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!

Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-6 Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review

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!

Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-10

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!

Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-5 Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-4 Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-12 Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-3 Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-8

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

Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-9 Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-14

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!!

Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-2

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.

Cider-with-Rosie-Graco-Snugride-Evo-review-13

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! ~

0 Comments
Posted in BABY, PARENTING, REVIEW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

17.08

Cider-with-Rosie-Ottilie-10-things

1. Ottilie saying ‘no’ in her strong, funny, decisive little way. Though I can’t quite believe my 11 month old can tell me no quite so clearly, it does, for now, make me laugh!

2. Picking bags and bags full of blackberries from the park just a 2 minute walk from our house. I’ve got enough in my freezer now to make jam, and I can’t wait! Siobhan sent me a recipe for sugar-free chia seed jam that’s perfect for babies, so I’m going to give it a go.

3. The little helper who sits on my hip whilst I berry pick, and who operates a ‘ten berries for me and one for the bag’ policy ;)

4. Fresh, fragrant sweet peas on the living room coffee table.

5. Morning smoothies with banana, blueberries, greens, seeds, and some superfood powders. Feels like such a good, energising way to start the day.

6. Iced, spiced fruit buns from Marks and Spencers. I ate one to myself, alongside a cup of tea, as a reward for a day’s work whilst Ottie was with my Mum earlier this week, and it was pure heaven.

7. Shooting photos more frequently. I fell out of the habit of shooting with my big camera, and it’s been so lovely to pick it up more often lately. I feel as though I’ve lost my eye though, to a degree, and really need to do some practising!

8. Getting to the bottom of the ironing basket. A rare occurrence, let me tell you…

9. Starting to plan a little afternoon tea party for Ottie’s 1st birthday. I can’t quite believe a year has rolled around already though, my goodness!

10. An impromptu night out with Jason last weekend in Guildford. I really treasure our quality time these days as it’s such much more rare, and a simple night out with beer, pizzas, and ice-cream was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Tell me, what’s made you happy this week? :)

0 Comments
Posted in 10 THINGS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

14.08

Cider-with-Rosie-Kitchen-garden

D I G   F O R   V I C T O R Y

For pretty much my entire adult life, I’ve wanted to be good at gardening. I always loved the idea of growing my own vegetables and fruit, dreamed of being able to base my evening meal around whatever was ripe and ready to pick in the garden that day, and was so taken with the idea of being so connected to the natural environment around me.

I have the most vivid memories of growing tomatoes in a little grobag on the patio with my Grandma as a little girl, and of the smell of warm vines and earth and fish food in the greenhouse at my Nanny and Grandpa’s.

I’m not sure what exactly’s been the catalyst for this year being the year that I really got going with my garden, but something’s just clicked and now I can’t imagine life without gardening in it! It’s incredibly gratifying, therapeutic, and an amazing way to find some peace at the end of each day.

To be honest, I have an inkling that becoming a mother has something to do with my love for gardening and growing our food. I’m keen to be kinder to the environment, love knowing that the veg I feed Ottilie is organic and as fresh as it gets, and am proud to be sustaining our family in a small way. Basically, I’m a pair of linen overalls and a toe ring away from my transformation into a hippy earth mother being complete…;)

Cider-with-Rosie-kitchen-garden-5

Since sharing snippets of the progress of my little garden over the past few months I’ve had so, so many requests to put together a post about how I got started, and so, here we are! All that I’ve learnt during my first summer as a grow-your-own obsessive!

R E A D   +   R E S E A R C H

There is a plethora of information out there on getting started with growing veg, both in book form and online. One of my favourite resources has actually been Instagram- there is a whole community of gardeners who share updates from their allotments and kitchen gardens, and the tips and info I’ve picked up from their knowledge has been great! Searching through hashtags like allotment, kitchengarden, growyourown, allotmentlife, homegrown, ediblegarden, urbangardenersrepublic will bring up some really inspiring accounts!

Hollie Newton’s book ‘How to Grow’ has also become my Bible over the past few months, with both tips for growing and delicious recipes for the fruits and veg you produce. It’s so simple to follow, fun to read and full of such helpful info, I really can’t recommend it highly enough. Or the delicious recipe for runner bean kimchi that I now add to at least 60% of my meals!

I also love Charles Dowding’s YouTube channel- it’s a bit less accessible, but has amazing advice and demonstrations about a method of gardening called ‘no dig’, which basically involves using layers of compost to build the soil structure rather than doing masses of digging every year. It’s fascinating and something I’m wondering if I can replicate in the large containers I use for most of my veg growing. Alys Fowler’s series ‘The Edible Garden’ is also beautiful and so so inspiring. I watched the whole series on a website called archive dot org, which I’m not certain is entirely legit but doesn’t feel especially dodgy either, so…

Cider-with-Rosie-growing-your-own

S P A C E

I always had the impression that you needed masses of space to grow veg, but in actual fact, you can grow almost anything in pots, boxes and containers! The big black tubs you can pick up in places like B&Q are cheap and great, but I’ve also used regular terracotta pots (£4.99 from Homebase!), a big vintage metal tub I found in an antique shop (£30, and it’s massive), and wine crates from my local Majestic (a fiver a pop, money that’s donated to Majestic’s chosen charity each year)!

So far this year in containers I’ve done- potatoes, Chantenay carrots, courgettes (the bigger the better when it comes to containers for courgette, they’re monster plants and like to sprawl!), cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuces and rocket, strawberries, sugar snap peas, and Swiss chard.

If you do happen to have space for a bed, there are tutorials for building raised beds online that look so simple I feel like even I could manage it myself! We only have a small amount of actual garden bed space that gets decent sun (our garden is tiny!!) and so I’ve used most of it for runner beans and then put one large courgette plant down the far end, with a jungle of nasturtiums growing in and around them all.

Cider-with-Rosie-kitchen-garden-2 Cider-with-Rosie-kitchen-garden-6

T I M I N G   +   P L A N N I N G

Gardening and growing veg takes a fair bit of planning- who knew?! The newfound appreciation I have for my food is staggering- having seen the months of growth and nurturing that goes into every bean, carrot, potato and lettuce leaf, I could cry with guilt if I ever have to throw something in the bin that’s gone soggy in the fridge!!

Early Spring, March/April time, is the start of the ‘growing season’ (i.e. when the bulk of vegetables can be sown from seed), but even now there’s plenty to be planted up! Lettuces and leafy greens like spinach prefer cooler temperatures and will keep going through the Autumn, and look so lush and lovely in pots on a deck or patio.

To get an idea of what to plant when, back in Spring I spent time noseying through all the packets of seeds at the garden centre, reading on the back of each packet when the recommended months were for sowing, planting out and then harvesting. I’ve also got this book arriving today which supposedly is an amazing month by month guide for a year of homegrown veg!

Cider-with-Rosie-kitchen-garden-4 Cider-with-Rosie-growing-your-own-2

^^ Baby cavolo nero kale seedlings popping up! This pot had a courgette plant in it until the end of July, and once the plant finished fruiting I pulled it out, chucked in a layer of fresh compost, and sowed some kale seeds. Kicking myself for not starting the kale off in a seed tray a few weeks ago though to get going with growth before planting out!! ^^

Cider-with-Rosie-growing-your-own-3

Y O U   W I N   S O M E ,   Y O U   L O S E   S O M E

Between the slugs and the caterpillars, the blights and the mildews (who even knew those were a thing?!) it can seem like you’re destined to fail before you’ve even started! I’ve definitely had my fair share of disasters this year, but by and large, the good has more than balanced out the bad.

Some losses though, for example…

Sugar snap peas. A late frost at the start of May killed off my first sowing when they were only an inch or so high, then the caterpillars moved in when my second sowing had just begun to bear fruit and ate their way through most of the leaves, and then a random mildewy-type thing spread over all the plants! BUT, the peas themselves, though few, were insanely delicious!!

Rocket. I’ve tried twice to grow rocket this summer, and both times it started flowering and was finished before it even started. I’ve since learnt that it was just too hot for rocket this summer, and so I’m trying again with another sowing…

Swiss chard. There’s a nasty bug called a Spinach Leaf Miner fly that’s been eating my Swiss chard from the inside out, and no matter how many times I take off the affected leaves I keep finding more and more damage. I need to work out a way to net it all, even though it’s in a container…

It’s funny though, because even the things that don’t work out don’t feel like failures. It’s a learning experience, and is all part of the fun!

Cider-with-Rosie-growing-your-own-6 Cider-with-Rosie-kitchen-garden-8

Whilst I don’t feel like I’m experienced enough to share any real tips of my own, there are a few things I’ve learnt this year that’ve been so valuable…

- Nasturtiums are the ultimate sacrificial plant! I read that they’re ideal to plant alongside runner beans as they’ll entice away any caterpillars and slugs, and it’s worked a treat. They’ve been munched to within an inch of their lives in parts, still look great in their own way, and my runner beans are healthy and happy! Hooray!

- Don’t waste super sunny spots in the garden on greens. Lettuces, rocket, spinach, and Swiss chard are all perfectly happy in semi shady spots, and the sunny patches can be kept sun lovers like tomatoes and beans!

- If in doubt, buy bigger pots or containers and give your plants more space than you think they’ll need. I put two tomatoes into one not especially large terracotta pot and they’re not very happy for it! Ah well, I’ll learn for next time!

-  When you’re told to give runner beans plenty of water and to put a mulch (a.k.a. a top layer of compost/manure, etc.) around each plant, don’t ignore the advice and think you know better. I managed to bring mine back from the brink during the early summer heatwave, but nearly had a very sad bean-less season after they got so dehydrated the flowers started dropping off without ever turning to beans!

Cider-with-Rosie-kitchen-garden-3

I think this might be the most mammoth post I’ve ever written, so perhaps we’ll leave things there for today! I’d love to share more from the garden over the coming months, and would love to know if there’s anything specific you’d like to read more of.

0 Comments
Posted in COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, EATING SEASONALLY, GARDENING, KITCHEN GARDEN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

10.08

Cider-with-Rosie-newborn-tips-with-Graco

There’s no denying that the early days of motherhood can be daunting, both when you’re pregnant and are anticipating the joy and chaos to come, and then once baby has arrived and you find yourself adjusting to life as new parents! I remember wondering what exactly you *do* with a newborn, when you bring them home from hospital, and spent much of my time during my final few weeks of pregnancy trying to prepare as much as possible for the unknowns that lay ahead. And so to that end, I thought it might be fun to put together a little post of tips and tricks for managing life with a newborn, with a few of the things I was so glad I’d sorted ahead of Ottilie’s arrival, and a few great ideas I’ve picked up along the way that I’ll be remembering for next time…

O N E  :  Fill your freezer!

Like many newborns, Ottilie had a knack for waking up wanting a feed JUST as I sat down in the evening to eat my dinner. Thankfully for both Jason and I though, I’d been given the wise advice to spend my final couple of weeks of maternity leave stocking the freezer with ready to cook/reheatable meals, and so with Ottie resting on a cushion on my lap feeding away and a bowl of something hot and tasty beside me, we’d both fill our bellies at the same time. Meals you can eat one handed are ideal, so think cottage or shepherd’s pies, ragu (to be heated then spooned over pasta or jacket potatoes), mild curries, chilli con carne (I’m veggie so would make this with lentils and beans instead of mince), ratatouille, stews, and soups (reheat and serve with some potato wedges or a stack of toast!). Those little foil pots that Chinese takeaways often come in are ideal, as they can be put straight in the oven and don’t need washing up!

Cider-with-Rosie-newborn-tips-2

T W O  :  Set up feeding spots around the house.

I attended an event with Graco last week, and learned from Sarah Redshaw of BabyCentre that a newborn’s stomach is the size of a hazelnut, and by the end of their second week of life it’s expanded to the size of an egg. That explains why they want feeding around the clock, I guess! And it also explains why my abiding memory of the newborn days are the many, many hours I spent sitting and feeding!

Whether it’s by bottle or breast, feeding is time consuming and leaves you stuck in one position for often up to an hour at a time. It’s a great idea to set up a few little boxes around the house in arm’s reach of in spots you’ll likely be sat feeding, containing a bottle of water, some tasty snacks (flapjacks or granola bars are great!), the TV remote, a book, and other essential nonessentials like hairbands/lipbalm/handcream.

T H R E E  :  Practise, practise, practise with the pushchair and carseat!

I’m fairly sure every new parent has experienced the flummoxing stress that occurs when trying to assemble/disassemble a travel system in a car park, whilst a sleepsuit-clad 7lb person shrieks in the background. It becomes second nature in no time, but practise taking it apart and putting it all back together again a few times in advance to save on the early days-stress!

F O U R  :  Prepare for stain removal.

Babies poo. A lot. Usually at inconvenient times, and very often on things that are not a nappy. A tub of Vanish Oxy Action should be handed out to all parents departing hospital with a newborn, if you ask me, and plain white vests are best to buy as you can bleach them back to good as new as many times as is needed without messing up any patterns or designs.

Cider-with-Rosie-newborn-tips-1

F I V E  :  Connect with other new mothers.

There is nothing, NOTHING better than the support of other mothers. Whether you attend an antenatal course whilst pregnant, reach out to other Mums you meet who live locally to you (my neighbour has a baby 10 weeks younger than Ottilie, and we’ve been a lifeline for one another more times than I can count this year!), visit your local children’s centre, or book onto a music, baby massage, or sensory class, the chance to connect with other women experiencing the same life changing joys, highs, lows and challenges as you will be invaluable. And you’ll be so glad you got brave and got yourself and little one out of the house!

Sarah Redshaw recommends contacting your local children’s centre in advance of baby’s arrival to request a timetable, and to see if there are any waiting lists for classes you might want to add your name to. Such a great idea!

S I X  :  Wraps and slings are your new best friend.

This isn’t true for all babies of course, but many, Ottilie most certainly included, hate being put down. I’d been bought a Solly wrap as a gift when I was pregnant, and remember tying it on and putting Ottie in it for the first time when she was 5 days old, and she stopped crying at once and fell fast asleep. The proximity to your body and the secure way in which the wrap holds them to you is incredibly comforting for a baby during the fourth trimester, and having both your hands free at the same time will be a welcome relief for you! (Photos above from that very first baby-wearing occasion! Ignore how loose the wrap is, I got better at it as time went on!)

Cider-with-Rosie-newborn-tips

A few more of my favourite tips and ideas:
- Have a bottle of Infacol in the house ready for when baby comes home from hospital. A Godsend for windy newborn tummies!
- Aden + Anais swaddle blankets are expensive, but worth it. As a light blanket in warm weather or for layering during winter, as a swaddle, breastfeeding cover, or throw-over for the pram or carseat, they’re invaluable. Ours have washed so well and are in mint condition for next time around!
- Pick up as many packs of maternity pads as you think you’ll need (Boots slimline ones were best, I found!) then buy at least 3 more packs. And you’ll probably still run out.
- If your baby hates being put down in the pram or a cot, try warming it with a hot water bottle first (Lady Ottilie of Surrey demanded this for the first three weeks!) and a rolled up towel placed around the edges of the bassinet and covered over with a soft blanket can help baby feel more secure.
- You might not think you want to use a dummy, but have one to hand just in case. I was stupidly adamant we wouldn’t need one but caved after 10 days, and the blissful silence that fell as soon as Ottie took it was a complete and utter joy!

In short, Sarah’s motto, ‘Whatever your expectations are- lower them!’, is a brilliant one. Ignore anything or anyone who tells you your 8/12/20 week old should be sleeping through the night, or be in a predictable routine, because it’s all nonsense. And hard though it may be at times, being kind to yourself should be as high a priority as taking care of your sweet baby.

I’d love to hear any more tips, tricks and ideas for life with a newborn in the comments!

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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
0 Comments
Posted in BABY, Sponsored

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Read from the beginning >