Tag Archives: baby

Graco Symbio b: the toddler’s review

We’re half-way into the Symbio b testing and so far its a huge hit with the baby and I. I must add that other mums at school have also been admiring our wheels and one mum-to-be has just ordered one for herself, which just goes to prove how valuable personal recommendations really are.  Anyway, I decided it was time to convert the Symbio b and let the toddler have a turn…

symbio b toddler seat

Before I start, I have to point out that I am terrible at following instruction guides. I find the diagrams tricky to interpret and I have to read the written instructions several times before I can actually do the task. I am a kinaesthetic/ visual learner so I need to see something being done, whilst at the same time actually doing it myself. I think this is why it took me 20 minutes to convert the Symbio from newborn to toddler mode. Subsequent practises have been much faster and once you have the process under your belt its really quite easy.

The best thing about the fitting of the seat is that it is all secured with poppers. This means that it is all snug and secure and that there is little chance of getting things in the wrong place. Yes, first time you do it will take  a little longer than normal, but once its converted, the majority of us won’t need to do it again.

The baby nest is removed quite easily and the zips need to be done up again. Then its just a case of following the instructions to construct the seat. The seat cover is well padded and soft and as it is easily removed with the poppers, it can be easily washed if needed. This is a huge bonus for me as my last pram seat fabric was fitted to the seat unit and never really got clean again once the toddler had been let loose with a sausage roll!

symbio b toddler hood

There are three different height options for the harness so the seat really grows with your child and will last right up until they are ready to walk more. Another great point is the hood- its massive! The toddler doesn’t like having the hood up at all but if he was to fall asleep, I would be happy that the hood would provide more than ample shade for him- great in the summer, and it eliminates the need for an extra sun shade or parasol.

The seat can be reclined easily by pulling the handle at the back of the seat and again, you can swap the direction of travel with one easy motion.

Another important point- looks. As a buggy, the Symbio b is just as lovely to look at as it is in pram mode. It’s stylish and compact and moving it is just as easy. The only drawback, once more, is the size of the basket. It’s easier to access with the seat unit in toddler mode, but its still rather small, especially once the raincover is in the basket. Also, the foot rest at the bottom of the toddler seat seems to be a little short. The toddler’s feet already reach the end but I suppose he can always rest his feet over it when his legs get longer.

symbio b toddler side view

I can’t wait to use the Symbio b in toddler mode. Once the baby is 6 months, she is ready for the conversion, but until then we are perfectly happy using the newborn mode. Which brings me nicely to my last point. Converting the Symbio b from toddler back to newborn is so easy. Simply lie the seat unit flat, un-popper the seat fabric, unzip the zips at the back and insert the baby nest. You also need to re-attach the hood. That’s it!

And the toddler’s review? He told me that he likes his ‘fire engine’ pram (its bright red, like an engine) but on this particular day he was more interested in digging up the soil from my Yucca plant in the hallway- hence the grumpy face!



Graco Symbio b: the shopping centre challenge

Last week, I took the baby to register her birth. It was about time we made her all official. It was also about time the Symbio b took part in another challenge- the shopping centre challenge.

You all know this one. Can the pram make it through the door ways? Can the pram manoeuvre between cars parked close together when all the parent and baby spaces are taken? Can the pram take the pace? This is what happened…

Getting ready for the shopping challenge

Firstly, no we didn’t get a parent and child parking space. I like to think they were all taken by parents and children but I am a dreamer. Secondly, yes the pram did manage to manoeuvre between the sardine-like cars. Not a problem. Score 1.

Into the shopping centre and into the lift. We fit perfectly in with two other buggies and two other adults. Again, score 1 for the Symbio as it is a fairly compact pram so I didn’t feel we were taking too much of the allocated lift space.

Time for the doorway challenge. I bumped a couple to be honest. They were wide enough, but perhaps I am out of practise? I did  accidentally knock the pram a couple of times trying to get the wheels to swivel in the direction I wanted. This has never happened before so I think it was more human error than anything else. Score half a point here.

The floor: my old pram used to slide on shopping centre floors. What I mean is, the wheels didn’t turn, it was more of a skating motion if you see what I mean. To rectify it, I had to lock the wheels inside shopping centres and supermarkets. The Symbio coped fine. Score 1 more point.

The shopping basket. This is really the only thing I would, so far, change on the Symbio. No pram can be perfect, eh? After registering the baby, I nipped to Boots and stocked up on supplies for her and the toddler. I ended up with a huge bag which just would not fit in the basket underneath, despite the rain cover being on the pram rather than inside the basket. Luckily, I have a buggy clip which works really well and distributes the weight of the bag evenly so that there is no chance of it tipping up. BUT it would be nice to have a larger basket as sometimes you want to put more than the raincover inside.

That brings me to the raincover. I’ve had prams that have been a nightmare during shopping trips. You’re outside in the rain one minute, then inside in the artificial warm the next. How to make sure the raincover doesn’t become a chore? Practise, practise, practise! The Symbio’s raincover has clear indications as to which way round it goes and it fits over quickly and snugly, fastening with velcro at the sides. It can also be folded back onto the hood when you go inside, ready to pop back over when needed. Score 1 point.

Back to the car: Ok, so I have a big car with a big boot. I can only be fair and give a half point here. But I will say that the pram folds very compactly and the carry cot can be placed on its side so there is still room for shopping.

Overall points for the shopping challenge: 5/7

Fast asleep- she is in there, honest!

I’m going to be sneaky and add an extra point for the fact that the baby slept soundly the whole time- she clearly likes her Graco Symbio b!

Cosatto You2 twin stroller: a review

Before the baby was born, I was extremely lucky enough to be sent a Cosatto You2 twin stroller to review. I even got to choose the design and since we didn’t know the gender of the baby, I went for the scrumptious Owl and Pussycat model:

It truly is a gorgeous looking pram. But I wasn’t totally convinced that the side-by-side design was the right one for me . The fantastic Emma at Cosatto had a few things to say about this and so I shall quote directly from her if I may:

I must admit I was one of those parents wanting to cut corners and convince myself I didn’t need a double side-by-side pushchair! However 4 months of baby in a sling breaking my back and then having to disturb baby and take out of the sling when got home convinced me a double buggy was indeed a necessity. Aswell as having a toddler that still enjoyed an afternoon nap, a twin side by side seemed a ‘no brainer.’  I am a huge fan of babies being stimulated by the environment and seeing the world, and the relationship building between an older sibling is second to none when they are’ journeying’ side by side… Side-by-side strollers are essential and ‘oh-so’ convenient… us mums need convenience!”

She puts across a very good argument,doesn’t she? I’d been thinking on a purely selfish level about this type of stroller. I didn’t want to have to bash granny ankles in the supermarket with a wide vehicle, when actually I should’ve been thinking about the benefits for the children instead.

On our first outing, it did take some getting used to as the stroller is inevitably wider than any pram I have used before. BUT- and this is a massive but- the toddler really enjoyed seeing his sister in the seat next to him and decided that he was going to look after her. And just as Emma promised, he took great pleasure in pointing out cars, trees and mack-macks (ducks, to you and I). He also became a little concerned when the baby slept through it all and actually complained that she wasn’t talking to him!

SO yes, the You2 twin stroller is fantastic for encouraging siblings to converse and certainly helps with the bonding between todders and newborns. This was the best thing about the stroller and something you just don’t get with the tandem designs.

The toddler also loved the owl and pussycat designs and I think the cosy-toes etc are just beautiful- fun, bright and really cosy. The only problem I had with the stroller over all was the cosy-toes themselves, despite them being so gorgeous. We found that the toddler was unable to sit with his legs straight when the zips were fully closed. Luckily, the weather is warming up so cosy-toes aren’t a necessity, but it is a shame because they are so lovely.

In conclusion, this is a gorgeous stroller and it has some really lovely details- the cosy-toes, the seat belt covers and the bottles bags, for example. The shopping basket is of ample size and the stroller itself is really lightweight and easy to push. It also folds like an umbrella so would fit into most boots easily. I think that the stroller is fairly wide but it isn’t bulky with it, which is another good point. The only fact I feel should be noted is the size of the seats if you are thinking of buying this stroller for a toddler and a newborn. In my opinion, it is better suited to twins so that you can get the full use of the cosy-toes.

Since recieving the Cosatto You2 twin stroller, I am definitely a side-by-side stroller convert! It really is lovely to see the two little ones sitting next to each other and I think our pram walks will help them to bond as siblings- that can only be a good thing!




*I received a You2 twin stroller for review; no other payment was received and these are all my own views!

Graco Symbio b: what to expect after a c-section

Some of you may know that I have recently been asked to be one of five lucky Graco Symbio b testers. I actually received the email two hours after my daughter was born!

Less than twelve hours later, I was visited by the hospital’s physiotherapist. Her job was to talk to me about the after effects of my surgery and to advise that I was not to lift anything heavier than my baby for six weeks. As she was about to leave, she pulled back the curtain that had been drawn around my bed and then paused. She turned back, with a small smile, and added:

‘Oh, and no pram pushing please.’

No what? No pram pushing?! Now, its no secret that I love prams, even when I am not pregnant and have no pram-age children to force into them. I covet prams. I wrote this post recently, about pram spotting. I can honestly spot a pram at fifty paces. I just like prams. But more than that, I adore pram walks. When I had my daughter the best piece of advice I was given by a fellow new mum was to make sure I went out for a walk once a day. I took her advice to heart and found that power walking with the pram was one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to get back into my jeans and spend quality time with the kids at the same time. Its also a great opportunity for naps- leaving me free to just… think. I always feel better after a pram walk and its one of the things I missed the most towards the end of this current pregnancy. My back was just too sore to endure long walks towards the end and so I was impatient to get back to it with the two little ones.

SO, not pushing a pram was not sitting well with me.

When the Graco Symbio arrived, I fell in love. Its a really nice looking pram. And its lightweight. And it has a unique one hand reversable handle than enables you to change your child’s point of direction with ease. And its front wheels swivel nicely to ensure a smooth ride…

Do you see where I am going here? Ghostwriterdaddy refused at first to let me push. I didn’t push it either. I took too long to recover after the toddler’s section and I didn’t want to make the same mistake again. However…

At two weeks and four days post natal, I now feel ready to push the pram. I know, I know- the physiotherapist said blah blah blah. Honestly, I do take medical advice seriously. But I have also learned to listen to my own body and so I felt able to take the Symbio b for a spin.

What a smooth ride! I was able to get the pram up kerbs with one hand and NO pain at all. I was also able to change the direction of the journey easily (also with one hand) and managed a good forty minute walk easily and comfortably. And the baby? She, um… slept like a baby, actually. I was a little unsure about the carry cot as first as there is no head hugger and she looked a little little but with a couple of blankets she fitted in nicely.

Another great design feature for c-section ladies is the brake. I always found that pressing a pram brake with my foot put strain on my scar. The Symbio b has it’s brake on the side of the pram handle, which is  fantastic. No chance of accidentally kicking it off either, and the big one can’t work it so no risk of her unlocking the brake and running away with the pram! Not that she would, but you know…

All in all, the Symbio b is a very ‘c-section friendly’ pram. I can push it with ease and the baby sleeps through it all. It’s sleek, stylish and lightweight. You can see from the picture how nice it looks.

First test- the most important one- done! The next test for the Symbio b is in Ghostwriterdaddy’s hands. He keeps telling me that it is really easy to fold and to get in and out of the boot- all important factors. He also loves the fact that the wheels sit to the top when its folded so don’t get the boot dirty… Anyway, Ghostwriterdaddy is going to perform the ‘how quickly can I fold, put away and then get the pram out of the car again’ challenge. Keep your eyes peeled…

37 weeks: officially full term and panicking…

Today I am 37 weeks pregnant and here are the things that are kept me awake last night:


1. The toddler. Top of the list, since I was sleeping fine until he decided to wake up and whine for a couple of hours. He didn’t want to get up, but he didn’t want to sleep either. I even went down to prepare a bottle at 5.30, thinking it was get up time finally and figuring that since he went to bed with no dinner and no bottle, he was probably starving. By the time the bottle was ready, he was asleep. And I was awake!

2. The pram situation. Some of you have very helpfully recommended some fabulous double buggies/ double buggy substitutes over on Twitter this week. I have left this so late. I assumed I would be fine with a buggy board or sling and I might have if a) it didn’t rain a lot where I live (wrong side of the Penines, some would say) b) the toddler wasn’t a feisty little mr. who I just know will jump off and into the path of on-coming traffic and c) I know that I will want to take them both for long pram walks soon. So I need a double buggy. BUT

I don’t want one that has a low seat at the back and it’s occupant has to stare at it’s sibling’s back all day. I also don’t want one that is too wide to get through doorways. I want a tandem one with a view. I want one that will convert to a single buggy once the toddler is a little bit older and more able to understand why he needs to stay on the buggy board. Plus the weather will be nicer then and the sling a better option for the baby. SO

this gives me the option of 2 models: the Baby Jogger City Select double and the icandy Pear. None of which I can get my hands on in less than 2 weeks and for less than it costs to pay my mortgage. In other words, this is keeping me awake!

3. The bed. I decided to co-sleep and I ordered a baby bay co-sleeper cot, delivery of which was promised before the baby’s section date. It is now promised for the day after the section date- cutting it fine, but should be ok if they stick to that date.

4. The decorating. Why do I always decorate numerous rooms right before babies are due to be born? This weekend we shall be stripping (wallpaper) and generally living in chaos. Not good for the nesting instincts and the next item on my list…

5. My back. OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW. It hurts. Yes, I’ve been ‘over-doing’ it perhaps but MAN it hurts. I don’t like just sitting but you know…

6. My baby. Yes, I saved the best for last. I am so excited! In less than 2 week’s time I get to find out if I have a new son or daughter! I get to come home with a new baby to hold and to love. I can’t wait and it’s keeping me awake! But that’s a good reason, isn’t it?

Nod Pod: review

In around 13 weeks time, I expect to be embarking upon the school run with an extra little person in tow. I already know, from experience, that those early mornings are going to be chilly, more so when you are brand new and tiny! Its little wonder, then, that I jumped at the chance to review the simply fabulous Nod Pod Blanket.

This is a truly ingenious product which was designed with babies like mine in mind. You know, the ones who can’t keep blankets on their legs, despite the fact they live in one of the coldest parts of the country. The ones who kick so much in the pram and buggy that blankets end up tangled under dirty wheels and toes end up chilled…

The creators of the blanket are rightly very proud of their gorgeous designs and say that:

The Nod Pod is a baby blanket brought up to date. Perfect for new babies its design keeps little legs, toes, and heads covered and can keep arms safely wrapped up where babies like them best.

The blanket’s simple and versatile design works with baby carriers, car seats and pushchairs without needing holes and zips to accommodate straps and buckles. It also works perfectly on its own in a cot or moses basket allowing you to wrap up your little bundle without lots of extra fabric and bulk getting in the way.

I have been lucky enough to receive a beautiful white Nod Pod blanket and I’m looking forward to wrapping up the new baby once he/ she arrives. No doubt another review shall be required! For more information on the Nod Pod blanket, visit the website and Facebook page.

What are your favourite baby finds lately? Are there some products you’ve found that are so clever you can’t imagine why they weren’t invented sooner? I’d love to know about those products you’ve found that have become firm favourites: just leave me a comment and I will do a round up of all ideas and products named.


Oh, heck.

A month or so ago, I saw a tweet from @Yorkshiregirl asking if anyone was taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. I tweeted back to ask what the heck it was…

For most of you, I’m guessing I don’t need to explain. Here’s the link: NaNoWriMo.


When I was little, I used to read the Garden Gang books. I discovered that the author of these books had been just twelve years old and  think I was about eight when I told my mum I would write a book before I was that age. The intention has always been there. Notebook after notebook has always been filled with stories, conversations, story ideas…

At university I took a Creative Writing course, where I met the fabulous @Minty_b. I loved those sessions and I graduated with a renewed love for writing and an even newer appreciation for the theatre. I wanted to write more than anything… so I got a job in an office.

You know how life gets in the way? Yeah, that. I met my husband, we had our daughter and I decided to go into teaching. I never left my writing behind, I just found less and less time in which to do it. Instead, I was teaching and helping children to write- the next best thing?

My son’s birth was my turning point, and the reason I started this blog. And there you have it. I remembered that old feeling of being unable to sleep because  a plot idea was running through my head. I remembered the security of having a notebook to hand at all times, day and night, to jot down words, ideas and thoughts. I remembered what it was like to be me.

So, NaNoWriMo. I’m going to do it. I’m deadly serious. For all the books I started and never finished, for the frustrations of my mum who used to sit for hours, reading them and never finding an ending… for me.

For that extra kick up the butt, I decided to ask for sponsorship. I am now 24% of the way towards my target of £200 in honour of the Birth Trauma Association. Thank you so much to those of you that have sponsored me so far. Your money will make sure that I finish this book and will help other women like me, who have suffered a traumatic birth. Your money is so precious and so gratefully received. Thank you.

If you haven’t yet donated, here is my Just Giving Page:


You can also text £1 to the cause by texting YLGH51 £1 to 70070.

Here is my nifty button, which will take you straight to my site. Anything else? Oh, yes. Please share my page. Please get as many people as possible to sponsor me for this cause. The end result will be so much more than a book.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

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