Tag Archives: children

Graco Symbio b: what would yours look like?

With the testing period drawing to a close and the final challenge about to be reported on, I thought I would post something a little different. I’ve been thinking about the ultimate pram. The one that ticks all the boxes and makes the other mums on the school yard wish they had one too. The pram that caters to mum, dad, baby and more. The pram that is creative, innovative, fun and different. What would yours look like?

The Symbio b is a fantastic pram. It has many fabulous features that genuinely sets it apart from other prams that I’ve owned. It is stylish, light-weight, easy to use and reasonably priced. But if I was a pram designer, I think my ultimate Symbio b might be a combination of the following models:

The Roller Buggy. How cool is this? It’s like a buggy board for parents. Yes, Graco- take note. Its not only toddlers that want a faster ride. How about adding this feature to the Symbio to enable us to get where we want to be even faster and with a bigger smile on our faces? Scooters aren’t just for kids- us mums want to have fun too! 

Or how about the Babyoom? It’s a pram that converts to a bike then to a shopping cart. Or something like that. Its more than a pram. Its a lifestyle on wheels. It transports parents and helps them to shop. That’s good, right? But is it as good as the bike stroller? Forget the shopping cart bit. This is a bike with the stroller bit attached to the front. The Symbio could rock this look, no problem.

Sporty models aside, I think Graco could take a lot from this last pram. This was sold for a mere £6, 000 and has to be the most sparkly pram I have ever seen. Could the Symbio carry this off? You bet!

So in an ideal world, my ultimate Symbio b would have the following features:

  • a parent buggy board
  • a bike/ granny-shopping-cart converter
  • a separate bicycle attachment
  • a tonne of gold

What do you think? Perhaps I should leave the pram designing to Graco, they seem to know what they’re doing…

Other prams have tried to derail the Symbio b

Actually, I think that the Symbio b doesn’t really need any of these far out features at all. I’m all for creativity but there has to be a reason for it when it comes to prams. In fact, basic pram designs haven’t really changed all that much since they were first introduced way back when. And the things that parents look for in a pram don’t really differ all that much from family to family either.

According to Which, Graco are one of the best pram manufacturers around and “the first pushchair manufacturer to create a travel system pushchair, which allows parents to add a car seat to the pushchair frame”- which just goes to show that they have always been in touch with what parents actually need in a pram. Forget the scooter attachments and the bling. A pram needs to be practical and it needs to do its job efficiently.

So with this in mind, the Symbio b doesn’t need re-designing all that much.

symbio b toddler side view

Is that really who I am?

Last night I had a real ‘is that really who I am?’ moment. Today I’ve apologised for being that mum. I never wanted to be that mum. I never knew I was that mum. I hope I’m not that mum again.

Sometimes we look in the mirror and the reflection can shock us; mostly we look in the mirror and see what we want to see instead.

I suppose this is all as clear as mud to you all. I’m not sure I can explain to be honest. I’m not sure I even want to either. I never said I wanted to admit to who that mum really is. I think I’ll try though.

Yesterday I saw something which I found deeply, deeply upsetting. It was a photo of a lady’s precious baby who had passed away following a traumatic birth. I hadn’t expected to see this photo, it was in the ‘wrong place’. I hadn’t wanted to see this photo- it was enough to know that this horrific tragedy had happened. It was enough to offer my thoughts and my condolences. But was it really enough?

Do I really have any right to be so upset? Why did I make this all about me? Why, instead of this poor baby’s face, did I see my own son? Why, when he was upstairs, asleep, breathing, dreaming, living? Why did I feel so surprised to realise I was fighting back the urge to be sick and tears were rolling down my cheeks? Why did I look down at my sleeping newborn, wrapped closely to my chest… why did I think thank goodness that isn’t my baby?

I’m ashamed of myself. I didn’t want to see that picture. I wasn’t prepared to see that picture. That picture is all one mum has left of her son. Is that really who I am? A mum who can’t bear to think of another mum’ s sadness? When I started this blog and met so many other mums who had been through horrific circumstances, I felt that maybe I could offer friendship and support to other women. Tomorrow, I am meeting with a terrific lady to help set up and run a support group in our area, on behalf of the Birth Trauma Association. I really hope that I can indeed offer that friendship and support after all.

Am I really that mum? Maybe. Maybe I’m just like you; maybe it hurts to witness such deep suffering in another human being. Maybe I’m just human.

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!

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?

And they said he would be sleeping by now…

Ok. So I have less than four weeks before my nights will once more be interrupted regularly by a small person needing milk. By this point I was promised- yes, promised-  that the toddler would be sleeping through the night, no problem. For a while, it all looked so good. Over Christmas he was, indeed, sleeping. So much so that we enjoyed a few nine o’clock lie ins. Bliss. But strange. Almost like the calm before the storm…

He is back to his best now. The toddler is no longer sleeping in. He’s no longer sleeping, in fact. Last night I was up with him again at 2.30 and he managed to self settle the rest of the times. Thing is, the walls in our house must be made of super thin parchment paper or something, because I heard every single toss and turn last night. And every call for mummy!

I know what the problem is. We moved his bedroom. He’s now in a big boy bedroom and although he goes to bed ok, I think its really affected him. I also know he will be ok. He’ll get used to it. Then I’m going to disappear for a couple of days and come home with a baby.

How will he react? The big one was five when he was born and her naturally easy going disposition posed no real problem. The toddler is different. He is still the baby. He is held. He is picked up. He is cuddled. He will still get these things, but so will the baby. He will have to compete for the attention he has always had first dibs to. That’s going to be a problem, right?

Nursery are being great. They have a special pack they’re going to send home, with baby dolls and books and accessories designed to prepare him for the new baby. We’re talking as much as we can about the baby but it just doesn’t seem to be sinking in. This morning he asked to sleep in the moses basket which has been set up in our room for want of somewhere else to put it. I explained it was for the baby, so he asked where this so-called baby was exactly. I told him it was in my tummy, to which he replied:

‘No mummy. Baby in there.’ and he pointed to my shoulder…

I won’t lie to you. I think we have our work cut out here. How do I get him to understand it all, when I am struggling myself? I don’t know myself how I am going to make him feel secure and loved and happy with a new baby attached to me at the same time. My mum assures me it will all work out, and I know it will. It’s just the getting to that point that concerns me.

In the meantime, for those of you who told me he would be sleeping by now- what have you got to say for yourselves now, eh?

New Room

Shh! As we speak, the toddler is taking a nap in his new room. It’s a big boy room, to go with the big boy haircut he finally received this weekend. Oh and did I mention the big boy pants we bought too? Blimey.

Am I really ready for the toddler to be a big boy? In a month’s time, he has no choice. He’ll be a big something- a big brother. And you know what? He likes being  a big boy. Its just me who wants to keep him little for a while longer. *sniff* We decided that the baby should move into the nursery and the toddler should have the next spare room. Makes sense, right? I just never knew it would be such a wrench.

We moved into this house just over four years ago and since then we’ve been playing musical rooms with a vengeance. First the Big One had the room at the back but around four weeks before the toddler was born, we decided to move her to the room at the front. We painted it pink, at her request, and put up pink venetian blinds. Then around three months ago, we moved her back into the back room and changed the pink room into a play room. Now, with just four or so weeks until the new baby, the toddler is moving into the pink room, which accordingly needs to become a blue room and…aaaggghhhhh!!!

Still with me?

The short story is that we have made the move and the toddler is in a big room. A big boy room. Only still in his cot- installing a big boy bed at the same time would just be asking for trouble.

And it was like my heart was breaking

Last night, my family were sleeping and my chest was constricting. I was fighting back tears as their chests rose and fell with each breath in and out. I was remembering as they slept, and dreamed.

And it was like my heart was breaking.

Yesterday, I thought it was still passing me by and yet I know now that it’s going to take a very long time. Yesterday, and the day before that and the day before that… I thought I was growing stronger and stronger and now I’m not so sure. Last night, my mind insisted on returning.

And it was like my heart was breaking.

In a few days time, it will be two long years since the toddler’s original due date. That day, like today, my belly was swollen and I was smiling with each kick and squirm. That day, we went to the big one’s Christmas fair at school and we laughed and we smiled and we looked forward to it all. Last night, I remembered all of this: the clothes I was wearing, the smells in the cold December air, the excited giggles of children as they waited to meet Santa. All of these things are here again.

And it was like my heart was breaking as I thought of me then and wished so hard for me then. My stomach was churning as I knew all that I had to go through then.

Someone recently told me whoever said that time is a great healer is a damn liar and I know what she means. I know what she means when she says that time does not heal, it just puts more time in between you and your nightmare.

And it will always be like my heart is breaking.

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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