Saturday, 26 March 2016

Diono's new Radian 5 car seat...

My eldest Charlie is a tall chap for his age. One of the tallest in his class and the tallest among my NCT group we found ourselves having to change Charlie from his beloved Maxi Cosi Axiss of which we have two (one for each car) into the next stage car seat.

We visited all the usual haunts to look and compare and finally settled on the Maxi Cosi Rodi Air Protect. It's a great seat but after months of use it was always a niggle that Charlie would often fall asleep and slump forward so to speak. I just could not get my head around why the next stage car seats could not harness children till they were older?

I was invited by Diono to the launch of their new car seat - the Radian 5. It's one of the first 0, 0+,1, 2 - but (here's the exciting bit!) you can secure your child in a 5 point harness till 25kg (roughly 7 years of age - hoorah!!)

Diono Radian 5

Naturally, I was delighted when we got sent the Radian 5 to try out for Charlie. Now, it's worth noting that with the Radian 5 you only ever need to buy ONE car seat as this will sort you out from birth to seven years of age.

Now, you are probably questioning why I am interested in this car seat for Charlie and not Hector? Well the simple reason is that I have two perfectly good and SAFE car seats that I used with Charlie that they still sell that I will be using with Hector. The only reason I am considering this one is that I as a parent would prefer Charlie to be harnessed for longer and the majority of car seats for his age do not offer this facility.

The Radian 5 (right) is slightly slimmer than the Britax (left)

Charlie fell asleep quite comfortably and safely in the Radian 5 - please note I had loosened the strap as we were home and he was asleep in the drive at this moment. 

With extended weight capacity, the Radian 5 is the only car seat which can face both ways and take a newborn baby as well as an older child in a 5 point harness up to 25kg. The cost is RRP £295.00 and this would have saved me a lot of money in the long run as I have now spent in excess of £1000 on bases, first, second and stage three car seats. The unique steel frame means the Radian 5 is super strong to resist crash forces and offer the most amount of protection.  Metal reinforcements and the best EPP foam combine the provide the ultimate side protection, whilst the straight side walls ensure your child stays contained in the seat during a crash. The narrow design (as you can see from the top photo) takes up less space in the back because it's not necessary to have thick plastic sidewalls. 

Charlie loves sitting in it and I think he instinctively feels safer being harnessed in too. It's not Isofix because the Isofix system does not support harness weight up to 25kg so in this instance a seat belt fitting offers maximum protection. The chair is easily transportable making it easy to transport from car to car and also with washable fabric seats if your little darling chooses to vomit or spill a drink it's not the end of the world as the covers can be popped in the washing machine!

Now at £295.00 one might say that I am being over the top purchasing a car seat that I am only using now and not had use of any of the newborn benefits etc. Whilst I can see that view point, I want Charlie harnessed for longer so therefore this teamed with the fact that I will be using this till Charlie is 7 years of age, but I know what you mean why spend all the money? Actually it's only costing me £8.19 per month which is less than a large coffee and a slice of cake would cost me. 

We've been really impressed by the Diono Radian 5 and given it's the first car seat I've tried by Diono the feel, the quality and the design have all stood out for us. But, the main pull and the winning factor for me is that with the Radian 5 I am able to have Charlie harnessed in for another 3 years which is what really makes it stands out. 

Thanks to our friends at Diono for letting us try the new Radian 5!

Nathalie x


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Supporting Local Businesses - The A3 Baby Barn...

Being a local girl, I am a huge fan of supporting local businesses and nothing pleases me more than when local run businesses do well. Being an estate agent in a small independent I know only too well the importance of supporting small local businesses.

This week I am putting the spotlight on the a special not so little parenting gem (but one you need to know if you are a parent or expectant parent) - let me introduce you to the A3 Baby Barn!

I came across the A3 Baby Barn from a bit of searching on Instagram. I was looking at purchasing a Tripp Trapp high chair and one of the girls at the A3 Baby Barn - Louise, saw my request and introduced me to another highchair that was designed by the same designer Peter Opsvik - The Nomi High Chair. To be honest, upon first glance I was not convinced but Louise advised I come and see Amanda and the team and take a look for myself.

I agreed to pop down to the shop last week where I could have a look at it for myself. I made my way from Cobham to the outskirts of Claygate to Surbiton Golf Club where the A3 Baby Barn is nestled all the way in the middle of the course.

My first impressions were what a pretty setting. A couple of horses were being groomed and there was loads of parking. Louise, came out to greet me and helped me inside as on that day I had my 6 month old niece in tow too.

Upon entering the store I was shocked at how big it was and also how many brands of prams and travel systems they stocked! The place was also a feast on the eyes from toys, to car seats, prams to cots, this what seemed like small barn was a tardis. I mean how cool that you can actually try out loads of prams on different terrains from instore to outside and even wheel the prams to your car to ensure that they actually fit in your boot before you commit to purchase, this would have saved me a fortune in years gone by!

Charlie and his new friends at the A3 Baby Barn!

I had a good nose around the shop and managed to see the high chair that I came to see. Now, for high chairs' I will be honest this is not the best place to go as they don't hide the fact that high chairs are their four-tea but what they did say was that they LOVED the design and concept of the Nomi and chose to stock just this one high chair. 

Louise, the owners daughter explained how her daughter Olive had one and loved it but I was concerned that Hector being the chunky monkey that he is would be too squidged in it so she whipped it out and insisted that I try him in it. I prised him away from his friends where the girls in the shop had laid out a play mat and toys for him to amuse himself with so that I could browse in peace and in he sat - proud as punch and not at all squidge - so I was sold and ordered one there and then!

What I loved about the girls at the A3 Baby Barn is they know their stuff. I mean really know their stuff. The majority of them are mums and what they choose to stock in store are items that believe make those early years of parenthood that little bit easier. 

I asked them their thoughts on second stage car seats as it had been four years since I last purchased a second stage car seat and now with the laws changing to say I was confused was an understatement. I was filled in with a head full of knowledge and am delighted that in a couple of weeks I will be bringing you a blog piece about what you really need to know about buying a second stage car seat with the help from Amanda and Sam at the A3 Baby Barn.

Amanda (on the left) has owned the A3 Baby Barn for 21 years - so they must be doing something right!

So, in summary if you are an expectant first or second time mum or just a parent who needs a new car seat, a pram, a baby carrier or even just dummies, before you march to John Lewis (and please don't get me wrong - I LOVE John Lewis with a passion) why not pop down and have a gander in the A3 Baby Barn and see what they have to offer - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. 

Proud to be supporting local businesses, 

Nathalie x


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Our NHS - "You Don't Know What You've Got 'Til It's Gone"

As a second time parent to say I am more relaxed is an understatement. I'm more chilled, less fussed and certainly less fazed about the issues that as a first time parent would send me to the edge with worry and add to the sleepless nights. 

Well, last Friday night at 9.30pm we were alerted to a sound coming from Hector's bedroom that alarmed us to say the least. He had been in bed a couple of hours and when we settled him to sleep there was nothing to cause us concern about his behaviour. There was a ghastly sound coming from his bedroom. I went in to find my little baby gasping for breathe. His little face had a panicked look about it and between breathes was this terrible barking cough. I'll admit, I panicked. I was scared. He wouldn't stop coughing and his little chest was clearly struggling to take in air. We had to dial 999. In my 31 years of existence I'd never called 999 before. I explained the situation to the friendly call handler who informed us that an ambulance and trained paramedics were enroute. 

The paramedics arrived in quick time and within moments of them arriving in our front room they diagnosed Hector's cough and breathing as croup. Croup is an infection usually seen in late fall and winter — that causes inflammation and swelling in the airways just below the vocal cords. This makes breathing difficult and results in a harsh, barking cough that sounds (alarmingly!) like a seal , whilst Hector's thankfully was not a severe case it was one that was bad enough that it would require us to go straight to hospital for some steroids to open his airwaves. 

We were promptly whisked off to St. Peter's Hospital in Chertsey where we received excellent paediatric care.

In the ambulance I spoke to the lady paramedic who had helped comfort me in my moment of sheer panic, by this time it was 10.45pm. Her shift finished at 10. Her 12 hour shift finished 45 minutes ago and yet she was still with us and chances are wouldn't be home till gone midnight. We chatted whilst she monitored Hector and she told me that when she is on a 12 hour shift she is entitled to a 30 minute break UNPAID. Today she didn't get that 30 minute break as an emergency came in. I told her how I felt silly for calling 999 for croup and she proceeded to tell me that that day she had a call out to an elderly gentleman who claimed that he couldn't walk. When she arrived at the said gentleman's house he was able bodied enough to walk to the door to let her in. There was no emergency. His justification in calling 999 was so that they could pass him his cup of tea and his medication. To say I was stunned was an understatement. 

We got to the hospital where his medication was administered quickly and shortly after whilst being continually checked I had a peaceful sleeping baby again. The thing with croup is it can come on so quickly and the paramedics put my mind at rest that calling them really was the best thing to have done. 

So, today as the junior doctors in England strike I am struggling to see is the point that Jeremy Hunt is trying to make exactly? Yes I get that cutbacks need to be made, money doesn't grow on trees and I know that there is not an endless pot of money but with regards to the "increased numbers of deaths at the weekend debate" I would like to hear if anyone has ever needed emergency medical care but hasn't received it because someone was on their break or their shift was just about to finish? I very much doubt anyone ever has.

When we got discharged from St. Peter's we left with the necessary medicine and no bill and a baby who within 12 hours had made a full recovery. 

It was an eye opening sight and it got me thinking, are there actually any other services in any other walk of life where where you can walk in, get what you need fixed, walk out and not pay? I'm struggling to think.

These people, from the paramedics, to the pediatricians, to the surgeons to the secretaries, if we take away these people who commit their life to medicine and making people better, who miss their children's birthdays, who put off starting their own family as they don't have the time to think about it and those who sacrifice their own lives for other then we have no NHS.

The NHS is not a right it's a privilege and if we aren't careful we are going to lose these vital people that make it work. The NHS, it's bloody marvelous in fact and I really do not think that we give enough credit to everyone that makes the NHS what it really is, simply THE best service in the whole world, because what's that old saying? Oh yes, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone".

I want to say a huge thanks to the paramedics and Paediatric department at St Peter's, Chertsey, especially Paediatrician Amy who was just lovely, who helped us out, put our mind at rest and kept a jolly composition even at 2.30 am and to the paramedics, I hope you didn't get home too late.

Lots of love,

This Surrey Mummy x

Monday, 7 March 2016

The day I broke the baby's car seat and realised I would never be mother of the bride...

So, it's been a regular Monday here. I've made dinner and been to Slimming World (got my 1.5 stone award today, yah!) oh except the small fact that I won't be having any more kids has been set in stone formerly this evening.

This morning, I broke my baby's car seat. Me being a little big heavy handed led to its first class ticket to the on site skip. 

This £125 car seat has served me well. It brought my babies home safely from hospital, it's kept them safe on numerous journeys and school runs, and now that this car seat has let's just see "seen better days" it's symbolised something so much bigger. 

In the grand scheme of things it's something very little. My baby boy has now moved to his big boy car seat, the car seat that will (I hope) keep him safe for the next three years. Now that we don't have the car seat, the three bases were now surplus to requirements so it was off to Gumtree for them. Within minutes all three bases were snapped up, off to happy new families starting their new chapters. For me, it's another chapter over and I should be happy but I can't help but feel a little bit sad. 

The car seat breaking and the sale of the three bases symbolised for me the pretty big fact that the two children that sat in that car seat will be my only two and the heart wrenching realisation that I will never have a girl. I will never be mother of the bride. I won't have pink plastic crap replacing one day the primary coloured crap that fills my lounge. I won't be able to debate whether to buy tights with squirrels on the toes or to buy or not to buy the pretty cloud cardigan I spied at M&S today.

It's for this that I am sad. Actually I'm pretty gutted about it. 

I love my boys with ALL of my heart and I am so very very grateful for them but if I'm really honest with myself I would love another one, I would also love a girl, as a mum of two boys any woman in my situation I am sure could relate, and I know Tom would too (the third child bit!) but the small issue of our financial situation puts a halt to this. If money wasn't an object a third child wouldn't even be questioned, it would be a given.

Many people would say "you just cope" or "you just muddle along", "go on, have another one" but for us that third baby would mean compromises on more than one level that we just cannot justify. This is where our sensible heads completely take over. I would have to leave my job that I LOVE. Soaring childcare costs means that if we had a third it would also signal the end to my career, part of what defines me as me. Our lifestyle would change massively. As a family of four we are now able to enjoy a Summer holiday, a trip or two to our beloved St. Ives as well as being able to give our children the childhood we want them to have. As much as I would love a third, I'm not prepared to have my boys miss out just because I long for a third child or I want a girl, even though I know they would make marvellous big brothers. 

It's amazing how that small act of my car seat breaking and selling my bases has evoked such strong emotions. Mad really. 

I guess in a weird round about way I am mourning a child or a little girl that I never had. Completely and utterly ridiculous I know. 

I know a lot of people will think my views are selfish I have two healthy boys what can she possible whinge about? Hey, there are women out there who cannot have one child let alone two and I TOTALLY get that and they are entitled to feel like that but for me I'm still trying to get my head around that this is it. It's now time to get over it. Hey, I hadn't even thought about it properly until today!

My boys are my world. This weekend they've been incredible. They are the most loving and caring boys any mother could wish for and their relationship between one another is one that cannot be broken. They are such fun. They are great fun. Everyday there is something new and what I know for sure is that I am LOVING every single minute. 

Being a mum to boys is phenomenal. Without them I would not know what I know today. I'm very knowledgeable in dinosaurs for example. Bogies, boogers, farts, stink pops and stinky poos no longer bother me and I've loved to appreciate a gift of a bogie from a small toddler that of one of sheer affection. I've learnt that little pops of pink throughout my home are like massive progress. My boys are fab and I am one very very lucky mum and I shall be sad no more. 

So, as I say goodbye to that car seat I say "Hello" and embrace the next set of adventures that will accompany our family in our new old car seat and who knows one day I might get a granddaughter and then I really will be able to go wild with pink! 

Lots of love,

Nathalie X 


Friday, 4 March 2016

The Easter Bunny is on his way....

With less than three weeks until one of my favourite weekends of all time. Easter weekend. Four whole glorious chocolate, family, hot cross bun and roast lamb filled days.

I love the fact that all the shops are closed on Easter Sunday. It means there really is no Sunday like it. The clocks go back this weekend too which signals longer brighter days too - sheer bliss.

The Easter breakfast table from two Easters back when we spent the weekend at my sister in law's in Kent

I grew up in a Scandinavian household with a German grandmother who always decorates her house beautifully with imported Easter trinkets and every Easter Friday growing up my auntie Fiona (who incidentally is only eleven years older than me and is more like a sister) would decorate delicate eggs for the table display. Now, as a parent this is a seasonal tradition that I would like to hand down to my children and Fiona, ALWAYS goes to town with her decorations over the Easter weekend and it really adds a special something to an already really special weekend.

A typical Easter table decorated by my auntie

These chicks are so cute and can be reused year after year

Last week on my day off whilst Hector slept I dug out the "Spring" box. This is a big plastic box filled with all manner of Spring and Easter paraphernalia including hundreds of plastic eggs and ropey yet adorable fluffy looking chickens.

I dug out one of my most versatile decorations - my white twig tree. This is one I got from Hobbycraft a couple of years ago and is used for hanging Christmas decorations as well as Spring decorations. Every year I buy a new packet of hanging decorations to add to it.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be looking for more decorations to add to my Spring box and will keep you updated on how you too can bring some spring love into your home all in time for Easter. 

Lots of love

Nathalie x

Blogger Template Created by pipdig