the early baby days would of been like if I hadn't discovered MAM anti colic self sterilising bottles! So with that in mind I thought I would blog about them and how good I feel they have been so far.....

When I had Chester 3 1/2 years ago we didnt use MAM (in fact I hadn't heard of them) we used another make of baby bottles and at the time they were great, we had no problems and Chester loved them! So when I discovered I was pregnant with Millie I automatically assumed I would use the same brand of bottles for her! That was until I got tickets to go to the earls court baby show 3 months before she was born! Whilst searching offers on the baby show website I discovered MAM were giving away one of there small anti colic bottles, so I printed of my voucher and off to the show we (me and my mum) went!

When I got to the stand a lovely lady was giving demos on how to use these anti colic self sterilising bottles, the idea is that if you are out and about you can sterilise the bottle/s easily without the need of a steriliser. All you have to do is put 20ml of water in the base of the bottles (which is easy to measure as the lid has the measurement marked out for you) put the teat section in the base screw on the middle and place the lid on the top. Then all you do is microwave for 3 mins! Most hotels and restaurants have microwaves now days so this would be easy to do.

At first I thought surely this is too good to be true?! So we took our free bottle and went away to think about it. After a good few hours browsing the rest of the show I decided to go back and grill the lady some more about the bottles, and I am so glad that I did! Being a Mummy that is always on the go the idea of not having to worry about getting home to sterilise the bottles was a big swaying point for me. So between us (and a phone call to the hubbie!) we decided to purchase the starter pack (which consisted of  2x 130ml bottles, 2x 160ml bottles, 4x 260ml bodys, 4 sealing discs, 1 soft spout, 1 mam handle and 1 mam soother).

The starter pack was green and I have since purchased purple and pink bottles as well, what is great (although not for me, it turns out I have severe colour OCD!) is that you can mix and match the base/body/teat tops so if you wanted a multi coloured bottle you can! Also meaning that once your baby is too big for the 130ml bottles you can use the base and the teats for the 160ml/260ml bottles. I have found this to be great for two reasons. One for storage, the bottles that you are not using there bodys can be stacked on top of one and other taking up little room in my cupboard. And two because if I want Millie to revert back to the small bottles to have a drink of water it is easy just to sterilise and swap the bottoms etc onto the smaller bodied bottles.

I have found them easy to clean, as you can see from the pic above because you take the bottle apart from the bottom/top it is easy to get a bottle brush in and clean all areas of the bottle. So I feel satisfied that the bottle is free from any milk residue. 
We recently went on a weekend away to visit family and really found the 'self sterilising' useful. We already had a car full of Chester and Millie's stuff so not having to take the big bulky steriliser was great! Then it took less than 10 mins to wash and sterilise the bottles when we needed too. Leaving us with more time to have fun and catch up with our family. 
Another thing that I am happy with is that (touch wood) so far Millie has not suffered with Colic. The bottles have a unique vented base, meaning she does not swallow any air when drinking. When you have a baby like Millie who drinks (sorry gulps) the milk like it is going to run out that is a real bonus!

Now I am not saying these are 100% perfect for everyone, in fact I recently had to contact customer services about one of my 16 (excessive I know but I love them!) bottles as it was leaking (It was a faulty one off as none of the others have leaked), but apart from that one bottle we really get on well with them. The customer service I received was great, that is something I always look out for with baby products. Good customer service is essential when it concerns products that affect my children!

So if you are a busy Mummy on the go and are looking for baby bottles please give MAM some consideration! 

Check them out on Facebook, they are really friendly and are always happy to answer questions and all the mums that use that page are really friendly too, always giving there honest advice!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

2 Weeks on and a trip to the zoo....

Hi everyone! We have had a pretty hectic couple of weeks here (no surprise's there lol). So thought I would quickly blog about how well we are getting on with the Graco Symbio B!

After having a c section 5 weeks before its arrival I was very excited to see how I would cope with it, and its fair to say I have 'coped' very well!! It is a very light weight pushchair and the fact that you take the seat unit off to fold it down makes it even more lighter to lift! What I have come to find over the last couple of weeks is how easy it is to steer (I am used to having a two handled pushchair) I am able to use one hand so I have the other hand free to hold my 3year olds hand. Although he prefers to hold onto the frame of the pushchair, which suits me fine as I know he is very close! I was at first a bit dubious about only having one handle bar, I mean where exactly was I going to hang all of my shopping?! But I have come to like the fact I can only hang my changing bag on the bar, it turns out that the basket underneath is big enough for a couple of bags or our picnic for the zoo! So that solves that problem!

It has been so much easier picking up Chester from Nursery School, it now does not matter if I have to park 3 quarters of the way down the hill because it takes me less than a minute to put the pushchair up and put Millie in it! Then I have to push it up the hill which is something I would usually dread but it is so light you barely notice you are pushing!

The Symbio B has already been to baby massage with us, it was easy to manuvre iuto the Childrens centre and was not to bulky that I could not leave in the corridor! This week it will be going to Mummy and me class and in a couple of weeks we will be starting post natal group so really looking forward to that! Meeting new mummies to chat with!

My husband got his first chance having 'a go' with the pushchair the Saturday before last when we went on a family day out to a local farm (Kent Life). He really rated it especially as the height of the handle bar was perfect for him! Another feature he loved was the brake on the handle bar (I am also a big fan of this as I do not need to worry about accidently knocking it!)

This weekend just gone I went to Visit family in Southampton with my parents. We managed to fit the Symbio B and all our luggage for the weekend in the boot of a focus which is pretty impressive! On the way down there we stopped at Marwell Zoo and I am so glad we did!! What a fantastic day out! It has got such a wide variety of animals to see, Chester's attention span lasted all day! Anyone who knows him will know this is a miracle.
We had the pleasure of meeting the baby giraffe Ruby she was stunning....

 we got to see two leamur's holding hands (Chester has not stopped talking about this!)...

 The play areas were great for Chester to let off some steam while we had a rest from all the walking, I really do not know where he gets his energy from because its not me!
The Symbio B handled the day really well, we managed to fut our picnic underneath in the basket with room to spare for an extra blanket for Millie in case she got cold (very unlikely as she was snuggled so well in the Symbio B).

My mum got to have 'a go' and she loved it! I was amazed as she has a bad back but said it was really easy for her to push!

What I have also noticed and love is the Hood of the pushchair is large and goes down to almost the middle bar. So this is very handy not only to keep the wind/sun out but it is dark enough to get Millie to sleep! There have been times where she has needed a nap but there has been too much going on around her so I have pulled the hood over and she has fallen asleep really easily.

I have uploaded this video to Youtube of the 2 week so far story so please take a look if you haven't already!

Well thats all from my Symbio B adventures for now but please look out for my video which I will be uploading at the weekend showing how easy it is to put up/down!