Category Archives: Mummy Reviews

SM reviews… The Ergobaby OMNI 360 carrier

Editor writes: “Ergobaby put a LOT of thought and effort into the design of their latest carrier. It has been designed to be ‘the only carrier you’ll need’ from newborn to preschool, with four carry positions (parent facing, world facing, hip and back) and no insert needed, even right from week one. 

I’ve been using Ergo’s a lot with my 3rd child, who is almost one. Sure, they might be a bit ‘more’ to carry with you (if it’s one of those ‘I’m not sure if we’ll need a buggy or a carrier’ situations) but lately, I have been challenging myself to just put the baby in the carrier and keep my hands free (for carrying bikes, scooters, shopping – or just gesticulating wildly!)

As my son has grown (well, he was never exactly a delicate flower…) I have been keen to encourage back-carrying, not least because I feel that he’ll be carried for longer like that (but also because it makes carrying scooters and waving one’s arms about whilst berating a sibling much more efficient.)

But due to a number of factors, I had mostly (to date) just been carrying him in the parent facing, front carrying mode. Which is fine, but makes tying shoelaces (your own or your kids’) tricky. Ditto when you drop your car keys on the floor you sort of have to limbo down to the floor. 

Enter the OMNI 360, in gorgeous, ‘go with anything’ Midnight Blue. First, we gave it a go in ‘world facing’, front carrying mode. Which was lovely for my son, but rubbish for me, as the newfound freedom of his arms meant that he was grabbing my phone, pulling things off shelves and reaching for Mummy’s wine o’clock tipple…

So then I went for it with the back carrying. You can either start with the baby on your hip and sort of shimmy them ’round to your back, or go for what some babywearing types call ‘the Santa sack toss’ where you just try and get them up there and the straps on in one seamless move. (Or – get your other half to position your child…)

Here’s a pro doing it…

With a wriggly baby, I found the easiest was to do the maneuver over the sofa or a bed – with the OMNI you are just doing the same Ergo thing in reverse (ie set the straps beforehand, pull on and clip). 

Back carrying with the OMNI is really effortless; on par with carrying a well fitting backpack. As the model on the Ergobaby website demonstrates, it is also possible to do it whilst wearing white jeans and without getting biscuit crumbs in your hair #winning. 

I shall try the hip position next and report back…

One of the other ‘new touches’ to the OMNI design is the ‘fanny pack’ bag which, when in its original clip position and on someone who is 5ft 4, sits literally on your foo-foo. As my other half said, you’d know about it if you were pickpocketed! Thankfully, you can detach it and – as it’s the perfect size for carrying keys, phones, bribery packets of chocolate buttons and the like – clip it to another part of the carrier.

Obviously, all the positions are hip-safe (because it’s an Ergo) and you can wash it on a warm cycle in the case of ‘little accidents’ (although here’s hoping you don’t have to do this too often…)”

Shop online for the new OMNI 360 – RRP £154.90

SM reviews… Splash About Splash shoes

Editor writes: “Look, kids, here are some lovely new shoes!” I say to my eldest two offspring. “What kind of shoes are they?” enquires my three-year old middle child. “Seaside shoes!” I exclaim. “Oh…” comes the response “, are we going to the seaside then?”

I backtrack, realising that once more my middle child has once again foxed me into a corner. 

“Well, let’s go to the seaside!” hollers their father, in the parenting style of Daddy Pig (ie with no co-parenting-consultation and little regard for the reward chart taped to the fridge with pitifully few good behaviour stars.)

So then comes packing wetsuits and picnics, ensuring that buckets and spades are far enough out of reach so as not to become backseat weapons and finally to strap three kids into car-seats. 

Splash About’s splash shoes are made from soft neoprene and they pull on easily (ie unaided!) but the toggle fastening at the back of the shoe means that they stay put even if worn whilst swimming in the sea (or during a bout of backseat fidgeting on the motorway). They come in a variety of colours; I was grateful that we reviewed two different colourways as it made finding the matching pairs a lot easier. 

Once your kids have got them on their feet, pesky inconveniences like pebbles, shells and slippery seaweed become irrelevant and they are good to go rock pool hopping or paddle out over stony shores. And afterwards, you just take them off, give them a rinse and leave them to dry. It’s pretty much win/win.

Of course, I didn’t have to call these shoes ‘seaside shoes’. I could have easily called them ‘now you won’t slip over at the swimming pool when I asked you repeatedly not to run on the wet floor’ shoes. Or ‘now you won’t go flying across the wet decking when you’ve pushed your brother into the paddling pool’ shoes. Or ‘now you can still jump in puddles when it’s too hot to wear your wellies’ shoes. Or any other name that might represent their myriad of uses.

But in our house, they are – and will always be – known as ‘seaside shoes’. Because let’s face it; when you are three and five-and-a-quarter, life’s a beach…”

For more info or to buy go to SplashAbout’s website.

SM reviews… Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Baby Carrier

Infantino’s baby carriers have been best sellers in the US for aeons and are now available in the UK. We tested the Cuddle Up Ergonomic Carrier.

SM tester writes: “I’m a big baby wearing fan, but once they get past 6 months you do need a robust carrier if you are to have a life past wafting from ‘mother and bubs yoga sessions’. I adored testing this carrier because a) it was light (in 30 degrees sunshine that helps!) b) it was super intuitive to fasten and insert baby in the ergonomic position and c) the carrying position is relatively high so it feels really comfortable and doesn’t ‘drag’ you into a hunched stance.

I also loved the fact that the outer pocket is perfect for popping your keys into – but also to put your hands in and cradle your baby, it’s bliss. The carrier itself has an inner – so unlike an Ergobaby there is fabric between you and your child – but in this weather, this is a blessing and also it saves your tops from little accidents!

But the best thing… the Infantino Cuddle Up costs just £37.55 (on Amazon)!”

Find out more here.

SM reviews… the Amanda Cat Eye sunglasses from GlassesShop.com

I’m – as most people know – one of those people who does the school run in RayBans whatever the weather. I’m big on lack of eye contact before 9am. I don’t wear glasses for reading but I’m fairly fastidious about different pairs of shades for driving, running and creating an air of haughtiness at the school gates.

And all of this is before I start rotating pairs to avoid panda eyes.

I was asked to review a pair of sunglasses from GlassesShop.com (who make prescription eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses with a fashion edge as well as regular polarised shades).

I chose the Amanda design, which comes in tortoiseshell (my choice) or black because a) I wanted to try out a really wide cat eye shape on my face and b) the name Amanda makes me think of the badass chick on Revenge.

First thing I noticed was they are SUPER LIGHT. I thought my trusty Raybans Aviators were barely there, but these are several grams lighter. So they are really comfy and great for driving.

I loved the shape too – they are bigger than the website picture implies (very Dita von Teese) and really flattering (translation: they hide all your eye bags yet make you look like you’ve thought about your outfit.)

They’re about a quarter of the price of Raybans; so a good option to stock up on if your pesky offspring keep ‘borrowing’ (ie breaking) your more expensive ones… I’m coveting the super girlie Gwendolyn pink shades too… (as I said: I’m an addict!)

The Amanda Cat Eye Shades retail at $34.95 –order eyeglasses online here.

PS we have a 50% discount code you can use to shop anything apart from the sale items: GSHOT50

(Sponsored post)

SM tests… OrganAx Superfood Daily Boost

Made from Barley Grass, Spirulina & Wheat Grass and other key ingredients to boost everyday energy, this supplement is part of a range from OrganAx that can be taken daily.

We tested…

Editor writes: “Daily Boost promises to improve one’s energy levels (yep, after six months of doing night feeds I definitely need that), balance blood sugar (ie less irrational shouting at my big kids when they’ve polished off my stash of chocolate buttons) and increase libido (which I think I misplaced in the drawer with the huge maternity pants…) 

It comes as a big jar of greenish looking powder, which you mix with either a) a smoothie (delicious) or b) non-dairy milk (an acquired taste).

I also found that you can add it to soup, porridge or an Elly Pear style ‘rainbow pot’ (ie leftovers) and barely notice the addition, but DO NOT try and down a spoonful chased down with water as it’s like swallowing frogspawn (I imagine). My husband chucked some into pancake mix, but I’m not going to applaud this as he smothered said pancakes in maple syrup afterwards. 

There are so many fruits, veggies and good things in this that you’ll feel smug just reading the label. Definitely more than any person with children (as opposed to those svelte, Fabletics-clad twenty-somethings you see power walking, clutching their Nutribullet cup) would consume in a day. 

Notable inclusions are baobab (which is currently meant to be the cure for everything) and guarana (which used to be on sale as an ‘energy boost’ at the sort of festivals I went to in the ’90s). 

I definitely feel ‘good’ after two weeks of a scoop per day. I’m not sure about any weightloss and I haven’t turned into a Playboy Bunny overnight, but I do feel a bit more like Super Mum. Which is guess is down to all the superfoods, right..?”

OrganAx Green Superfood Daily Boost costs £29.99 for a month’s supply. It is not recommended to be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Order online here. 

SM reviews the Amazonas Mei Tai Carrier

Amazonas (makers of amazing kids hammocks) have added a Mei Tai carrier to their range.

Used popularly in Asian countries, these simple sling carriers can be used to carry babies up to 15kg on one’s front or back.

We tested the Mei Tai in ‘Earth’.

Editor writes:I love baby-wearing. It took me a while to get into it; with child #1 I believed the hype that ‘some babies just don’t like to be carried’, but really, it all comes down to finding the perfect sling for you and your child. And the finding the right tension. 

Child #2 was all about being carried. From the jersey ‘moby’ wrap I carried him up and down the hospital ward in to the Ergobaby we climbed a mountain with. Even Dad got in on the action (although he preferred the shape of a BabyBjorn.)

By child #3 I’d realised what works for 6 months maybe isn’t the best all-round solution. Those moby wraps stretch if you don’t keep tightening them and there comes a point when picking things up from the floor whilst wearing a baby isn’t an option. The Ergobaby design is great but the straps can be quite chunky (especially in Winter when you need to put a coat on over the top). 

The Mei Tai carrier principle is really simple; it has no clips buckles, you simply place your child on your front or back and wrap the tie straps around you. Unlike a moby wrap, the ‘baby bit’ is a complete piece of material to support front or back, so there is no guesswork. In short, it’s a bit like popping your baby into the top of a pinny and tying it in securely. 

Like other ergonomically designed carriers, the Mei Tai means that your child will sit in a ‘spread squat’ position, for healthy spine and hip development. Personally, I would say this carrier is a great option if you want the versatility of a wraparound (ie being able to toss it in your bag) but a little bit more support (ie enough to have hands free for shopping bags and siblings). As with all carriers, you’ll need to fiddle around a bit to find the optimum tension – I found putting it on in front of a mirror was helpful (not least because my narcissistic child was distracted by his reflection) but also to check the straps aren’t twisted. A few goes and it will be second nature. And because the straps are just (albeit reinforced) cotton, you won’t need to rock that ‘cardigan on backwards’ look because your jacket will still fit over your shoulders.

The carrier comes in three colourways. We tested the ‘Earth’ one, which is blue and brown striped. I thought at the time that it was quite subtle, but as I seem to have bought some very similar sofa cushions recently, the pattern obviously had a more lasting effect on me!”

The Amazonas Mei Tai is available to buy online from Funky Giraffe RRP £43.90

SM reviews… The Timex Kids’ Analog Time Teacher Watch

Timex have a new range of children’s watches, both analog and digital, designed to help the younger ones learn to tell the time and give the slightly older ones a durable, fashionable, easy read option.

We tested out the Kids Analog Time Teacher in an Octopus colourway.

SM tester writes: “Oh gosh I dread that point when my kids get to learning-the-time age. I know it is a rite of passage and a key life skill, but there is so much to the process that just does not compute to a five-year-old brain. “Why is it 15 past and not 3 past?” “But Mum, you just said it was quarter past?” Aaargh! 

In this case the difficulty is compounded by the fact that Caspar is very much more contrary than his sisters were. Up is Down most days, you know the sort…?

Timex are obviously a stalwart watch brand; my own first watch was a Timex. One of those ones with the black leather strap and white face and is the sort of ‘design classic’ you’d imagine the secretaries in Mad Men wearing. It’s also the sort of brand that can be easily repaired (I remember going in to the High St jewelers and having batteries changed and straps replaced as a child.)

We reviewed one of the new kids’ collection. Ours was orange and green, with a friendly looking octopus on it. Clock-topus, my son calls it. It is water resistant (for when they forget to take it off for swimming, or over zealous hand-washing) and you can adjust the strap. The face is plastic, making it a bit lighter and less likely to smash during playground footie. 

Better still, the hour and minute hands are marked ‘hour’ and ‘minute’ and are different colours. The minutes are then marked in their increments (five past, ten past). So it’s easier to comprehend but still has some semblance of a traditional clock face – so what has been learned this way doesn’t then need to be re-explained. 

The other handy thing is that the adjustment dial is quite difficult for little fingers to alter (unlike the Gro Clock, which every one of my children has reset from an early age!) so the chances are the time set will stay in line with GMT.

I’d love to say that when asked what the time is my son precociously tells me that it is half past three; more likely he’ll still yell ‘Dinner Time!’ and chase me ’round the garden like a maniac. But, he hasn’t taken it off yet and – as we know with fickle five year olds – that in itself is something positive…”

The Timex Kids’ range starts at £24.99 and is available online from Timex or in many high street stores.

Tested by Miriam and Caspar

SM reviews… Bobux Rove sandals

The Bobux Rove is a closed toe, leather and suede combination sandal. Perfect for the warmer summer months, they come in navy or black in sizes 27-33. RRP £49.  We tested…

Editor writes: “Here are two types of kids’ sandals. On the left, a pair of Crocs. On the right a beautifully designed suede and leather pair of Bobux shoes, built in-line with best foot health practice and podiatrist endorsed.

Bobux Rove
Crocs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only one pair is currently permitted at my son’s nursery. Can you guess which it is? Yep… The Crocs. 

There is obviously so much wrong with that rule – don’t even get me started. Especially when my son (a middle child who lives for running, jumping, climbing trees and climbing the wrong way up slides) won’t keep shoes on his feet if they’re not comfy.

Apparently – and maybe you have the same logic at your nursery – the reason Crocs are permitted is because they have solid/closed toes. The reasoning being that if a health and safety fail meant that a box of LEGO fell on your child’s foot, the toe of a Croc would protect them from a trip to the nurse’s office. Hmmm…

Bobux do have a selection of open toed sandals too (I’ll point out here). I’m personally a fan of kids’ feet having as much fresh air as possible in the Summer – and bar an excursion that involved pebbles, mud or gravel – I would happily have them go open toed from March til October. But I opted for the Rove as they give the option of kicking a ball around (or alternatively kicking one’s heels up in a two-year-old tantrum.)

Now, my son knows what a box from Bobux looks like. He knows that inside there will be tissue wrapped shoes that fit his feet like gloves (except obviously, not like gloves!) and furthermore he knows that when a box comes from Bobux, it is for him. He doesn’t need to be told about the fact that they keep his feet healthy and aid correct posture and growth. To him they look and feel fantastic and he can’t wait to put them on. This occasion was no different and in seconds the new sandals were on his feet (surprisingly, on the correct feet too) and he was off into the garden…

Because these shoes are so light, they don’t need to be removed to bounce on a trampoline and the vents around the toes mean that sandpit sand just falls out – with a bit of dinosaur stomping. The sandals are leather, but the odd puddle doesn’t really matter and you can just give them a wipe with a damp cloth in the case of paint, glitter or marmalade spillages. 

On the first night of owning these sandals, my son wore them to bed. Of course, once he was snoring away, clutching his beloved bunny, we wiggled them off him. However, if we had left them on, I honestly think he would have slept just as soundly.

The way these shoes fasten is really clever as it looks like a popper, but is actually an adjustable velcro strap. Really easy to make sure the shoes are on firmly; not too tight but, you know, so one can’t be hurled in a strop or come loose in the supermarket whilst you’re distracted. 

I can’t fault these sandals and neither can my son. Which is why I shall be flying the controversy flag and sending him to nursery wearing them. 

Join me in rebellion…?”

Shop online at Bobux

SM tests… the Cake Maternity Zest Sports Bra

The Zest bra from Cake is a high impact sports bra designed for nursing. 

Editor writes: I’ll say it: this might be the best bra you’ll ever own. Whether you plan to breastfeed, or pound the streets with your trainers on, if childbirth has rendered you larger than a D cup, this bra not only gives great support, but is super comfortable  and incredibly flattering. 

If you are actually a gym bunny and looking to squeeze in a quick workout between feeds then even just putting this bra on will make you feel like a streamlined professional athlete – it has awesome hold and supports at the back to help your posture plus the straps don’t ride down whilst you are moving your arms. There is almost no bounce (even jogging) and the mesh paneled boob-divider bit in the middle means no sweaty cleavage (yes, I know, sorry…)

If you just want a day to day nursing bra, obviously Cake have a huge range (including their new Sugar Candy plus sized collection) but the Zest bra will double up as an everyday option. Despite the sporty colourways (grey/turquoise/yellow or black/orange) it gives you great shape under a tshirt or jersey dress (I’m a big fan of those Baukjen throw on dresses and they work wonderfully with this bra)

The nursing clips are really solid – they don’t ping off like some do when you have a lot of milk – and they’re very easy to snap on and off. Because this bra gives a lot of support, if you do find yourself walking around between feeds/expression having forgotten to do them up, your breasts won’t notice at all. 

As a brand, Cake is loved by the super-perky likes of Pink and Miranda Kerr… as well as hundreds of mums

The Zest bra is available online or in stores, RRP £46.90

Buggy Love: Ickle Bubba Aurora Travel System

If you’ve seen the current issue of the magazine you’ll have seen that our latest Buggy Love came in the sunshiney yellow form of the Aurora from Ickle Bubba.

We agreed this is a versatile little lightweight buggy, ideal for toddlers who mostly-but-not-always want to walk (or those who’ll skip all the way to soft play, but sleep all the way home!)

Whilst it does operate as a travel system (with the help of the Galaxy car seat) we think this one comes into its own in the ‘just walking’ gap as it is light enough to carry on your back as well as fitting into the tiniest of car boots.