Review: Baby Chic Designs accessories

When Georgiana joined the clan at the end of 2012 we had to make a few changes to our arsenal of baby gear. Francesca got some upgrades in the form of a new bed, an awesome car seat and lots of ‘big girl’ toys. One of the things I wasn’t massively pleased about changing was our pushchair. We had just got to the point where we rarely used our umbrella pushchair and I wasn’t looking forward to forking out for a new tandem beast to accommodate both our girls.

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We ended up buying a Phil & Teds Classic Sport with the second seat attachment and it’s actually served us very well, although it’s the ugliest things I’ve ever had the misfortune to spend over £500 on! So when a lovely company contacted me recently and offered us a little something to ‘pimp our ride’, I obviously didn’t delay in saying ‘yes please’! I am usually quite dubious of 100% positive reviews but I promise you I have been totally honest, I just think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever been sent!

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The company that came to my pushchair style rescue was Baby Chic Designs, a company set up by Australian Mama Lauren Southerner. She kindly sent us a beautiful Univeral Pram Liner in her blue bird design, and as an extra bonus we were treated to a set of Stroller Hooks too!

First and foremost the pram liner was sent in the most beautiful packaging, I wouldn’t hesitate to send this to a friend as a unique new baby gift. The liner is 100% cotton and extremely soft to the touch, it’s also double sided so if the printed design isn’t to your liking (or could do with a clean!) then you can just flip it over to the insanely gorgeous velour side. We had an incident with an exploding packet of rice cakes in the pushchair recently, it was very easy to just pull the liner out of the seat and shake everything away before putting it back in all whilst holding Georgiana on my hip.

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The best thing about the liner is that it’s universal… Yup, it fits any 3 or 5 point safety harness! I have used it in a Group1 carseat (after a particular bad car sickness episode), umbrella pushchair, both seats of the tandem pushchair and a Mama’s and Papa’s travel system. It has fit each and every seat easily and without any fuss. The velcro keeps everything in place within the seat and the beautiful ribbons tie on to the bars of a pushchair or top of a carseat in order to hold it upright. It is honestly one of the most versatile baby items I’ve owned.

The stroller hooks are also the best I’ve tried. We’ve had soft plastic hooks, lockable karabiners and net bags that attach straight to the pushchair, all of them have had there faults though. We are yet to find a problem with our Baby Chic ones, they easily attach to the padded handle on our Phil & Teds and don’t slip around unlike some, they are fully adjustable so fit any one bar handle. I would love to see them produce something similar for two handle pushchair!

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All in all I am so happy to of found Baby Chic designs, presents for all my pregnant friends are sorted forever! Some of the other products I’ve got my eye on are the bumper bar and strap covers – nothing I love more than matching accessories! I only wish I’d found them sooner as I’m in love with their Infant Head Hugger… So cute and useful.

Have a look at Baby Chic Designs, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you Baby Chic Designs for sending us the products mentioned in this review… as per usual I didn’t recieve payment and all opinions are 100% my own.

A Fresh Start

What with Spring officially ‘springing’ this past week or so (and having a huge problem with my old server) I thought it was a good time to give the blog a clean up! You’ll notice that I currently have no posts, this will change over the next few days as I pull content over from the old blog. Fingers crossed you’re all seeing this on your RSS readers and in your inboxes!

Let me know if you spy any glitches (virtual mini eggs to anyone who spots a big one!), I’m hoping that this new setting will mean a better time for everyone! Expect better, more frequent posts and lots of lovely photos!

Thanks for bearing with me the last week or so, normal service is slowly resuming…

Make Time For Tea

A few weekends ago me, Francesca, my Mum and youngest sister took a trip down to Somerset to attend a tea party my Auntie was throwing in aid of The Eve Appeal – a woman’s cancer charity.

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Cancer is something that really rocked our family a few years ago… Last Thursday my Nanny would of celebrated her 67th birthday if it wasn’t for cancer. At the end of February 2010 she was diagnosed, and despite being the most lively, energetic and fun woman I’ve ever known she lost her battle on May 3rd 2010. In those 3 months and beyond our whole family was crushed by cancer. She was young and it just didn’t make sense. Cancer is bizarre, we all hear the statistics but you never believe it will affect you. I desperately want my girls to grow up in a world where cancer isn’t something you have to accept, I want them to know it’s something we can beat.

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We ate cake, chatted and held a raffle, and most importantly raised £150 for The Eve Appeal. Wether you take a selfie, throw a tea party or just drop the change from the bottom of your bag in to a donation tin I urge you to donate to whichever cancer charity you see fit.

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Review: Personalised Rock-A-Bye Baby Blanket

Growing up I really didn’t like my name, these days I love it but I used to get so frustrated when no one could pronounce it or they’d spell it wrong (I’m Bryony – not Briany, Brioni, Bryanee or Briney!). My biggest niggle about my name always came to light when I was in a gift shop… Bizarre I know! I would get so jealous of all the other kids finding their names, pretty lame I know but seriously important when you’re 7 years old!

When it came to naming the girls I knew I wanted them to be the only one with that name in there class at school but I was also very conscious of not giving them a really unusual name that might cause them grief at some point. Francesca is a fairly popular name and every time I walk past a rack of personalised pens or headbands I notice her name amongst the others. Georgiana is definitely a little less common and I’ve also realised that even ‘Georgie’ doesn’t crop up much. So when we were offered a personalised a Rock-a-bye baby blanket for Georgiana I jumped at the chance.

Rock-a-Bye baby blankets offers something a little different to most personalisation services… All their blankets are 100% natural cotton and the appliqué design uses Liberty fabric – gorgeous! We went for the Pink Elephant design and had it personalised with Georgiana’s name, date and time of birth.

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The first thing that struck me about the blanket was just how soft it is. It is gorgeously snugly and I would of loved to of had it when she was a newborn. The blanket is very generously sized and fits nearly in G’s cot bed, it’ San ideal weight and thickness for the summer or perfect to layer up on cooler nights. I also reckon it will be perfect for long car journeys as it’s long enough to cover her up.

The appliqué design is beautiful and the personalisation is faultless. It is so lovely to have something with an unusual name on that she can keep forever.

The blanket is priced at £45, I think it’s a fair price for the high end fabric used and the quality craftsmanship in the stitching. If you’re looking to buy someone a gift before their baby is born then you can get an plain version for £39.

Disclaimer: we were sent this product free of charge in exchange for a review.

Recipe: Not-Roast Chicken Spaghetti

 

Without a doubt once a week I get a hankering for a roast chicken in the middle of the week, I never seem to get time to actually do one though. I think the thing that puts me off is having to carve the chicken, I admit that I’m crap at getting meat off the carcus so things like chicken breast are always a winner. At Waitrose last week they had an insane deal on chicken drumsticks so I thought I’d give them a whirl. I still really fancied that roast chicken flavour though and needed something easy to serve it with so Not Roast Chicken Spaghetti was born. The best thing about it is there’s no need to even put the oven on!

imageIngredients:

  • 14 Chicken Drumsticks
  • Olive Oil
  • Large knob of butter
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Tsp of dried parsley
  • Tsp of dried rosemary
  • Enough spaghetti for 4

Method:

  • Heat up a large casserole dish and add a glug of oil and the butter.
  • Crushed the garlic cloves in and add the drumsticks along with a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Fry the drumsticks until they’re brown all over, add the herbs and mix everything round.
  • Turn the heat right down and cover with the lid for 20-30 minutes, regularly turn the drumsticks.
  • Whilst the drumsticks are cooking cook the spaghetti to your liking.
  • Double check that the chicken is cooked through and then drain your spaghetti.
  • Turn the chicken off and move all the drumsticks to a plate. Add the spaghetti to the casserole dish and make sure all the spaghetti is covered in everything left in the pan.
  • Remove all the meat from the bones and add it back in to the casserole dish.
  • Give everything a good mix and taadaa not roast chicken spaghetti!

I’d love to hear if you make this and how it goes!

 

Pancake Possibilities with Warburtons

I am a big fan of any day that’s focus is food. Christmas day (aka meat!) is the obvious one, with Easter (aka chocolate!) as a close runner-up but my personal favorite is the most humble of the lot… Shrove Tuesday (aka pancakes!). This year I was more than happy to receive a special gift to help us get started from the lovely people at Warburtons. We were sent over a #pancakepossibilities box with all that we needed to make pancake day as fun and delicious as possible.

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So last Sunday morning the four of us sat down to a special breakfast all in the name of ‘test running’ pancake day. We had everything the box offered up (marmite, mint, chilli jam, chocolate, pistachios, pancetta, granola, banana and feta to name a few) plus our own favorites that I thought might help the littles along.

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Francesca got the ball rolling with a peanut butter smeared pancake topped with hundreds and thousands… usually I wouldn’t exactly encourage a sugar rush pre 8am but this was in the name of science! My favourite was whipped cream with pistachios. Dean favoured chilli jam and chocoalte, while Georgiana stuck with a classic mushy banana. Once we’d all had a round of ‘normal’ pancakes I let Frankie run wild with the toppings which resulted in some ‘interesting’ combinations… mint, coconut, bananas and grape anyone?

pancake day warburtons 02 pancake day warburtons 03I am now really looking forward to the day itself, we are all ready to tackle another mound of pancakes tomorrow and feel like we’ve undergone the ultimate preparation for it! What’s your families weird pancake combos? Does anyone dare try one of Warburton’s #pancakepossibilities?

 

 

2014 Instagrammed

At the beginning of the year I wrote about having a calm 2014 and so far I think we are doing pretty well. Two months in and we are yet to have a crisis, although discovering our 2 year old sofa was slowly dying on us came close. We have even managed to do some pretty big jobs in our house (with lots of help from my Dad!) like finally take down our broken, dirty wooden blinds and replace them with beautiful double layered curtains in the living room, and update the shoddym dangerous looking lights in our kitchen. Very exciting!

We’ve got a really busy month coming up in March; birthday parties, a weekend away for me and Frankie, and the girls first holiday without us. I thought it’d be a good idea to have something happy to look at when things are getting a bit hectic… so here is our first 2 months of 2014!

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Frankie and Dean painting / Georgie giggles at music club / Midway through taking up the new curtains / Brand new hair for me! / Prosecco fuelled gossiping with a lovely friend / My girls having a cuddle

Georgie’s crazy Bam Bam hair / More smiles from the smallest / Popcorn and tea / Homemade bird feeders courtesy of Fran / Gingerbread men / Valentine’s Day crafting

Cuddles with my best girls / Preschool run funtimes / My Frankiepants Dancing Queen / Wine wine wine / A familiar sight – G’s #floordinner / Umm more wine!

More dancing! / Finally blue skies / Small people dinner parties / Mantle piece / Helping a friend / Poached eggs heaven

Lunch date in a tearoom / Sausage sandwiches / Pretty lunchtimes / Bathtime thug kids / Francesca’s beautiful writing / Banana cake

Baking butterscotch cupcakes / Changing bag essentials / My favorite people / Morning Francesca cuddles / A chilly preschool run / My gorgeous posing big girl

Roll on the next 10 months!

 

The Carseat Conundrum

When Georgiana was born I really wanted to make sure that Francesca still felt special. I was very aware that her sister would be getting lots of new things like clothes and toys, and some of her special ‘old things’ like her pushchair and cot. Some things I knew Francesca would give away easily, for example she was beyond excited about her new bed so didn’t think twice about her cot being moved in to Georgie’s nursery.

Some things I had a feeling would be harder though. And when the time to came to move Georgiana from a Group 0 carseat up to a Group 1 the first flashes of jealousy started to peak through. Frankie treats her carseat like a throne and has always been very vocal about the fact that hers is for a ‘big girl’ and Georgie’s is for a baby. We decided that maybe this new purchase should be for Francesca so we started a search for something she would adore.

I was immediately drawn to the really bright colours of Cosatto and Francesca quickly fell in to love with them too. Then we had to decide between a Group 1 and a Group 123. Looking back now I wish we’d bought a the latter so that Frankie could stay in this carseat once she turns 4 but at the time we weren’t thinking past the next few months.

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The Group1 that we ended up with is fantastic though. So so so spacious, Frankie will be really comfy in there right up until 4. The pattern is gorgeous and as it has a removable seat pad it doesn’t matter if there are any spillages. It was also really easy to set up. We’ve had a bad experience in the past with an IMPOSSIBLE to install carseat which resulted in lots of frustrated tears and a long call to customer services. This took less than 10 minutes to put in the first time, and now we’ve had it for a while I can switch it between cars in minutes. The biggest bonus was that Argos had an amazing deal on so we ended up with a stunning, functional carseat for less than £100!

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Our Cosatto Moova is now Francesca’s highlight of any car journey – you can see this carseat in another colourway here I am so tempted to get Georgiana that one so they both have gorgeous colourful seats! And I’m sure we’ll be getting the next stage from them too.

Does your little one treat their carseat or pushchair like a throne too? Francesca is of the opinion that she’s a Princess riding in a carriage in hers ;)

Post in association with Argos.

 

My bestest kitchen bits

When we bought our pile of bricks just over 2 years ago we had BIG plans. And to be fair we’ve (read: Dean) executed some of the big’uns when we first moved in and before I fell pregnant with Georgiana. The biggest job – our kitchen – has been started and then stopped twice now though. Money, a pregnancy that wouldn’t stick to the book and time all have got in the way of a brand new kitchen.

Recently I’ve realised that even though the actual kitchen isn’t my favorite thing in the house (or even in the top 10) some of the little bits are lovely. So here’s an self indulgent mini tour of my bestest kitchen bits…

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The humongous light pendants are actually a very recent development thanks to my amazing Dad (who also made us the wooden board up there in the pictures as well). We finally got rid of some very dodgy wire rope lights that attracted endless dust and looked like an electrical fault waiting to happen, and replaced them with these beauties.

We still have a long list of things to make improvements on in this kitchen but for now I’ll be enjoying all the little things that are just right with it!

 

Being a ‘Younger Mum’

When I fell pregnant with Francesca back in 2010 it was a pretty massive shock. We were doing all the ‘right’ things in order for us to not get pregnant and we’d only been together for 9 months. The day that I peed on a stick and my life changed forever was a weird one. My thoughts and feelings were firstly practical, then emotional and lastly purely hysterical which all culminated in a very tearful announcement of my pregnancy to a slightly bemused (but supportive) Dean.

One of the few things that didn’t whizz through my head that day was my age. At the time I was 21, by the time Francesca would arrive I’d be 22. My Mum and Dad got pregnant with me (their eldest) when my Mum was 19 – in fact by the time my Mum was 23 they’d had all 3 of her children, it just didn’t occur to me that having a child in the first few years of my twenties would be seen as anything but entirely normal. Dean is 11 years older than me, so at the time was 32 – a pretty average age to have children – most of our friends were a similar age to him so we were often surrounded by kids at BBQs and in pub gardens. It was only around halfway through my pregnancy that I realised that apart from 1 person I didn’t have any of my ‘own’ friends to talk to about all this weird stuff that was happening to my body and hormones!

I remember sitting in antenatal class and looking around a room of women who were all around a decade older than me, for the first time it hit me that maybe making friends wasn’t going to be as easy as I first thought. I actually did actively try to get along with people but I found that I had very little in common with most other Mums-to-be at these groups. I guess it didn’t help that pregnancy wasn’t something we had tried for and I still was getting my head around the idea. All these women were just overjoyed to be pregnant and could talk about nipple cream and epidurals all day whereas I still wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of being someones Mama.

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Once I had Francesca I assumed I would just slot in to baby groups and all the confidence I had pre-baby would come rushing back. Where we lived didn’t really have many groups, I would walk to one held in a local school hall, sit in the corner with my baby that refused to breatfeed and feel embarrassed. Embarrassed that they all seemed to know how to talk to other Mums, embarrassed that I was scooping formula while they were offering nipple, embarrassed that I didn’t have a wedding ring on, embarrassed that I looked about 15 and embarrassed that I’d walk there with my overpriced pushchair instead of arriving by car. I was desperate to wear a giant badge that stated facts about me – ‘I own a house! I’m in a long term relationship! My boyfriend is an accountant! I know that breast is best but this bloody baby doesn’t like my boobs!!!!!’.

I’m sure if I’d been 5 or 10 years older I’d of waltzed in there with my ringless finger and Tommee Tippee bottles, and just started chatting to the nearest Mum who looked as lonely as me – but I had so many preconceptions in my own of what people would think of me that I just didn’t give anyone a chance to prove me wrong!

Don’t get me wrong I’ve had a couple of weird instances where my age has definitely sparked a conversation that I’d prefer not to have. I’ve been horribly patronised on countless occasions, I even had one other Mum tell me I would regret not ‘living my youth for myself’ and I’ve had a raised eyebrow or two when I’ve admitted the age gap in my relationship.

What I’ve really learnt over the past (nearly 4!) years is that, as a parent, if you’re out to make please everyone else happy with your parenting you really can’t win. As a younger Mum it is often assumed that you’ve had your baby so that you can gain benefits and get a house. As a normal aged Mum you can often be lumped with the ‘boring’ label by your friends who have decided that kids aren’t for them yet. As an older Mum you can often be called selfish. In reality 99% of Mamas out there are amazing – we do everything we can for our babies and make decisions as best we can.

I really feel I have settled in to the role of Mama to Frankie and Georgie recently, we’re happy and I guess that’s all the matters.