User-agent: * Allow: /. Would Like To Be A Yummy Mummy: September 2011

Friday, 30 September 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful

I love joining in with this wonderful meme and reading all the other entries too. It never fails to make me smile.

This weeks my reasons for being cheerful are:

1.  Poppy is loving pre-school and is really happy.  She has settled immediately, loves her Teacher and is enjoying being with all the other children. A happy Daughter equals a happy Mummy.

 2.  Rosie is really walking now and I am very excited about buying her her first pair of shoes. I have been letting her go bare feet up until now but next weekend we are going shopping. She is always trying her Sisters on so I think she is going to love having her own. 
3. Next week I am off to see my Parents for a long weekend and am really looking forward to it. Its something to look forward to while the Husband is away but they are also going to babysit for me. Yes I am having the day off to go to......

4. Bristol Blog camp next week. I am very excited but a little scared as I don't really know anyone else who is going. Hoping to learn something as well as meet some new people. It should be good.

Hope you have all had a good week and have lots of reasons to be cheerful too.

Karen x

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Someone Made Us Smile This Morning

Today on the way back from dropping Poppy off at Preschool, Rosie and I met a very nice lady. We have seen her a few times, smiled and said hello. Today though she was tidying up her garden and smiled at us. She had a beautiful pink flower in her hand. Stopping to chat to us, she gave the flower to Rosie saying that it matched her pretty dress, which it did beautifully.

Sometimes People really are just nice! A flower, a few friendly words and a smile has put me in a good mood this morning.

As you can see Rosie was thrilled with it too. It made our morning!

Karen x

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Gallery - Home

This weeks Gallery topic really got me thinking. You see, due to my Husbands job we have to move every few years and the accommodation comes with the job. We do own our own house and at times I wish we could live in it and spend time doing it up like other families do. Then there are the other times when we move somewhere really exciting and I don't mind at all.

I therefore decided to focus not on the house per se but rather what is in it.....

Before children I envisaged me with my perfect looking family and perfectly tidy looking home. Life would be sweet!

Then came my little baby and all the stuff they need.  Things like a mosses basket and bouncy chair could not be hidden in the bedroom as they needed to be out to be used. Still I managed to make them fit in without taking over. As my baby grew I introduced a small basket of toys which lived under the coffee table. Yes I had children but no that didn't mean they had to take over the house, anyone else recognise this? if so you probably know what is coming next.

Of course the toys got bigger and started to take over. We brought an exersaucer and Bumbo seat which then got switched for a play house, a kitchen and so on. Next Daughter number two arrived and we ended up with all the baby paraphernalia as well as the toddler toys. In fact we now have so many toys we have turned our Dinning room into a playroom. We never ate in there anyway, preferring to eat in the kitchen instead.

The thing is without all of our stuff our house would be exactly that, a house (alas a very tidy one) but filled with my family, toys, art work and all of our stuff, our house is a home.  It doesn't matter where in the World that house might be while we are in it, it is our home.

For more entries head over to Sticky Fingers yourself.

Karen x

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Blogging Has Helped Me Find My Mojo

I have been writing this blog for eight months now and it has quickly become an important part of me.  It started out as a type of journal, somewhere to record our life as a family and share with friends and family. It has turned out to be so much more than that.

For me it has helped me get my mojo back!

Back when I started out my Husband was away with work for ten weeks and I was struggling along. I felt quite isolated living away from the other families he works with and from family of my own.  I was feeling worn out, stressed out, a bit lost and a bit unhappy!

Then I started blogging and it all changed!

Once the girls were in bed, I was able to settle back and write posts and design my blog to my hearts content. All the things going around my head could be written down..... and that was before I discovered twitter and the social side of blogging!!

Now I feel like I have a whole new network of friends, some of you I have managed to meet and some of you I will meet at events next year. I never realised what a supportive community the blogging one is.

Once again Husband has had to go away but this time I did not panic. I have a purpose, something to do in the evenings when I might otherwise be lonely. In fact its nice to have a bit of time to do it undisturbed!

Through reading other blogs and conversations on twitter, I have come to realise that we are all doing the best that we can. We all have ups and downs, doubts and worries about similar things...oh and im not the only one who looks forward to bedtime either! I think this has helped me to relax a bit and take the pressure off myself. I don't really have to be perfect, just a Mum!

I now how things to chat about, other than the children. I am enjoying writing and using my brain again and I am really enjoying reviewing products. I feel a bit more like my old self...or maybe its a new version of me but with a bit of the old sparkle back. Whatever it is I am happier.

So thank you blog, my lovely followers and anyone reading this. You help to keep me sane when the Husband is away and have helped me get my mojo back!

Karen x

Monday, 26 September 2011

A New Game Plan - MumenTum

A few months ago I was feeling quite good about myself! I was losing weight, changing shape and although my body was far from perfect, I was feeling happier with the way it was shaping up.

Then came the Summer and Husbands leave. With him around we had lots of day trips, ate out, had ice cream and junk food and I started to pile all the weight back on. I cannot blame him, no it was me and my will power. It was not helped by the fact I stopped listening to my slimpods after accidentally leaving them at home when I went away for a week and then not starting again straight away.

Since then I have also struggled with motivation around my fitness goals. Its been like a vicious circle...knowing what I need to do but not having the motivation to do it. Its not rocket science, I know if I eat well, exercise and listen to my slimpods I will lose weight.

Anyway I have been listening to my Slimpod for almost three weeks now and have started to notice a difference in my snacking habits once again. I have also finally spoken to the lovely Sandra at Thinking Slimmer who has given me the encouragement I need and a new game plan.  I am switching Slimpods and will be trying the new "Drop two Jean sizes" one . I am feeling really good about this. Especially as this is how the fantastic looking Wendy from Inside The Wendy House has lost her weight. Fingers crossed it has the same effect for me.

So from this day on there will be no over indulging, no further dieting, no counting carbs, calories or fat. I am going to be embracing Thinking Slimmer wholeheartedly.

Watch this space to see how I get on.

Karen x

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Help Soldiers Injured In Afghanistan

For those of you who don't already know, my Husband is an Officer in the British Army. 

I think he is starting to recognise that my blog is much more than just a little hobby because he is about to embark on a sponsored run to help soldiers injured in Afghanistan and has asked for my help with advertising. As it is for such a worthy cause I jumped at the chance to help!

Together with with his Cadets he will be running the Plymouth 10k on Sunday 6th November 2011. They are hoping to raise £400 but still have a way to go. Can you help?

The Cadets

The charity they are supporting is called The Baton.
The Baton is "a symbol of national conscience – of pride, hope, courage and suffering. Most importantly, it is a message of gratitude from those who wish to support the brave men and women of our armed forces who regularly risk their lives so that we may live with freedom of choice, peace and safety".
This charity aims to to raise awareness amongst the British public about the reality of life for service personnel and their families in the British Armed Forces and to ensure that they are given the level of support that they are rightfully due.The Baton’s aim is not to compete with existing forces charities but instead to complement by focusing on raising awareness about the issues and providing them with additional support and backing. 

You can follow The Batton on both  Facebook and on  Twitter.

For more information or to make a donation please check out: 

Many thanks

Karen x

Silent Sunday

Karen x

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Our Family Is Growing, Meet The New Addition

Meet Pluto, he is Rosie's new best friend and was named by her Sister.

He is the Plan Toys Sit and Walk Puppy, another beautiful wooden traditional toy sent to us from the lovely Jean at Toyjeanius. He is a very adorable pull along toy and you may be pleased to know, made from environmentally friendly materials and of course toxic free paint. 

The preservative free rubberwood  feels very sturdy and is easy for chubby little hands to grab hold of. Rosie has taken to him immediately. She loves his floppy felt ears and springy tail and they tolerate her constant pulling well. She is currently 14 months, a little under the recommended 19 months but that doesn't seem to be a problem.  She toddles around pulling him along and watching his little body wobble from side to side. She also enjoys making him sit so she can talk to him, wiggle his tail and gives him kisses:

Everyone loves kisses
Even her Sister loves him and happily pulls him along too despite being 3 years old. She even wanted to take him to bed on the first night but I said no!

If you have wooden floors you will be pleased to know the wheels are rubber trimmed, meaning they will protect your floors and make less noise. We have carpets and he works well on that too.

Don't just take my word for it though, here's a little slide show to demonstrate how much fun they are:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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To find out more or discover other beautiful toys, head over to Toyjeanius yourself. 

Karen x

My Skin Feels Gorgeous!

Each Saturday I bring you a new beauty, fashion or fitness product that I have tried and tested and would recommend as something that will make us Mummy's feel a bit more yummy.

This week I bring to you:

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth

Since having babies my cleansing routine has been a bit of face scrub or wash in the shower, once or twice a day. Not perfect but then I didn't think I had time for much more.

As someone who used to spend money on myself and nice products before children but not since, I was really excited about trying this product.  When It arrived I was thrilled to discover a 100ml pump plus two pure muslin cloths in a nice little bag:

Arrives in a gorgeous little bag

The contents
 Having never tried anything like the pure muslin cloths before, I wondered what the benefit would be but was looking forward to trying them anyway.

It is very easy to use:

Phase one - the cleansing: you literally massage one or two pumps of the cleanser gently in to your face and neck. Its quite thick and feels lovely and smooth on your skin. I started off using two pumps but quickly realised I didn't need to and it would last longer if I used just one.  It smells gorgeous, a combination of eucalyptus, rosemary and cocoa butter. In fact it reminds me of being at a spa. It is very, very gentle and you can even use it around the eye area.

Phase two - the polishing: Next you use the pure muslin cloth dipped in  hand hot water to gently wipe away the cream. Each time you wipe, you dip it into the water again before wiping away a bit more.  Very easy to do, it leaves your skin feeling absolutely gorgeous.

I have very dry flaky skin which is prone to flair ups of eczema. This product made my skin feel so much better from day one. Its is no longer flaky and looks the best it has in a long time.

In fact I feel as though I am having a mini facial twice a day...heavenly!

I give this product a huge 10/10. I cannot believe that I have not discovered Liz Earle products before and am looking forward to trying more.  I will be sticking to this as part of my new regime as my skin has never looked or felt so good and would recommend it to you all.

Would love to hear your beauty, fashion or fitness tips. Feel free to leave me a comment below:

Karen x

Friday, 23 September 2011

Messy Play Gets Children Talking

With Poppy going to Pre-School for her 15 hours a week and asking to go more often, I am keen to make sure we still do lots of fun things at home.  At School she has been learning all about Autumn so I decided to carry on the theme and get her talking about what she has learnt as well being creative.

First we collected a big pile of leaves on the way home from School:

A few of the leaves we collected

Next, once her Sister went up for her afternoon nap, we chose some bright coloured card and stuck the leaves to it using gloopy glue:

Miss Independent doing it all herself
Finally we painted our creation:

Using all different colours including ones we mixed ourselves

One for us and one for her Teacher
Next we did some sponge painting, hand painting and I showed her how to make a butterfly by folding the paper in half, painting one side of the butterfly and then closing the paper and rubbing it so the paint completed the picture:

Some of our creations

We had a lovely time and Poppy could not help but tell me all that she has been learning about at School instead of the usual "I've forgot/ I can't remember".

Poppy loves doing anything creative and in the two weeks she has been at School I have not done things like this at home with her. We used to do something like this at least three times a week! I have realised that I need to ensure that I do not just leave messy play for School, I want her to know we have just as much fun at home too.

Karen x

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Do You Wash Yours?

I must admit I usually give my fruit and vegetables a token splash under the tap before I eat them, but I don't worry too much. What about you, do you wash yours? 

Since being asked to trial Fit Fruit and Vegetable Spray I have discovered the shocking truth that a quick splash of water will not kill the chemicals sprayed on them or provide the necessary protection against food poisoning bacteria such as salmonella, campylobacter and e-coli.... I think I might start washing them now!

I spend a small fortune on fruit and veg each week and thought that nowadays they are pretty wrong could I be? Take apples for example.  Research has shown that by the time they reach our shopping baskets, they may have been exposed to up to 12 different types of pesticides as well as handled by up to 10 different people.......eeeuughk!

Thank goodness I have discovered Fit Vegetable Wash:

This is a 100% natural vegetable spray using ingredients like organic grapefruit juice leaving you with just the natural goodness and taste that nature intended.

Fit spray removes up to 98% more pesticides, waxes, people handling residues and other contaminates then washing alone. It is very easy to use: you literally spray over your fruit and vegetables, rub and then  rinse away. I was pleased to find it left no funny aftertaste or smell.

It costs £4.49 and you can buy from

If you didn't wash your vegetables before you might want to now, I do!

Karen x


Induction, Two experiences In Two Different Countries

I am not one of those mums who really talks about my birth stories but with a Sister who is ready to drop any time shortly and all our conversations revolving around my new little Nephew,  it has got me thinking about it more recently.

I have two little girls who were both overdue and refusing to budge. As a result I was induced with both of them but this happened in two different Countries and I had two very different experiences. This is not your usual birthing stories with all the glory details, I'm not the sort of person to share all that information. This is more like a comparison of my two experiences.

Poppy was two weeks late when they induced me.  I went to the hospital at 9am and was given the gel. I was told to go home, relax and if anything happened to come back in but if nothing did then I should come in the following morning for  a stronger dose.

I went home, had a relaxing morning taking photos in our garden:

At home after being induced
In the afternoon I started to feel really tired and a bit unwell. I had a rest and actually managed to get some sleep. As the day went on, I continued to feel not quite right and kept getting funny twinges.  We had been going through the whole "am I in labour?" thing every night for the previous two weeks so I wasn't convinced I was.

I went to bed about 11pm but never actually got to sleep.  30 minutes later I was in the bath and during the evening had about three of them. Husband was blissfully unaware and fast asleep.  When not in the bath, I spent most of the night watching TV and bouncing on my birthing ball.  Eventually, at about 2.45am I woke my Husband up and told him I thought it was really happening and that we needed to go to Hospital. He was very good and quickly timed the contractions.  They were coming every three minutes and lasting about two minutes.... I really was in labour! We were slightly panicking as we lived 30 minutes away.

Husband dawdled a bit, he rang the hospital, both our parents and then washed up the dishes before finally leaving the house! We knew we wouldn't be returning for three days because once you have had a baby in Canada they like you to stay 3 days if you have a normal delivery and 5 days if you have a Cesarean section.

We got to the hospital, were whisked through A&E and I was led to the maternity unit. I went into a 2 bed room where they checked me out and told me I was in labour and was going to be admitted.  I was then moved to the delivery room and it was here I was to stay for the next 12 hours. This room had everything you needed including an en-suite shower/ toilet for me and a big comfy leather chair for the husband as well as the baby crib complete with pink sheet because we knew it was a girl. Despite experiencing the most unimaginable pain ever, Poppy arrived into this world healthy and we were the happiest we could be. This photo was taken pretty much straight after the event:

Minutes after poppy was born
I then stayed in the hospital for three days in my own room. During this time Husband did not leave me once. There was pull out bed in the room for him and he just brought a sleeping bag. Under the baby  crib was a cupboard that was full of nappies, wipes, Vaseline, babygrow's and vests. I had taken my own clothes in but it was amazing it was all there for you.  There was a room where we could help ourselves to tea. coffee and fruit juice. New Mums were encouraged to drink plenty of apple juice as its supposed to be good for increasing milk.

On top of this we were taught how to hold, bath and change our baby. Luckily for me Poppy took to breast feeding immediately but there was a feeding specialist who came into check on me and would have offered help and advice if needed. This time in the hospital allowed us all to bond as a family and gain a little confidence before getting set loose in the world with our precious little bundle.

Next came Rosie.  She was induced a week late due to personal circumstances and was born in England.  I had to arrive at the hospital at 9am but was not seen until about 11am. During this time I was in a room with about 10-12 beds.  The staff were all very busy rushing around. I felt a bit like I was on a conveyor belt as everyone was there for the same reason.

Once again I was given the gel but this time I was not allowed to go home. I had to stay in the hospital and would not be allowed home until after the baby was born. To be honest it was only minutes later that I started to feel things happening.  I didn't like it one bit. Husband was in hysterics telling me it couldn't be happening so quickly but the midwife told me I was in labour with very mild contractions....mild? All the memories came flooding back and I was terrified.

After about half an hour I was told to go for a walk around the hospital grounds. Right easier said then done when you are having contractions. Husband wanted some lunch so we went to the restaurant where I almost threw up.  Next we sat outside in the sunshine and tried to relax.

I told the Midwife I really was in pain and needed some drugs. She checked me out and said they could break my waters to speed things up. last time this happened Poppy was born 40 minutes later so I knew it wouldn't be long.

Once my waters broke everything happened really quickly. I cannot explain how much pain I was in all I can say is I thought I was dying last time, this time I knew I was. I kept screaming for drugs and no one was taking me seriously. 23 minutes later much to the surprise of everyone Rosie was born. It was about a minute later when the drugs kicked in!!!

When they plonked her on my tummy all I could say was "its a baby" I was completely traumatised.

One traumatised Rosie with Daddy. I was not fit to be seen
About 20 minutes later I was moved to another room where there were 8 beds. At this point there was only us but women were wheeled in all night. Husband had to leave after about half an hour.  This was horrible. I knew I needed to sleep but still I wanted him to stay.  I don't know how I would have felt if it was the first experience, I think I would have cried. Once he left, I picked up Rosie to give her a cuddle when I noticed my baby was not even lying on a sheet. She had a paper one. At this point I did have a few tears. I had a sheet in my bag so quickly sorted her out. Then cuddled up and tried to sleep. I felt very alone. No one came to check I was okay, they were all far too busy.

I left the following morning, had I been a first time mum I would have not known anything.  I cannot fault the staff, they were doing the best they could but the whole experience felt like a conveyor belt.... one in and one out. They needed your bed space and apart from checking you had a car seat you were left to get on with it.

Very different experiences indeed but two beautiful baby girls who are loved equally by their doting parents!

Karen x

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Gallery - Guilty Pleasures

When I saw that this weeks topic over at the gallery was guilty pleasures I knew immediately what I would write about.

With two gorgeous little girls it easily has to be shopping!!

Girls clothes are so pretty. I love everything girly and of course pink!! A little bit of purple is creeping into their winter wardrobes but most of it is pink: bright pink, light pink I don't mind. Spotty, stripy or plain it does not matter as long as it is pretty. You will not find any trousers in there or anything too grown up, most of it is traditional girls dresses, and pretty cardigans, funky tights and tutus.

The top shelf of Poppy's Wardrobe

Lots of dresses for Rosie too
They each have a denim skirt and dress but no jeans for these girls. There is plenty of time for that! I am really fussy with colours too and can not stand all the browns, oranges and dull colours that appear to be in the shops this season. No I want to keep my little girls looking like little girls, pretty, girly and young, after all they are only 3 years and 14 months old.

I live in the middle of nowhere on the coast in South Devon and while it is very pretty the main drawback is that there are no shops to indulge in my guilty pleasure, probably good for our bank balance! Instead I resort to the internet. I love it when the girls are asleep, I settle back with either a glass of wine or cup of coffee and browse my favourite sites, purchasing when I see something I love.

For more guilty pleasures head over to Sticky Fingers to check out the other entries.

Karen x

Monday, 19 September 2011

Save The children - No Child Born To Die

If you only ever stop once to read one of my posts, please, please make it this one.

Saturday saw the first Save the Children Bloggers Conference put into motion ahead of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, where world leaders will meet and life changing decisions will be made. 

Fellow blogger, Chris Mosler along with Liz Scarff on behalf of Save the Children are once again leaving their own families behind and jetting off to New York a to put pressure on David Cameron to play his full part in solving the health worker crisis.  

What crisis you may ask?  Well let me explain. The 3.5 million global shortage of trained health workers which is leading to unnecessary and very much preventable deaths. As a Mummy I am very excited to be able to blog about something I feel passionately about and in some small way help this incredibly worthy campaign. 

You too can help and here's how;  
  • First, Chris will be handing over a petition and is aiming to get at least 60,000 signatures.  The figure currently sits around the 42,000 mark so we have our work cut out.  Please lets not let her and all those people whose voices can not be heard down. So if you haven't done so already, sign the petition, it takes less than 30 seconds and can help to change lives.
  • Next @HelloItsGemma and @michelletwinmum  want (need) to see 100 posts of 100 words linked up by Tuesday. If 100 bloggers each write a post about this and encourage more signatures that could make a massive dent in the 20,000 signature shortfall.
  • Write your 100 words about a great health professional you have encountered in your life. Add a link to the petition and either link or add in some information from Save the Children about the#Healthworkers campaign
  • Link to a number of other bloggers/ vloggers and ask them to do the same. 
  • Tweet about it, facebook mention it, remark on google plus, talk to your friends and families on the phone, whatever you can do to spread the word to just a few more people, please do it.
I know, I for one take everything I have for granted sometimes. We catch a glimpse of clips on TV and are shocked by what we see but cannot imagine life without technology, food, health care facilities and workers at our every beckon call.  Just imagine for one minute, a life where you can't drive to A&E so they can  check your infant over for the tenth time only to reassure you its just another cold, but instead walk for miles with your seriously sick baby who dies in your arms on the way.  We must help give these children the right to live.

and so i'll leave you with this, my 100 words about a great health professional I've encountered.

"She had a warm smiley face and a calm attitude. She was the one who broke my waters when my second baby was refusing to budge. She was patient and calm, even when I was screaming that I really was dying she held onto my hand, reassuring me that I was going to be ok. She was the one who delivered my little girl, who laid her on my tummy telling me how clever I was and how healthy my little princess was too. I will always be grateful to the midwife who delivered my daughter safely into this world "

Now I have to link people into this, i know many of you have doen it already but if you haven't please do. Its a very worthy cause.

Karen x

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Feeling More Yummy With Whiter Teeth

Each Saturday I write a post about my mission to turn myself from a tired and frazzled mummy into a much more yummy one by trialling and reviewing new beauty, fitness and fashion products or accessories. These days I am feeling much happier with myself but I am far from perfect.

A few months ago I saw a photo of myself and thought my teeth looked like they needed whitening. I brought various whitening toothpastes but couldn't use them because they tasted awful, making me want to vomit. You know that horrible fishy taste some whitening products have....yuck!

Then three weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to trial RetarDex a whitening toothpaste and oral mouthwash. Of course I jumped at the chance, I would love to have the perfect Hollywood smile and RetarDex is  clinically proven to whiten teeth in only 14 days.

    So what is so different about these product's? 

    Unlike most products, RetarDex oral rinse whitens the teeth in two ways: (1) the powerful oxygen release formula lifts stains to leave the teeth brighter, whilst (2) the anti-plaque formula helps prevent further staining.  Most whitening mouthwashes only do the latter.

    As well as reducing staining from food and drink, you will also find that RetarDex:

    • Kills the bacteria that causes gum problems, tooth decay and plaque
    • Eliminate bad breath compounds (VSCs), keeping your breath fresh all day long
    • Strengthens enamel
    • Fights plaque

    For best results use the two products together as I have. The toothpaste is a low abrasion formula offering safe, gentle and clinically proven whitening, whilst keeping your breath fresh and gums healthy.

    So what did I think of RetarDex?

    I was surprised and pleased to discover that Retardex is actually an unflavoured clear mouthwash. However if you do like that fresh sensation of mint there is a flavour sachet which comes with the product. All you do is pour the contents in, tighten the lid and shake. I tried it both ways and the minty taste is very mild and not unpleasant at all.

    I have been using both the toothpaste and the oral mouth wash for two weeks now and have had surprising results.  My teeth are now noticeably whiter, in fact I have to keep looking at them in the mirror (even Husband has commented). As an added bonus my breath feels super fresh all day long. 

    Honestly it was so easy, I just brushed my teeth as usual twice a day and used the mouthwash too. No severe scrubbing or messing around with trays etc. required. I would give this product a huge 9/10 and recommend it to others.

    RetarDex oral rinse is priced at £5.10 (250ml) and £8.15 (500 ml) and the toothpaste costs £6.15 (75ml). 

    Whilst not cheap it does actually work and provides a truly whiter smile. These products are available from Boots and  selected Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose, Booths, Superdrug, Ocado as well as all good Pharmacies and dental surgeries.

    They are  currently offering £2 off the mouthwash at the moment so now might be a good time to try it, you can click here to buy at the reduced rate:

    I am going to continue using these products as they are definitely working and have helped make me feel more yummy. I might not yet have my Celebrity smile but I am well on my way. I may even post a photo in a few weeks time if they get even whiter!

    If you have any beauty, fitness or fashion tips of your own feel free to leave a comment below.
    Karen x

    Friday, 16 September 2011

    Interview With The Britax Safety Expert

    "Britax are World Class Leaders"...that what I was told by a friend when I was pregnant for the first time and asked her which car seat to buy. Did I take just her advice? No not at all, on further investigation I discovered "Top European test organisations, such as independent motoring and consumer organizations, consistently rate Britax amongst the best and Britax constantly exceed legal safety requirements".

    We have Britax car seats for both our girls and would highly recommend them.  I even approached them directly on twitter when I needed some advice and found them to be very helpful. I recently wrote a review on our recent car seat purchase which you can read here.

    Last week I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to interview Mark Bennett, the Safety Expert for Britax. Having not been at work for four years I am a bit out of practice at doing this sort of thing and thought I had better get organised.  I didn't want to look or sound like the slightly dippy Mum I really am and came up with a list of 15 questions looking at development, installation, use with a child and the future of car seats.

    Mark himself was very friendly and approachable. He obviously knows his stuff and told me he could talk about it all day, but he made me feel at ease and I think it went pretty well. Although this post is quite structured, the conversation flowed and he answered many of my questions as we went along. Now obviously we chatted for sometime so I have had to shorten it a bit for the purpose of this post.

    Could you please start off by telling me about some of the testing Britax actually carries out on car seats other than the crash test dummies?
    In order to ensure that car seats are usable for parents, children and the different makes and models of cars, Britax do lots of behind the scenes work with both families and car manufactures finding out what they want and need. They get inside the cars and work with the brands to come up with child seat solutions that work.  An awful lot of dynamic work occurs from model stage to full production to ensure everything they do and the materials selected are optiumn for the job they intend to do. All of this needs to happen before they get anywhere near the crash test dummy phase we hear about.  Britax are constantly exceeding the legal safety requirements. 

    OK so clearly, all car seats have to meet a certain high standard, why is this not the same in all countries? I ask this because I lived in Canada 3 years ago and could not buy a Britax infant carrier.
    Australia and Canada  have their own safety standards. These standards are not better, worse or even safer, just different. Pretty much everywhere else follows the same European standards.

    What about when we go abroad, are we okay in most countries with our Britax car seats?
    It is always worth checking but generally you will be OK except in those countries previously mentioned. All Britax child car seats are tested and approved to the current Child Safety Standard ECE R 44/04.

    When you first start out you are bombarded with choice on make, model and styles of car seats.  Should you always go for an infant carrier first or are the combination car seats really OK for newborns?
    There is no right or wrong answer to this. Many people chose to skip the infant carrier because they do not intend to use a travel system, personal taste, lifestyle or financial reasons. The main plus point of having an infant carrier is that it is designed only for a baby so it is very optimised, making your baby feel very comfortable, protected and secure. Often a newborn will look very tiny in one of the larger combination seats although they are still safe. It is personal choice.

    Why is it important to have the right car seat for the weight of your child and not just the age?
    Cars seats are generally built based on the size of a child at the 50th percentile. Obviously not all children are the same size so will weigh differently at different ages. It is always best to check both and go with weight over age.

    Where is the safest position in the car for a car seat?
    The centre is thought to be the best place but this is not always possible as many cars do not have ISOFIX fittings in the middle. The next best place would be the curb side for obvious reasons when taking your little one out whilst parked at the side of the road.

    What do you think about car seats being in the front of the car?
    Car seats are safer in the back and furthest away from the most likely point of collission. If however, you have made the decision to put them in the front believing you will be less distracted and therefore a better driver, do make sure the seat is fitted properly and if its rear facing, that any airbags issues are resolved. A good investment with babies that are rear facing, are those small mirrors.

    Can a normal, sensible adult install a care seat or should you always go to an approved specialist?
    There is no reason why a normal, responsible parent could not fit a car seat, they are designed to be simplistic. There are now videos provided on the site to show you how its done and Britax even provide a QR code on all of their child car seats, infant carriers and brochures. Using a smart phone with internet access, you scan the code, download the APP and it will take you to the appropriate video. (Pretty impressive I thought). If this isn't for you can always go to a  store where they will either fit it for you or show you how its done properley.

    What do Britax think about the neck support cushions some families choose to use, are they safe?
    As long as they do not effect the size of the harness or the position of the childs head (ie  push the neck forward) they do not have a problem with them and they will have no critical effect on crash performance.

    Husband and I can never agree on how tight the straps should be, do you have any tips?
    Harness adjustment is really important. Always aim for shoulder height in the correct position. So with forward facing car seats you ideally want the shoulder strap level with the shoulder or slightly above, with a rear facing seat it is the reverse: either level with shoulders or slightly below. If like us you have the click safe seats, a good tip would be to get the child in the car seat, fasten the harness and pull it tight so they cant wiggle. Check their bottom is properley in the seat, check for any looseness around the shoulders and pull it tight again. As a rule of thumb you should be able to get two fingers (together flat side to side) between the child's body and the harness.

    At what age should you turn a child round to forward facing?
    Many parents rush to do it to soon, it is usually around the 12 month stage. If their head reaches the top of the infant carrier or they have reached 13kgs it also time to move them into the next seat. The length of your child's legs are inconsquential.

    We have a Britax Kidfix SICT for our eldest and already people have commented that she could be on an ordinary booster seat and that she wont sit in her seat until she is 12. Why is it that Britax do not sell booster seats without Side Impact Protection (SIP)?
    Clearly any seat is better than none but the ordinary booster seat offers no protection from a side impact. 25% of European accidents occur from the side. With figures like that it is just not worth taking the risk.

    I know that you need to change your car seat after having an accident but what if its just a tiny little bump, like when you are reversing into a parking space?
    Tiny bumps are OK but you will need to change it if doing more than 10kph and have caused body damage to car other than a few scrapes and/or the air bags went off.

    Is it okay to pass car seats on to siblings or friends?
    If you are talking about passing them onto siblings born a few years apart that's fine just be aware of expiry dates as some car seats have them. If you are talking about one of the combination seats that have been used from 0-12 ie Evolver 123, they are designed to last one lifetime so it wouldn't really be good to pass them on. Be very careful with buying second hand car seats. You can never be too sure if they have been involved in an accident or if they have been taken apart to clean, that they have been put back together properly.

    Finally we have seen the introduction of ISOFIX, Side Impact Protection (SIP) and Side Impact Cushioning Technology (SICT) what is next?
    Britax want to push the boundaries with perfomance and useability. As well as offering an enjoyable environment for your little ones they are always trying to develop the next new and improved car seat. The technology never stops and SIP is constantly evolving. Mark could tell me that more and more ISOFIX seats will have a top-tether, a third anchorage point in the car. From 2012 all new cars for use in Europe will have to have one of these....interesting stuff!

    So that's all of the questions I had. I would like to thank Mark on behalf of Britax for taking the time to answer them and hope it answered some of yours too.

    For more information you can check out the Britax Safety Centre Homepage

    Karen x

    Thursday, 15 September 2011

    A Very Special Giveaway With Huggies and Disney

    For those of you who didn't know, I recently won a competition with Huggies to see the screening of Winnie the Pooh. Unfortunately I couldn't make it but passed the fabulous prize onto a friend who could.  You can read all about their fantastic day out here.

    Anyway, Huggies who were voted the Best Disposable Nappy by Mother & Baby magazine 2010/2011 are the proud sponsors of this new film. Disappointed I could not make the screening, they have very kindly sent my family a huge package of gorgeous goodies to make up for it, including one very special goody bag to give away to one of my lucky readers.

    Within this bag you will find a variety of Huggies and Disney products including several packets of sample nappies (in your preferred size.

    Want to get your hands on it?

    All you have to do to be in for a chance of winning is:

    Follow me on GFC and leave me a comment below naming your favourite character from Winnie the Pooh. Don't forget to leave a way of contacting you too in case you are the lucky winner!

    For three extra chances you can:
    • Follow me on twitter
    • Like my Facebook page
    • Tweet the following "I would love to win an extra special goody bag from Huggies and Disney with @wouldliketobe "
    This competition is for UK residents only. It will close on 21st September at 7pm. The winner will be drawn at random and my decision will be final. The prize cannot be exchanged for anything else or a cash alternative. 

    A huge thank you to Huggies and good luck to you all.

    Karen x

    Wednesday, 14 September 2011

    The Gallery - A Happy Memory

    This weeks topic over at the gallery is a memory. Wow I have a million special memories that I could write about and struggled to pin it down to one. However, I did finally settle on one and it is about:

    Our Honeymoon

    Husband and I always knew we wanted to go to the Maldives for our honeymoon. We never really thought about how we would pay for it but it was our dream and we had our hearts set on it. It was one of those things we talked about and planned way before we set a date. Once the date was set we picked up all the brochures and poured over them trying to decide which of these beautiful islands would be the one.

    I remember going to visit husbands parents for the weekend around the time that we had actually started to plan our big day. That evening we were all sitting around enjoying a few glasses of wine when his Dad told us that they would like to pay for our honeymoon as a wedding present. Most normal couples would smile sweetly and say "thank you so much, how generous of you" but not us. No, I practically chocked on my wine and said "you're joking right?". Husband then chipped in with "you do know where we want to go don't you", classy I know.

    They were well aware of our dreams and had in fact been to two of the islands themselves. They had all the books and got them out that night. They told us they could really recommend Kuredu as a dream island which was where they went first but would not recommend the second. It was that night we excitedly decided on Kuredu:

    Borrowed this pic but gives you an idea
    Everything was booked and we even managed to get upgraded accommodation and flights, I really was going to be treated as a princess.

    We left for Keredu the day after our wedding. I must admit we had to bomb it down the motorway to reach Gatwick in time due to poor planning but luckily we made it on time. Husband even ordered champagne on the flight to start off our holiday in style.

    The Maldives really are the most beautiful place in the world. They are picture perfect. Beautiful bright blue skies, aquamarine sea and unspoilt beaches greet you just as promised:

    We enjoyed staying in beach villa only steps away from the ocean. They really were beautiful and very romantic with 4 poster beds decorated in flower petals, fantastic outside bathrooms and a turn down service every evening. One of the little things I loved was having a bowl of water on the decking to dip your feet in and clean the sand off your feet so you didn't tread it into your room. On the first morning Husband woke me at 5 am to enjoy a bottle of champagne whilst watching the sun rise. It was beautiful:

    We enjoyed every minute of our holiday. We relaxed and unwound, enjoyed each others company, we tried diving, windsurfing and went snorkeling daily. We went on romantic boat trips and enjoyed a picnic on a deserted beach for a morning. In the evening we indulged in cocktails and romantic strolls along the beach:

    I got a little sun burnt but pampering in the spa helped ease the pain:

    We had fun discovering the local wildlife. As well as the amazing array of colourful fish we saw sharks, dolphins, rays, turtles, bats and crabs:

    It truly was a magical honeymoon. Everything we hoped for and so so much more. A fantastic start to our marriage and one we were very grateful for.

    To check out for more magical memories then head over to sticky fingers

    Karen x