21.08

Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-11

Of all the Big Purchases that are necessitated by the impending arrival of a baby, none seem quite so daunting as the carseat-pushchair combo. Between the terminology that you feel you need a dictionary to decipher (i-size, travel system, ISOfix, 3 vs. 5 point harnesses…), the endless options available each offering a myriad of differing functions, and the fact that these will likely be some of the most expensive purchases you’ll make for your little one, it’s hard to know where to look first!

Now, as you know, throughout this year I’m working with Graco, and so am lucky enough to be getting to road test a selection from their range of thoughtfully-designed, stylish products. Ace, for a Mum who a mere year ago was totally flummoxed by the whole carseat-pushchair shopping experience and had more than one (largely hormonal, let’s be honest) meltdown over the issue!

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Let’s talk car seats, first…

Now, it might just be that Ottilie isn’t the greatest road trip lover in the world (you know the old ‘put baby in the car to get them to sleep’ advice? Yeah, that was never our game!!), but she hated the car seat we’d bought for her as a newborn from the very first time we put her in it at 36 hours old, and has done pretty much ever since. Compared with many of the other car seats I saw my friends using, in ours Ottilie seemed so scrunched up and uncomfy. In fact, we’ve been so unhappy with it that we’d already decided to replace it with a different model for baby number #2! (<< not a pregnancy announcement, FYI…)

Enter, the Graco Snugride! I didn’t think I could ever get excited about a car seat, and yet here we are! This genius bit of baby kit is iSize compliant (meaning it meets the government regulations for rear facing car seats), and unlike the 9-12 month lifespan of most other car seats designed to take a newborn baby, this one goes from birth to 18 months!

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The seat glides through seven different reclining settings on its ISOfix base, meaning that you can move your baby into a more upright position as they grow and want to see more of the world around them. Ottilie seems so happy to be sitting in a higher, more upright position, and the five point harness feels snug and secure when she’s strapped in. Top marks all round!

Oh, and Jason was dead impressed by the in-built kick board, designed to save your car’s seats from little dirty shoes!

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^^ Ottilie didn’t want to be kissed just at this moment. Can you tell? ;) ^^

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Over the weekend Jason, Ottie and I whizzed out to a local village to give the Graco Evo XT a road test, and it didn’t disappoint.

It’s smooth as butter to push (my TOP criteria- whilst doing the patented ParentMultiTaskJuggle you so often wind up pushing buggies one-handed and so steerability is king!!), collapses with just one simple movement, and we need to talk about that huge old shopping basket. It’s seriously dreamy, I mean, we could fit both dogs in there I swear.

I’ve learnt since Ottilie was born that having a decent sized shopping basket on your pushchair is vital- I mean, who knew carrying nappies, wipes, multiple outfits for both you and baby, a spare raincoat and sunhat, suntan lotion and an umbrella, several toys, 3 tupperware boxes full of food, a pack of breadsticks, the library books you should’ve returned three weeks ago, and the parcel you keep meaning to drop into the post office would take up a lot of space? And so having space to cart around all those essentials in the base of your pushchair rather than trying to cram them all pell-mell into your change bag is a total game-changer!!

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I’ve also been so impressed with how durable the material covers of the Evo are- with our pushchairs having to share car boot-space with two (often very muddy) spaniels, we’re big fans of anything wipe clean! And with the ClickConnect feature, allowing you to clip the Snugride carseat straight onto the chassis without needing to fit any extra adaptors, it really is so easy to use.

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The Snugride car seat, ISOfix base, and Evo XT pushchair together come in at around the £800 mark, which I think is a complete steal for such carefully designed, adaptable products that’ve been created with longevity of use in mind. In short, I’m a total convert and am so glad to be able to recommend them!

~ This post is part of my ongoing collaboration with Graco. Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible! ~

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11.06

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Over the last few months of motherhood, I’ve realised how important the design, functionality and practicality of the products we use are to helping streamline the sometimes mammoth task that is getting out and about with a baby. And so from now until the end of this year, I’m excited to say that I’ll be working with Graco to test out and share my thoughts on some of their newest products!

We’ll be trying out some of Graco’s range of pushchairs and carseats that’ll grow with Ottilie over the coming months, and were lucky enough to preview a few of the products at the Generation Graco event at Legoland a couple of weekends ago (the photo above is Ottilie testing out the Featherweight stroller, the lightest in the UK!).

I hope the reviews prove useful for any new parents or parents to be who, like us, found the world of travel systems and car seats a total headache to navigate!

~

Thanks for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie, and thanks to Graco for inviting us to take part in the project!

 

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25.03

Cider-with-Rosie-Snuzpod-5

I’ve been meaning to write a review of the Snuzpod for…six months now.

I know. Prompt.

BUT, the timing of this post is really quite apt, because after half a year of daily use we’ve just stopped putting Ottilie down to bed in our room at night in the Snuzpod, and so these photos kind of mark the end of an era!

To put it simply, the Snuzpod has been one of our absolute hero products since having Ottilie. It’s a 3-in-1 system, acting as a co-sleeper (with a genius drop down side that allows you to have baby at arm’s reach with the cot right up alongside your bed), a freestanding cot, and with a lift-off bassinet for transportable napping!

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I loved how having Ottilie sleep in the Snuzpod meant that I would wake as soon as she began to stir, and I’d be then able to either whip her straight out and feed her, or resettle her with some shushing (the former happened waaaaay more than the latter!!) before she fully woke and cried. And being able to stay cosy and warm underneath my duvet during all those hours sat up in bed feeding made being awake at 2am (and 3.30am, and 5am…) so much more bearable!

I have such vivid memories of sitting up for what felt like half the night in those early days, with teeny tiny Ottilie bundled up in her swaddle blanket resting on a pillow across my lap, watching Netflix on silent on my phone to keep myself awake whilst I fed. Funny how time makes memories of the exhaustion fade and the nostalgia (read: broodiness…) grow stronger, isn’t it? :)

Being so close to Ottilie also helped ease my new Mama anxiety! I LOVED being so close to hear that I could hear her gentle breathing, and reach over and check she wasn’t too warm or cold and adjust any blankets if necessary with ease.

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I’ve also been so pleased with what a beautiful addition the Snuzpod makes as part of our bedroom- it’s minimal and sleek but also so classic in its design, and the colour choices are fab too.

There’s space underneath to store extra blankets and bedding, and the rails on the end are great for keeping a muslin or two within easy reach for clearing up any post-feed sick! I was always so dreadful though at having a muslin to hand right when I needed it, and still feel like I’m not a ‘real’ Mum because I never wandered around with one flung over my shoulder!!

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Oh, and I should say too that we used the Snuzpod in conjunction with that other holy grail of baby sleep products, the Sleepyhead! I’d have taken photos of them together, but Ottilie was napping inside the Sleepyhead in her cot in the nursery whilst I shot these photos!

The Snuzpod was kindly gifted to us as a press sample (I wasn’t under any obligation to review it, but have done because, as I said, it’s been one of our favourite baby products!), and is available to buy from John Lewis.

p.s. Now, this is maybe an irrelevant P.S but I think it would have helped me in the fretful early days of motherhood whilst looking at reviews like this online…my bedroom did not, I repeat NOT look this clean, tidy, and Pinterest-able when Ottilie was tiny. In fact, it doesn’t usually look like this now. My bedside table pre-baby was home to a few bottles of perfume, a lip balm, a jewellery box, and a posh candle. Now, you’ll more likely find it littered with tubes of Bonjela (in the early days it would’ve been Infacol and Lansinoh nipple cream), dummies, at least three glasses of water (never remember to take them down in the morning) and the trusty baby monitor. That bedspread has been put on the bed on maybe two or three occasions since Ottie was born, and the dusting sometimes doesn’t get done for longer than is really acceptable. Just want to be real here, because parenthood is a tough gig at times without worrying about why you can’t keep your home looking as pristine as the homes you see in pictures online! :)

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02.08

Cider-with-Rosie-The-Ivy-Chelsea-Garden-4 Cider-with-Rosie-The-Ivy-Chelsea-Garden

R O L L I N G   B A C K   T H E   Y E A R S

Back when Jason and I first met and started dating, I was just getting ready to move to London and start studying ballet and contemporary dance full time.

Jason would come up to visit me at the weekends and the odd midweek day too, and so we spent those early days and weeks of our relationship getting to know one another whilst wandering through the British Museum, and through the galleries of the Tate, and over lingering lunches and late, post-dance class dinners.

We look back on those early days so fondly, remembering how young and carefree and fresh we were, with so many amazing adventures ahead of us!

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We decided a few weeks back to put a date in the diary for a day spent in London, to spend some quality time just the two of us before the baby arrives in the next five or so weeks.

It turned out to be one of my favourite date-days we’ve ever had together!

We had no plan at all other than to head to South Kensington to be within reach of the museums, and so spent the train journey into London deliberating over where to head for lunch.

Inspiration came via Google Maps, which I was scouring whilst looking for best route to take from South Ken station over to Jojo Maman Bebe (my spiritual home these days, of course…). I spotted The Ivy Chelsea Garden on the map, immediately launched into a sales pitch to Jason about how great I’d heard the food is and how it’s such a beautiful restaurant, and that was it! Sold!

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The restaurant is totally gorgeous, with a bright and airy botanical feel to it.

We started with a couple of mocktails in a colour palette that blended in with our surroundings just perfectly- a peachy-hued iced tea for Jason, and an apple and elderflower spritz for me. Both delicious!

Though if I’m being honest, were I not pregnant I’d totally have been drinking something spiked with copious amounts of gin, which would’ve been just that little bit better ;)

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And when the food arrived, it more than lived up to expectation.

I ordered the roasted butternut squash with herbed grains and crumbled feta (praise be for waiting staff who can tell you straight off with 100% confidence which cheeses on the menu are and aren’t pasteurised! Made this pregnant woman a happy one!), whilst Jason went for the classic chicken and chips.

Oh, and a portion of the truffled arancini to share, which strangely enough tasted 1000x more delicious when they were almost cold at the end of the meal, than they did piping hot at the start!

We both spent the meal waxing lyrical to one another about how delicious each of our dishes were, and trying to keep from eating too fast so as to leave room for dessert…
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Which, as you can see, we managed! Troopers, aren’t we?

Now, I need to take a moment to discuss this dessert with you, because it’s truly one of the most fantastic I’ve ever eaten.

Hot, salted caramel sauce is poured over a chocolate bombe set in a sea of milk foam, and as the bombe melts, it reveals inside a scoop of the most delicious vanilla ice-cream and popping honeycomb pieces.

It is, in short, DIVINE. I haven’t stopped thinking about it all week since we went!

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After a spot of shopping in the sunshine along the King’s Road, and a much-needed walk back up to South Kensington, we headed to our second and final stop for the day- the Natural History Museum!

Neither Jason or I had been there in years, and had the best time reliving our childhood visits whilst wandering through the dinosaur exhibits (still as magical as ever!), and marvelling at just HOW huge that blue whale model really is.

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After we’d spent a couple of hours exploring the museum, we headed back out into the sunshine to soak up the last of the day’s rays over coffee and juice. 

It really was the nicest…and the whole time all we could think of was that the next time we head into London to spend the day together, there’ll be three of us instead of two! 

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Posted in DATE, JASON, LONDON, RESTAURANT, REVIEW

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