Tag Archives: Infant

Graco Symbio b: The Grandparent Challenge

This is the final challenge for the Graco Symbio b and one that I thought was extremely important. Think about it. How many times have you seen grandparents in town struggling to fold/ unfold a pram they have been left in charge of? There is always a crying child to accompany this scene too. My mum says that prams are too complicated these days and I know of one grandparent who has laminated instructions guiding her as to the logistics of going for a walk!

I find the Graco Symbio b to be one of the easiest prams to fold and unfold. I tested my sister and she found it relatively easy too. But grandparents are a whole different kettle of fish. How easy would Ghostwriternanny find it to ‘sort out’ the Symbio b?

Unfortunately, my mum declined to be filmed (it would’ve made for great viewing) but she did agree to allow me to write this post. After giving her the instruction manual she asked for a practical demonstration instead. I am in agreement that some parts of the instruction manual are a little difficult to understand unless you are actually performing the task in hand. I think my mum is a kinaesthetic learner like me.


So, practical demonstration over, I left mum to it. After all, that’s what you do. You drop the kids off and you give a quick demo, then you rush off for some much needed child-free time. So that’s what I did. And what was the verdict?

My mum managed to set up the pram all by herself and enjoyed a blustery walk with her granddaughter. Living over three hours away, this was a novelty for more than one reason. Once back home, my mum managed to fold the pram once more, although with a little soft swearing and muttering. Despite the handily placed diagrams on the bottom of the chassis (mum wasn’t wearing her glasses) she found the folding a little tricky. You are required to press one part whilst lifting another and then folding the pram; this takes practise to achieve.


Overall, mum says that the Symbio b was not as complicated as it looked as easily manageable. This is from the lady who once drove all the way home from town with a stroller fully erect and squashed into the car after trying for over an hour to fold it. So: success!


As this is the last challenge I will perform for the Symbio b, I decided to write an additional round up post later today, with the results from all the challenges posted there.


Graco Symbio b: “I’m just like Samantha Brick..

… except my troubles are no fantasy”

It’s really hard being such a good looking pram. Before you switch off, let me explain with a scenario or two. There was one time when I arrived at the school gates ahead of schedule (since I am so easy to push) and to celebrate I did an extra circuit or two of the playground. Ok, I admit- I did catch a glance of my shiny wheels reflected in the mirror but I was not posing. Honestly. Another pram appeared up the hill and saw me standing there (perhaps I was gleaming in the sun?) and that’s when the bitching started.

‘Oh, look at the Symbio! Arriving for the school run looking like she’s ready for a royal parade!’

Things like this happen all the time; jealousy permeates from other prams like a bitter fog most days. Another occasion, a  sightly older pram arrived at the school gates wheezing and creaking and I couldn’t help but wince. Like a flash, this older, much much shabbier pram clipped my wheels in a blatant attempt to derail me.

Other prams have tried to derail the Symbio b

Of course, I’m made of tougher stuff than that old wagon- the vicious attack did not harm me one bit. I’ve been built to last, built to physically withstand such brutal and un-provoked attacks.

I wish I could say the same about my emotional strength.

I know why other prams hate me. They don’t have the same qualities as I do, but it’s not my fault I’ve been made this way. Other prams dread new mums buying a Symbio b because they know they’re going to be outshined. They know their day has gone- there’s a new pram on the block.

Perhaps it is my shiny, strong chassis? I’m sleek and agile. Perhaps that is why they hate me so? Or maybe it is my bright, bold, chilli red coat? Admirers have pointed out that I do come in other colours though (the super sleek Urban and the gorgeously sublime Boysenberry) and sadly these models are just as envied by other prams.

Fast asleep- she is in there, honest!

The beautiful Symbio b says her fiery red coat makes other prams jealous

Setting my obvious physical attraction aside, it has to be my unique intelligence that makes all the other- dare I say it- *ordinary* prams quiver with rage when I enter a room. I mean, if they could reverse direction as easily as me, or fold as swiftly and smoothly as me, then I suppose they too would be shunned from parks and play groups as I am.

I’ve learned to live with my superiority. I am proud to be such a smooth ride and to provide a safe, comfortable place for my precious baby owner. I know that all the other prams are jealous old carts who can only dream of being as fantastic as me.

It can be lonely at times, when rooms fall silent and lift doors close when there is more than enough space to fit me in (I’m super compact, you see. Unlike many other models). It can be terribly isolating too, when I speed past slower prams with my easy to control wheels and super-light frame. It’s hard being the only pram on the market with such obvious skills and talents.

Symbio's obvious fantastic features, such as the handbrake, make her an easy target, she says

I will learn to live with my excellence. After all, I am truly gifted and it is only right to celebrate what is great in life. One day, all the other prams will accept this and will be beating on my door begging to go on extended pram walks and the like. And do you know what I will do then? I will open my arms in welcome- for I am truly great. I am one of a kind.


I am the beautiful Graco Symbio b.

The ever modest Symbio knows that she is a keeper- transforming from newborn to toddler mode. She is proud to be one of the family

Places I’ve done ‘it’

So far, I’ve done it in:

the cafe of the soft play centre

the park (on a bench, by the sandpit)

the school playground waiting for Zumba to finish

in the car whilst eating fish and chips, before popping to the park

during my son’s 2 year health check

on my mother in law’s sofa

in the cafe at Morrisons

in the Imperial War Museum, Manchester

at the hairdressers, whilst having highlights and colour…

You must know by now that I’m talking about breastfeeding, right?

When I had my daughter I was a complete ‘newbie’ at the whole breastfeeding lark. I used to go upstairs if we had visitors and sit there listening to everyone else having fun while I was feeding her. I spent many hours on that first Christmas day doing that. She wouldn’t take a bottle so even if I had been able to express, there was nothing I could do with the damn milk anyway! We admitted ‘defeat’ and threw the bottles in the bin. Only now do I know that it wasn’t defeat at all.

We gave my son a bottle of expressed milk when he was four days old. He happily switched from breast to bottle for four months (about the only thing he did do happily). I used to take bottles if I was going out somewhere, to save me the ’embarrassment’ of having to *gasp* breastfeed in public.

This time around, I’m certainly older and I’m not sure about wiser but I definitely don’t really give two hoots where I breastfeed at all. We half-heartedly tried to give the baby a bottle a couple of weeks ago but she refused it. I was secretly glad. The baby is working wonders for my long, drawn-out healing process and breastfeeding is proving to be one of the most precious things I have right now.

Perhaps that is why I don’t care where I do it these days. I’m keeping my daughter alive. I’m bonding with her. I’m breastfeeding her.

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!

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.

An open letter to The Baby Whisperer


When I found out I was expecting my daughter, I bought  two pregnancy guides: a humorous one and a sensible one. I read them both and quickly sold the humorous one to buy the parenting guide that went with the serious one. I’ve always been one for reading up on a subject and being a mum was the perfect thing to get my teeth into. It’s a good job that my daughter actually was a text-book baby; the book covered her every milestone and guided me through every tooth, the surprise bout of chicken-pox and the momentary epsisode of separation anxiety.

When I found out I was expecting the baby, I dug out the same book. And then he happened. All of a sudden, the serious parenting guide which had been indispensable was a useless pile of papers collected together in a cover featuring an impossibly smiling ‘mother’. There were no chapters on how to cope if your baby only slept for twenty minutes at a time and you were a gibbering mess. Where was the section on resenting everyone around you that was unable to breastfeed your baby for ther twelvth time in an evening? Oh, and what happened to the chapter on what to do if you genuinely wanted to run away and leave the whole sorry mess of parenting behind you?

My stepdad ordered your book for me and gave it to me when the baby was one month old. I devoured your every word, initially only because my motto had become ‘anything is worth a try’. I even found old episodes of your programme on Dicovery Health and your forum online. What I didn’t realise at the time was that I had found a way to love my baby.

There is a lot of ‘parent manual bashing’ around these days and I have to say that I agree totally with those that say parenting cannot be taught. But it can be guided. I know that now.

The baby was not- is not- a text-book baby. In fact, I think my daughter was slightly abnormal in her freaky sleeping through at five weeks old and smiling all the time. The baby required new rules, and so did I. I needed to know that it was ok to stay with my baby, stroking his head for hours at a time in an attempt to get him to go to sleep independently. I needed to know that it was ok to be there for him when he cried and to pick him up, cuddle him, love him. I needed to know that I could fall in love with my baby, because that’s what you taught me.

If there is nothing else that I learnt from your book, it’s that my baby is a unique human being who needs me. Needs me. This woman who was broken and bruised and living a life that was never meant to be hers. This woman who wanted to leave her baby at the hospital. This woman who wanted a different baby; one that slept and never cried. A different baby. You helped me realise that I wanted this baby. You helped me.

It may not be cool these days to admit that a ‘celebrity’ parenting expert helped you in any way, but you did. Because all of those long lonely nights that I spent by my baby’s cot, I spent watching him. Listening to him. Touching his face. Learning his every twitch and his every sigh. I spent so long by his side that there was nothing else I could do, but fall in love with him.

So thankyou, BW.

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