One of my favourite things to do when I was younger was to get the big photo albums down from the shelf in my mum and dad’s spare room and look through all the old pictures from when I was little. Of course as a child born in the 70s there aren’t that many photos from my childhood and each album would probably cover a few years. Things are very different now and since the boys were born I have taken literally tens of thousands of my pictures but they are nearly all on my computer and hardly ever get looked at. Read more
At three and a half Toby has had his fair share of wheeled transport. We got him a SmarTrike 4 in 1 trike for his first birthday, a sit on scooter for his second birthday, a balance bike for his third birthday… If I’m honest the second two haven’t seen much use – although Toby was full of enthusiasm he never really lasted more than ten minutes before he got fed up. I’ve seen lots of other kids his age who seem to be pros on a scooter so when we were given the chance to try the T1 scooter from SmarTrike I thought it would be a great opportunity for him to give it a try.
The added bonus of the T1 scooter is that is actually suitable from 15 months. With the addition of seat and adjustable handlebars it can be used as a ride on for younger children before removing the seat for scooting when your child is bigger. The scooter has two front wheels making it very stable for beginners too. Read more
I have a confession to make – I have never seen an episode of Peppa Pig, and neither have my kids. Not in my presence anyway, but at about 20 months Toby did start calling all pigs Peppa so I’m guessing she might have made an appearance at nursery somewhere along the line. Anyway, when I was asked if we would like to review some Peppa Pig wooden toys from Milly & Flynn my initial reaction was to say no. But then I had a look at the range and realised they were just some really nice wooden toys that happened to have Peppa Pig on them and there was really no reason for the boys not to play with them.
Milly & Flynn have a variety of different Peppa Pig toys; we were sent the Magnetic Play Set (RRP £12), the Peppa Pig Push-Along (RRP £15) and the Skittles Set (RRP £20). My theory was that Toby and Gabe would both be able to play with the skittles, the magnetic play set would be great for Toby and newly-walking Gabe would enjoy the push-along. Of course things don’t always work out the way you plan!
We set up the skittles but I think Toby managed one shot before Gabe decided it was much more fun to knock them over himself.
He then carried them off to the other side of the room and that was the end of that game! Gabe has had a lot of fun with the skittles though. He likes banging them together, or practising standing them up – which is trickier than it sounds when you’re only 15 months old.
The Magnetic Play Set is fab for Toby. He’s only just started to make up stories when he’s playing, and this double sided board with lots of pieces really helps him use his imagination. Here he was telling me a story about the purple dinosaur who was playing football in the park.
There are plenty of magnetic pieces to put on the board – enough that Toby and Gabe even managed to play together for a little bit without arguing!
The last item we were sent was the Peppa Pig Push-Along. Gabe has only just started walking, so walking and pushing is a skill he is still working on but he definitely enjoys it and the push-along is just the right size for him.
All the wooden toys that we have been trying out are lovely – they are really well made, and sturdy enough to cope with my not so gentle boys playing with them. There are more wooden toys available from Milly & Flynn – in the Peppa Pig range and they also have a Dear Zoo range.
I’m sure we’ll get plenty of use out of our new Peppa Pig toys for months, and even years to come. And you never know, one of these days Gabe might even let us have a proper game of skittles!!
**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.
Toby loves books and we have loads but there are always room for some more on our shelves so we were very happy to receive some new ones from new pre-school retailer Milly & Flynn.
We were sent four books from their range; Bigger and Bigger Wheels; My Astronaut Adventure; Little Sliders Shapes and Flippety Flaps In the Garden.
I loved how all the books have something a bit different about them. Toby loved peeking through the holes in My Astronaut Adventure and sliding the tabs in the Shapes book.
The Flippety Flaps book is a perfect size for Gabe’s little hands and is robust enough to withstand his sometimes less than gentle play!
Both boys love the Bigger and Bigger Wheels book – Toby really enjoyed the story and looking at all the pictures. I think Gabe mostly just enjoyed the different sized pages but at that age anything that is easy for them to handle and turn the pages is great.
There are lots of different titles available from the same ranges as the ones we received, as well as lots of others. Milly & Flynn also sell a range of toys and games – I’ve got my eye on some of the jigsaws for Toby for Christmas!
**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.
Gabe’s weaning journey so far has been quite up and down. Anytime he’s ill or teething he seems to go off his food but I can usually tempt him with a puree pouch when he doesn’t want anything else. So when the lovely people at Piccolo got in touch to ask if we wanted to try some of their new baby food pouches we were happy to give them a try.
Piccolo products are produced with the idea of Mediterranean Goodness at heart. The flavours of the pouches reflect that too, for example; apple and apricot with a pinch of cinnamon, peach and apple with a hint of basil, spring greens with a hint of mint or squash, red pepper and chickpea with a hint of rosemary to name a few.
Gabe was certainly keen to get his hands on the pouches when they first arrived!
Gabe is at an age now where he can suck straight from the pouch which is really handy, especially when we’re out and about. It’s hard to tell really but he does seem to like most of the Piccolo pouches. The only thing I will say is that these pouches are quite runny compared to some of the other brands we use. I think this took Gabe by surprise a bit when he first tried them because he managed to squeeze it all over himself!
To be honest Gabe is a little bit past the puree stage but these Piccolo pouches have been great for adding to Weetabix and porridge and we found a great use for them with Toby.
One pouch is the perfect amount to fill our ice lolly mould. Toby loves them and thinks he’s getting a big treat and I’m happy knowing everything he’s eating is good for him!
At the moment Piccolo only produce Stage 1 baby food pouches but they are always developing new products. They are releasing some new flavours soon too which we were also sent to try; mango, pear & kale with a dash of yogurt; banana, strawberry & peach with a hint of mint; sweet potato, beetroot, apple & pear and raspberry & apple with soaked oats. Some of the flavours may seem a bit out there to us as adults but Gabe seems to like them!
Piccolo pouches are currently available from Amazon, Ocado, Booths, Waitrose and a few other retailers. You can find out where to buy them near you on the Piccolo website here.
**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own.
When we started looking for a high chair for Toby when he was weaning we got lots of recommendations for a very cheap one from a well known Swedish furniture store. It served Toby well until he moved into a booster seat at the table when he was nearly two. We used the same high chair with Gabe for the first month or so of weaning until, as part of our role as Babymoov ambassadors, we were sent the Babymoov Light Wood High Chair and matching Comfort Cushion to try out.
I’ll be honest here – coming in at ten times the cost of our old high chair I did wonder if the Babymoov high chair would be worth the extra money. But I have to say it does have loads of great features that really do make it stand out from other high chairs on the market.
As the name would suggest the Babymoov high chair is made from wood and it is really solidly built. It is very sturdy and I’ve never felt worried that Gabe could tip it, whether he’s sat in it or using it to pull himself onto his feet! The slight downside to this is that at 6.5 kg the chair is quite heavy – I wouldn’t want to have to move it around a lot.
What makes the Babymoov Light Wood High Chair different to a lot of other high chairs on the market, and one reason I think the £140 price tag is justified, is that with a movable seat and foot rest, and a removable tray this chair can adapt to be used from around 6 months right up until your child is big enough to use a standard chair, and beyond.
Now I know there are a few other wooden high chairs on the market that are adaptable to be used by both babies, toddlers and children but the thing that makes this Babymoov high chair unique is that it also be folded so it is almost flat. For me this is a massive plus point over our previous high chair, and other chairs of this type. It’s really easy to collapse as well; just release the crotch bar, press two buttons on either side to lower the tray then squeeze the clip on the back of the seat to fold it. Opening it back up is even easier and can be pretty much done one-handed.
The high chair is very easy to wipe clean and I do like that the lip on the edge of the tray doesn’t go right round to the back which makes it even easier to wipe crumbs and other bits off into your hand. The only thing to watch out for when cleaning is that crumbs (and Cheerios in our case) can collect just at the base of the crotch bar and they’re easy to miss when cleaning, especially when you’ve got the cushion over the top.
Looks wise the Babymoov Light Wood high chair is definitely more stylish than our old high chair. I like the dark and light grey of the chair – it’s going to fit in really well when we get our new kitchen soon.
If you are looking for a wooden high chair that will adapt with your child and last them right from weaning through to childhood then this Babymoov high chair is definitely one to consider.
**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product as part of my role as a Babymoov ambassador. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
As part of our role as #stresslessweaning ambassadors for Babymoov we were sent this Lovely Bear Lunch Set. There’s a divided plate, bowl, cup and a sweet little fork and spoon. Everything in the is melamine so very hard wearing (but remember melamine can’t go in the microwave) and features a cute bear character.
As you can see, Gabe isn’t quite ready for using plates, bowls and cups yet.
At the moment we either spoon feed him, or he eats straight from his highchair tray. If I give him a bowl or plate he just tips everything out and it gives him something else to bang on the table!
He does like having something to hold while he’s being fed though and the spoon from the lunch set is the perfect size for his little hands.
Although Gabe isn’t quite ready to use the Babymoov Lunch Set just yet I’m sure he’ll like it when he’s a bit older. I think it would make a great first birthday present – the set comes in four different designs and in a lovely presentation box too. I know Toby got far more toys than he could ever play with for his first birthday so something like this lunch set would make a fab alternative.
The Babymoov Lovely Bear Lunch Set has an RRP of £29.99
**Disclosure: I was sent the featured products in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Before Toby was born I bought the changing bag that matched our travel system. It was fab and has seen great service over the last three years, but with two kids in cloth nappies and all the other paraphernalia that they need it was becoming a bit of a squash trying to fit everything in. I’d been browsing changing bags for ages but couldn’t find one that ticked all the boxes. I was then asked if I would like to try one of the new changing bags from the toTs range by smarTrike and the Voyage changing bag looked like it would be perfect for everything we needed.
For a start, this bag is massive! I mean seriously huge. I can easily fit cloth nappies and wipes for both boys, a spare outfit each, snacks, drinks, plus all the other random bits and pieces that seem to live in my changing bag; suncream, calpol, tissues, odd gloves (yep, still in there in the middle of summer).
There are plenty of pockets inside the bag to give it a bit of organisation and I used the pocket on the front for my phone and purse. All the toTs changing bags come with a separate insulated bottle holder which has been great for keeping Gabe’s bottle warm when we go out.
I really like that both the side pockets are also insulated and big enough for Toby’s water bottle when we’re out and about.
The Voyage also comes with an extra inner bag which can be removed or clipped in to the main bag. I think if you were using disposable nappies it would be perfect for popping a few nappies and wipes in so you only needed to take the smaller bag when doing a change. For us it’s not quite big enough to work with cloth nappies but happily it is absolutely the perfect size for my laptop so I’ve been using it for that instead!
It doesn’t stop there though – this bag is packed with fantastic features. I love how it can be carried over your shoulder but also has rucksack straps which can be hidden in the back of the bag when you aren’t using them. When I’m trying to hold Gabe in one arm, and Toby’s hand with the other, the rucksack straps have been brilliant. And it’s great for babywearing too…
The bag also comes with buggy straps to hang it from your buggy handle, although I seemed to have packed ours somewhere when I was tidying the house for estate agent pictures and now I can’t find them – luckily our pushchair has a huge basket so the bag will fit in there! There are little things too; a key clip in the front pocket for example. I’ve never bothered using these before but it’s actually brilliant and saves me rooting around in the bottom of the bag for my car keys every time we’re out.
There is also the fact that the bag is made from water repellent fabric – great for when you get caught in a shower but also means it’s wipe clean too.
And lastly I love the fact that this bag doesn’t really look like a changing bag. I even used it as an overnight bag when I went to Blog On last month and it had plenty of space for everything I needed for two nights away. I can see me getting plenty of use out of the toTs Voyage bag even when I don’t need a changing bag anymore.
The only thing that lets this bag down for me is the changing mat that was included – it was just a very small plastic mat. Looking at the pictures on the Smyths Toys website though it does look this has been updated since I got my bag and is now backed with the same fabric as the bag.
If you don’t need a changing bag quite as big as this one then there are two others in the toTs range too which all have the same great features. There is also bedding, muslins and gorgeous comforters in the range too. Gabe loves his and it’s so soft!
The toTs by smarTrike Voyage changing bag in Dark Grey Mélange has an RRP of £74.99
**Disclosure: I was sent the featured product in return for this review. All opinions are my own.
**This post contains affiliate links
When I found out I was pregnant with Gabe one of the first things I started thinking about was that it would be the perfect opportunity to get a new pushchair. With Toby just turned two when his brother was born I knew we would probably need a double pushchair for longer trips but there would be times when I would only need to push one of the boys. When Cosatto got in touch and asked if I would like to review their new To & Fro 2 in 1 reversible stroller it sounded like it would be a great solution.
So firstly, a bit of information about the To & Fro…
- it’s an umbrella fold stroller suitable from birth
- can be parent or world facing (from birth in both modes)
- adjustable recline
- UPF 50+ sunshade hood with a unique pull through design and different pattern for each mode
- storage pocket and viewing window in hood (world facing mode only)
- converts to a travel system with the addition of the Hold car seat (sold separately) and included adaptors
- comes with reversible foot muff, head hugger, chest pads and rain cover
- auto-lock and free-standing when folded
- height-adjustable handles
- lockable front swivel wheels and all round suspension
- cup holder included
- comes in three colourways – Pitter Patter, Firebird and Charleston
- RRP £290
We were sent the To & Fro in Pitter Patter, and the Hold car seat to go with it. I was quite heavily pregnant when I got it out of the box and I have to admit it wasn’t quite as simple to set up as some other pushchairs I’ve used. Getting the hood on was particularly tricky and actually for the first few times we used it it would pop off whenever the stroller was folded. It turned out I just hadn’t pushed it on far enough to the clip on the frame but it wasn’t the easiest.
The hood is a very clever design though – and it is easy to pull it through to switch it from parent to world facing. I like that the pattern is different on either side too.
A parent facing stroller isn’t something I have seen before and Gabe was certainly comfortable in the seat with the included head hugger. In parent facing mode you do have to use the foot muff (or at least the bottom part of it) as it holds a wedge cushion to make the seat flat. Because of his reflux Gabe never liked being laid completely flat so it is good that in parent facing mode you can incline the seat slightly.
There are a couple of niggles in parent facing mode – firstly, the basket becomes almost completely inaccessible. Cosatto have added zips at the corners of the mesh so you can sort of post a few things in but it really does make it pretty unusable.
The other thing is that the hood doesn’t quite come down over the back of the seat fully leaving a little gap, which would be OK with a bigger child but with a newborn you don’t really want the wind whistling in through the gap.
The stroller can be folded with the seat facing either way but as I mentioned you have to use the foot muff in parent facing mode but I then found the To & Fro very difficult to fold and it ends up being really quite big – as you can see it took up quite a lot of our (messy!) car boot.
Another unique feature for an umbrella fold stroller is that the To & Fro can also be used as a travel system by attaching the Cosatto Hold car seat. You have to put the stroller in world facing mode, then the seat easily attaches to the included adapators.
There is a really nifty feature with the adaptors – when they are not in use you can leave them on the stroller but the spin around so they are neatly tucked out of the way.
In world facing mode the To & Fro performs as you would expect from most umbrella fold strollers. There is a lot of head room – even for my very tall two year old but the seat doesn’t seem very deep which might be a bit of an issue for bigger children.
Gabe was very comfy in there though and now he’s a bit bigger he liked being able to sit up more and see what was going on.
And he was so comfy he fell asleep!
In world facing mode it is also much easier to access the basket but it is still pretty small (as is the norm on umbrella fold strollers). We managed to fit a couple of bottles of milk in there though so it’s fine for popping to the shop.
There’s also a pocket on the back of the hood – perfect for your purse and keys, or for keeping little gloves in. The pocket is hidden under the flap for the viewing window and held closed with a magnet. The viewing window is a great addition – the To & Fro has a really big hood, like all Cosatto pushchairs which is brilliant, but it does make it harder to pop your head round the side to have a look at your wee one so the viewing window solves that problem.
So, in both parent facing and world facing modes the Cosatto To & Fro is a fab stroller, it folds easily, has a very effective clip to keep it closed and a handy carrying handle. I did find it needs to be on a completely level surface for the free-standing foot to work though.
But… I found switching between the two modes was a complete faff! If you set the seat up in world facing mode you have to have the footmuff on and an extra piece of head pad that slots inside the seat back to make it more supportive. To switch to world facing mode, you have to remove the footmuff, which requires unclipping and reclipping the straps, take out the head pad, undo some Velcro, flip the seat back up, then pull the hood through so it’s facing the other way. If you also wanted to adjust the straps – if like me you had been using the stroller parent facing for baby then wanted to use it world facing for a toddler then you also have to re-thread the straps (each seat had its own harness but they are connected at the shoulder so you can’t have them at different heights) which is really fiddly. This is the tab that needs to be pushed through the slot, followed by the clip at the end of the strap and it’s quite a tight fit.
There are lots of great things about the To & Fro – it is really smooth to push and is a comfortable ride with suspension on all four wheels. It’s also easy to push one handed, which is really important if you’ve also got a wayward toddler!
It has height adjustable handles, and comes with the footmuff, head hugger, raincover, car seat adaptors and even a cup holder included! Of course it also comes in Cosatto’s signature bright and bold prints which are just fabulous.
We were also sent the Hold car seat in the same print as our pushchair, along with the isofix base. The base was easy to fit in the car, with handy indicators showing when it is fitted correctly. Gabe seemed very comfortable in the car seat too – we used the infant insert when he was smaller and then more recently have been able to use it without. There is a bit of a knack to tightening the straps – at first I thought I was being a bit daft but I asked a mum at one of my baby groups who had the same seat and she had had the same trouble. It’s a bit hard to describe but you need to pull the straps through from the back of the seat a bit before pulling the strap to tighten them. Other than that small issue it is a great seat and I love that it comes with its own raincover too.
So, overall, for me and my particular situation the Cosatto To & Fro just doesn’t quite deliver. With a baby and a toddler, I was hoping for a stroller I could use with both of them and quickly switch between the two. Even now Gabe is big enough to be world facing I still find it’s a real palaver to change the straps so Toby can use the stroller too. Regularly switching between the two modes, or even adjusting the height of the straps is too much of a faff for me to use the To & Fro with both kids.
However, if you just wanted to use the stroller for one child, to have them parent facing for the first six months or so then change to world facing then the To & Fro could be a great solution for you.
**Disclosure: We were sent the To & Fro in Pitter Patter, a Hold car seat and the compatible isofix base. in return for this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.