Mini First Aid – the course every parent should take

motherhood, Reviews

It’s the stuff of nightmares, the stuff you don’t want to think about but if the worst were to happen you’re going to want to know what to do, especially when it can make the difference between life or death. I’m talking about finding your baby or child unconscious or choking or suffering a severe burn. Would YOU know what to do?

Then of the course there is the more commonly-occurring, almost everyday stuff; bumps and bruises, cuts, temperatures, nosebleeds, rashes etc. Are you familiar with the up-to-date advice on how you should deal with these things? Did you know that cold flannels will make a child’s temperature worse? That butter should never be applied to burns? That ibuprofen should not be used if a child has chicken pox?

WebMini First Aid run 2 hour workshops for parents / grandparents / carers and cover everything you need to know. These workshops take place across the UK (there are 41 franchises) and cost just £20. I recently attended one in Devon run by the lovely Liz, a mum of three boys (like me!) and someone who has dealt firsthand with a number of a medical emergencies. Not only through being a parent of three boys but through 13 years spent working as cabin crew. She has dealt with everything from cardiac arrest to delivering a baby, all whilst 40,000 feet in the sky!

I cannot recommend doing the course highly enough, in fact I’d go as far as saying it’s probably the best £20 you can spend if you’re a parent, but for now, here’s some top tips:

FIRST AID KIT

  • Get one for your house
  • Make sure you replace items as you use them
  • Make sure everything is in date
  • Should include stuff like
    • Plasters, bandages, tweezers, safety pins, burn gel sachets, tough cut scissors, antiseptic wipes, calpol/nurofen, germolene, antihistamine, inhalers (if child has one).

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

  • 111 – out of hours service
  • 999 – emergency number in the UK
  • 112 – emergency number in the UK and across Europe

CPR – CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION

Remember DR ABC:

  • Danger – check the area and remove any danger
  • Response – check for response by calling out, pinching earlobe, tickling feet
  • Airway – tilt head back to open airway and check for obstruction
  • Breathing – put your cheek to child’s mouth and look for chest rising – give it 10 seconds
  • Circulation – no longer have to check for pulse, if child is not breathing, commence CPR

CPR always starts with 5 rescue breaths, followed by 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths. The 30 compressions and 2 breaths are then repeated continuously until the child starts to breath again.

Once breathing the child is put in recovery position – if you don’t know the recovery position just put the child on their side and hold them there.

If you’re alone, call 999 after you’ve given the first 5 rescue breaths and completed one minute of CPR as it’s so important to get breath into the child as soon as possible.

Babies and children are treated slightly differently. Babies are those under 1 year, children are those older than a year. It’s still 5 rescue breaths and then 30 compressions and 2 breaths on repeat but how you do these breaths and compressions differs slightly.

BURNS

Regarding sunburn and more importantly sunburn prevention, the advice is now to use a suncream with an SPF of 30 on children rather than 50. You may need to top up more often but it’s meant to be better for a child as it allows some sun through and children need the Vitamin D. When buying look for a cream with a high UVA rating.

Treating a burn

  • Run under COLD water for a minimum of TEN MINUTES. This is the single best thing you can do for your child. They may kick and scream but persevere.
  • If you have a burn gel, use it. Burn gel sachets are great to keep in your first aid kit and work as a painkiller and an antiseptic.
  • Loosely wrap the burn in clingfilm.
  • Seek medical advice if needed

NOSE BLEEDS

These are fairly common and in fact just after completing the course I was on the phone to a friend whose 1 year old had one. Luckily I knew what to do!

  • Face down, hold bridge of nose.
  • If bleeding continues after ½ hour seek advice.

KNOCKING A TOOTH OUT

If it’s a second tooth, put it straight back in and get the child to bite down on something to hold it in place! Then seek medical advice.

CHOKING

Every parent’s biggest fear when it comes to weaning is surely choking. Make sure you’d know what to do if it happened.

With grapes and cherry tomatoes, make sure you cut them in half or quarters. The texture of these makes them stick in the throat. Similarly marshmallows are sticky and can cause choking.

ALWAYS BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS KIDS WHEN THEY ARE EATING.

Choking is SILENT so you need to have your EYES ON YOUR CHILD.

Gagging is noisy, choking is silent. Gagging is ok and normal, choking is an emergency.

The gagging reflex in babies in particular is very far forward so they will gag quite a bit when learning to eat. There is no need to intervene if your child is gagging. This is their way of bringing up the food.

If your baby is choking…

  • Put your baby across your knees, face down and tilted forwards so gravity is on your side.
  • Give 5 hard slaps between the shoulder blades (hard enough to leave a mark). Use the base of your hand.
  • If this doesn’t work, turn your baby over and place two fingers on his/her chest and push in an inwards and upwards motion 5 times.
  • Repeat back slaps and chest thrusts until the object has been forced out. If they stop breathing commence CPR.

If you ever have to do chest thrusts, even if the baby seems fine afterwards, you need to get checked out by a medical professional.

If your child is choking…

  • 5 hard backslaps between shoulder blades
  • Wrap your arms around your child from behind, with your arms going under their armpits. Make a fist and then you need to do 5 thrusts inwards and upwards. Your fist should be above the bellybutton but under the ribs.
  • If the child falls unconscious commence CPR.

Again if you ever have to do the chest thrusts then get checked out at the hospital afterwards.

FEBRILE SEIZURE

1 in 20 babies will experience a seizure so it’s pretty common and therefore important that you know what to do. Febrile seizures are the baby’s way of cooling the body down.

  • Don’t pick your baby up if they are experiencing a seizure!
  • Once it has passed, put your baby in recovery position.
  • Take their clothes off.
  • Open the windows.
  • Use a fan if you have one.
  • Aim to cool baby down but NO COLD FLANNELS!

(People used to use cold flannels to try and reduce fevers but now we know this can raise the body’s core temperature so is NOT recommended).

PAIN RELIEF

For fevers you can alternate between ibuprofen and paracetamol (OBVIOUSLY CHECK THE LABELS AND NEVER GIVE ABOVE THE RECOMMENDED DOSE FOR YOUR BABY / CHILD).

However, what I learnt was that ibuprofen should be avoided with chicken pox and asthma. There is some research to suggest ibuprofen can make matters worse in these cases.

Mini First Aid Devon

I hope the above is useful but know that it cannot in any way replace actually doing a first aid course. On the mini first aid course I did we also covered breaks and fractures, immunisations, meningitis, head bumps, cuts and grazes, shock and of course how to actually perform life-saving CPR correctly.imgres

This is not an ad but simply genuine endorsement. I believe every parent should do a course so they know what to do in a medical emergency. A 2 hour course with Mini First Aid costs just £20 and could quite literally save your baby or child’s life.

There are classes across the UK so if you’d like to do a course then here’s the link to find one near you: minifirstaid.co.uk/regions/

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The nights a breast pump saved my life

motherhood, Reviews

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Breast pumps have been liberating women since their inception! Offering the freedom of a night off, be that to catch up on much-needed sleep, party (we can dream) or just work.

I remember vividly the first time I used a breast pump. It was February 2007, (almost 10 years ago- eek!!) and with my due date long gone I was eager to get my labour going and avoid an induction. I twiddled my nipples (it’s a thing look it up) and pumped using a handheld manual pump throughout the entire movie of Happy Feet in a desperate bid to get the oxytocin flowing. All I got was RSI.

That manual pump was hard work but later it saved my nipple from falling off. Breastfeeding was tough and painful at first, I’d probably got the latch all wrong and Oisin fed ferociously. I was determined to do it though so persevered through gritted teeth. The pump enabled me to keep feeding Oisin breastmilk whilst giving my nipples a break from bring gnawed on, thus allowing them to heal.

Second time round I bought a secondhand electric medela swing pump and it was amazing!! So easy in comparison. I discovered I could pump for 20 minutes straight without getting cramp in my hand or even breaking a sweat. I found I could pump whilst drinking a cuppa and reading a magazine with Arlo snoozing beside me. I had a pretty good set up going on if I say so myself.

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I pumped a lot regularly second time round because it was so easy. We got into a nice little pattern of James feeding Arlo expressed breastmilk on a Friday night to give me a night off (to sleep) and then early Saturday morning I’d pump to ease the inevitable engorgement from missed feeds then pop it straight in the freezer ready for the following Friday! God I loved those Fridays!! Living for the weekend took on a whole new meaning.

I also credit the pump for getting Arlo to sleep through the night. He used to wake so often at night and have these big long feeds then tiny top ups throughout the day. My milk therefore came in big time at night and not so much in the day. Because I couldn’t live a nocturnal life forever I had to switch things round. I took to pumping diligently; every single feed, every day, for about a week. This way I was able to ensure Arlo was getting all the milk he needed during daylight hours. Almost overnight he started sleeping better and eventually we cracked it! Whoop Whoop!!

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By the time my third came along I was offered a medela swing maxi to try out. The maxi is basically the double version. If the original swing was amazing then this was even more so. Now it was not only easy to pump one bottle, but I could get TWO in one sitting. Time saver. Game changer.

To be totally honest I don’t know what I’d do without the pump. It has been a genuine lifesaver. As a busy mum of three, juggling running a business with raising children, there are times when I have to be away from my baby. Without the pump I would have to frequently throw formula at the situation. Not that I have a problem with formula and I do sometimes use it, but my breastfeeding journey would probably have been cut short as a result, which would have been upsetting. I really want to be able to feed Foxy until he’s at least one. The pump has allowed me to continue breastfeeding but with time off. It’s been totally liberating and has saved me on many a night.

I’ve been recommending the medela swing for some time – both on my blog and to my mates – but now I’d say definitely look at getting the maxi. If you’re going to sit there pumping you might as well get two bottles for the time it takes to express one.

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So after clocking up a considerable amount of hours pumping over the past decade, here’s my TOP FIVE TIPS for a successful expressing session:

1. Make sure you’ve got a nice cup of hot tea ready and in position. This is ESSENTIAL.

2. Make sure you’ve got snacks to hand before you start. You need the calories when you’re breastfeeding, same goes with expressing. My choice of snack is biscuits but yours might be carrot sticks. Whatever. It’s all good.

3. Make sure you have entertainment to hand e.g. a remote for the TV or a magazine or a book or your phone. You probably don’t just want to sit there staring at a wall else it will feel tedious.

4. Ideally pump when baby is asleep so you don’t have to try and attend to anything else. Baby juggling whilst pumping can result in spillage of precious milk, which is more than a little frustrating (speaking from experience)

5. Best time to pump is in the morning. This is usually when you have the most milk.

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And remember you can store breastmilk in the fridge for 5 days and the freezer for 6 months! Further info on storing breastmilk can be found here.

Happy pumping Mamas!

REVIEW: SNUZPOD BEDSIDE CRIB

Reviews

I hold my hands up! I am a TOTAL CONVERT. It’s taken me three babies but I have finally settled upon what I believe to be the PERFECT sleeping set up. It’s the uber popular SnuzPod 3 in 1 bedside crib and Sleepyhead Deluxe Baby Pod combo. After years of singing the praises of the simple (and very affordable) John Lewis moses basket and stand, I have now come to the conclusion that splashing that bit more cash is worthwhile and justified. I officially stand corrected; I did not know what I was missing out on.

So let me tell you some of the reasons why I love my SnuzPod…

  • It looks B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. The cribs are made from solid wood, come in a range of pretty colours and all the bedding bundles are bang on trend. I love the yellow and grey ‘Cloud 9’ set best. I have the crib sheets, the blanket and the swaddle blanket, all of which are excellent.
  • It is has multiple uses! You can use the SnuzPod as a stand-alone crib, a bedside crib or a portable bassinet, hence the ‘3 in 1’. I mostly use mine as a bedside crib which means I have it right next to my bed (comes with straps you can use to secure it to your bed) with the side zipped down so I can easily slide baby in and out. This is especially great if, like me, you’re still breastfeeding through the night… yawn! As a stand-alone crib you simply zip the side up and you can then have the SnuzPod wherever you like. It is also possible to lift the crib out of the stand altogether and use it as a portable bassinet but I would say this is not the easiest thing to do because, being solid wood and quite large, it is very heavy. So in my opinion not that portable.

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  • It lasts! The upside to the fact it’s large is that it lasts waaaaay longer than a moses basket which not only means you get more use out of it but you also avoid the annoyingly tricky bit that happens every time: baby outgrows moses basket at approximately 8-12 weeks but is too young to be moved into their own room where their cot is. So you end up having to buy another crib to bridge this gap or squish the full sized cot into your bedroom which takes up more room than most people have down the side of their bed!! The SnuzPod is so roomy and solid that it’s going to be easily able to accommodate baby until he’s at least 6 months. My baby is already 5 months + and is nowhere near filling it out. This means when the time comes I can simply transition baby from SnuzPod to his big boy cot in his own room… That’s going to be a pretty heartbreaking day. Everyone says it, but doesn’t it just go so fast?!

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  • It’s sturdy! The other reason the SnuzPod is on the heavy side is that it’s solid and well made. This is no flimsy crib that you have to worry will collapse or tip over when baby rolls over (lightweight wicker moses basket I’m looking at you!). The SnuzPod feels safe and stable and I for one am definitely going to rate that above the need for it to be mega portable. I also know it will last. It feels like the kind of crib you could save and pass down through generations. Heirloomy if you will!
  • It’s worth the price tag! Which leads me to the next bit: price. It’s not as cheap as your basic £35 moses basket, but it is so much more. If you’re planning on having more than one child you can be sure you’ll be able to use it time and time again. They also have an excellent re-sale value so if you do want to pass it on once you’ve finished using it you can be sure you’ll get over half of your money back. They currently retail new for approximately £200 which includes the mattress. If that’s too much of a stretch see if you can find one secondhand and then buy yourself a new mattress. You’ll find they’ve generally been very well looked after.

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If you don’t want to take my word for it then just check out the amount of awards the SnuzPod has won; its trophy shelf speaks for itself. Hands down this is the best sleeping set up you’re going to find for your baby on the market today.

 

In the interests of full disclosure; I was invited to be part of the Snuz Momma Blog Project and was lucky enough to be given the SnuzPod 3 in 1 bedside crib to test out. However I have not been paid to say any of the above and everything I’ve written is my honest opinion based on my experience of using the Snuz Pod for the past 5 months.

 

 

 

PREPARING FOR BIRTH – THE BABYMOON (Disneyland Paris Review)

Preparing for Birth, Reviews

THE ONE WHERE WE TOOK THE KIDS

(& loads of photos!)

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Admittedly it’s a bit of an oxymoron as traditionally a Babymoon is a chance to get away with your other half before the birth of your baby i.e. without the baby (or any other kids for that matter!), to remind yourself just one last time what life was like pre-kids when you were free to be spontaneous and wild. Although the whole being wild is somewhat mediated by the fact you’re heavily pregnant and therefore can’t actually be that wild…

When you’ve got kids already though things are slightly different. Not least because you can’t really remember what life was like before they came along so it’s more difficult to recreate those distant memories. But saying that it’s still nice to get away and spend some time together before you go from a family of 3 to 4 or 4 to 5 in our case.

 

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So I had a Babymoon last pregnancy and have one planned this time too (will be blogging about that very soon! Roll on Friday! Whoop Whoop!). If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to have a break from the kids and get some decent sleep when you’re at your most knackered, so why not take it?!

But it’s not just your relationship with your partner that is set to change with the arrival of a new baby, just as significantly is the change of dynamic that occurs for your existing children with the arrival of a new sibling! So I like to do a ‘Babymoon’ with them too! To spend some time together doing something special before everything changes for them.

 

 

Last time at 34 weeks pregnant I planned a whole weekend of fun with my eldest, just him and I. On the Friday night the fun began when we went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. On Saturday we had brunch at our favourite spot in Brixton Village before visiting this old fashioned sweet shop just off Bond Street (down a little hidden cobbled street) that we had been meaning to find for a while. Then with bags stuffed with more sugar than we could consume without being sick, we headed off on a duck tour! A duck tour is basically a tour around London in a yellow tank-type vehicle that can be driven right into the Thames. It’s half road vehicle, half boat. It’s proper touristy but really fun! The next day we went to Legoland for the day. We were there from morning until park closing time, riding all the rides and taking in the mega firework display at the end! It was October half term so there were some extra special Halloween-related activities. It was so much fun, albeit totally exhausting, but we have so many memories of our weekend of fun before little Arlo Bear came into our lives.

 

This time with two kids to entertain we upped our Babymoon game and headed off on a proper Mini adventure to Paris! In an actual Mini! That’s right, a family of four with a weekend’s worth of luggage including a pram, drove to Paris in a Mini! It was surprisingly ok.

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We took the Mamas and Papas Armadillo Flip XT which was great for so many reasons:

  1.  It folds down super compact and fits in the Mini’s boot (even leaving room for 2x bags!).
  2. With the footmuff it’s the cosiest thing ever, which given we were going to Paris on a cold wet weekend in February was only a good thing.
  3. It’s built for naps! The seat reclines to flat, the liner is super plush and squidgy which makes it really comfy, there’s a foot plate bit (not the technical term) which extends and lifts up meaning baby’s legs aren’t left to dangle over the edge and the hood is absolutely enormous and can be pulled right over, transforming the buggy into a cosy dark little cave which fully protects baby from the elements.
  4. It has a seriously roomy basket underneath which was meant we didn’t have to lug our stuff about all day and on the rides!

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Since we planned to visit Disneyland and be there for the full 12 hours until 10pm at night (!) having somewhere for Arlo to sleep was really important. We had considered going without the buggy and just hiring one at the park in order to free up some space in the Mini but when we saw what was on offer at the park we were so glad we brought the Flip XT with us! The hire pushchairs at the park were really basic, no padding at all and not even a recline option. They looked just like the metal wheelchairs you find in hospital for transporting patients between floors! Arlo would have been unable to sleep and mega mega grumpy as a result! We would probably have had to leave early. So we were so glad we’d brought our own especially as the Flip XT is practically a bed on wheels! Arlo was obviously happy too because he spent many hours tucked up inside sleeping- making his tired mama very jealous!!

(If interested you can read my full review of the Mamas and Papas Armadillo Flip XT here).

Anyway enough with the pram chat! So I’m 34 weeks pregnant, just like last time, but this time round it’s not just Oisin and I, but also Arlo (as he’s due to become a big bro too) and James (aka Daddy). So the whole troupe.

 

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We set off from Folkestone on Friday morning catching an early-ish Eurotunnel crossing. Typically we arrived with not much time to spare before our crossing so were able to drive straight through and onto the train. The crossing itself is only about half an hour and the drive to Paris is less than 3 hours. So it really is very easy and very quick! We often drive to Devon and Manchester visiting family and that takes longer than driving to Paris!!

We booked to stay at a new hotel called B&B hotel Disneyland Paris. It’s not an official Disney hotel on the park site itself (those cost a bomb) but it’s somehow loosely affiliated with Disney and is listed on their website as a ‘Partner Hotel’. It’s about a mile away from the park and is in an area where there are a number of hotels all existing for the sole purpose of accommodating Disneyland guests.

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The hotel is basic but brand new so everything is really clean and most importantly working! It was a total bargain- £135 for the 2 nights for a family of 4 and that included breakfast for us all. There’s also a free bus shuttle to the park from the hotel which takes 5-10mins. Bearing in mind it’s February half term we thought that was a great deal.

The breakfast was great too- maybe not so much the scrambled egg which looked a little dubious but there were plenty of cereals, yoghurts, croissants, brioche, freshly squeezed juices etc. on offer. And it was all you can eat, so we ate loads, obvs.

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The bedroom had a kingsize bed and two singles all with actual duvets not the annoying sheet and blanket combo you often get. The shower was good (in strength and temp- nothing worse than a weak shower) and the towels were new and relatively fluffy. It was free to park at the hotel for the duration of our stay and the free shuttle to the park saved us quite a bit as I’m sure the parking at Disneyland doesn’t come cheap. Also I imagine the queues in and out wouldn’t have been much fun.

The only negatives of the hotel were that the mattresses were HARD and there were no toiletries or tea making facilities in the rooms. But other than that it was great and definitely did the job. I wouldn’t certainly recommend and look to stay there again next time we visit Disney!

I don’t really need to review Disneyland itself because you either love it or hate it. I firmly fall into the first category. I love the magic, the lights, the music, the rides, the colour, the nostalgia and the escapism. Twice round ‘it’s all a small world’ and there was a definite improvement in my mental state of wellbeing. And seeing my kids’ faces light up also brings me much joy. Oisin was giddy with excitement (and terror-induced adrenaline) after a go on ‘Space Mountain’ and even Arlo was flapping his little arms and squawking with happiness on ‘it’s a small world’ (hence we went round twice).

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The fact it was February meant the weather wasn’t great but that was offset by the fact that the queues were also greatly reduced in comparison to when I’ve been previously in August, smack bang in the middle of the school summer hols! Beautiful blue skies last time but also 90min queues for every single ride and sometimes even longer. February brought grey skies and drizzle but the queues were never more than 30 mins and most of the time less. Many rides only had 5-10 min queue times which was nothing.

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Also one (rather large) bonus of going when heavily pregnant was that we got an easy access pass, allowing the whole family to skip the queue for rides that were suitable for pregos. So that ruled out the rollercoasters. And we had to queue for Pirates of the Caribbean, which was deemed too dangerous for a pregnant person (although weirdly babies were allowed?!).

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So overall I’d say it was better going at this time of year, despite the weather; we got to go on a lot more rides and spent a lot less time standing in queues. Tickets for the park are also cheaper off peak. But saying that, if you can time your pregnancy with the summer break and get an easy access pass, then that might be the ultimate plan! Sunshine and queue jumping sounds good.

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One last tip for Disney: TAKE A PICNIC!! A friend text me before I went saying Disney was ‘full of horrible food and horrible people’. I thought this was harsh until I sampled the culinary disappointment. Then I understood where she was coming from. It wouldn’t be so bad if the food was gross but at least cheap or if it was expensive but tasty. But expensive and gross is the worst combo of the lot. And that’s exactly what’s on offer! Expect to pay 50 Euro for lunch for 3 people and get some pasta slop that tastes worse than a 90s school dinner served with a watered-down carbonated drink. I really really really wish we had taken our own picnic. For the same money we could have had a delicious spread with snacks and treats to last the whole day! We will definitely be doing this next time.

So there we have it – my review of our Mini adventure to Disneyland Paris at 34 weeks pregnant for a Babymoon, with the kids!

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I’m now sat in the car at Calais, writing this whilst waiting to board our train home, and despite the pain I was in last night after a whole day on my feet lugging the bump (and extra lbs) about, I definitely hope we come back soon! Not quite sure how we will manage with 2x babies and a double buggy but I’m sure we’ll give it a go! Although probably not in a Mini, hey…!

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A Day in the Life for Mamas and Papas

motherhood, Reviews

So when Mamas and Papas got in touch and asked me if I’d like to take their new Armadillo Flip XT out for a spin, of course I said yes! So with the boys in tow, we set off to Devon to put it to the ultimate off-road test. Here’s how I got on….

So me, James and the kids made it down to Devon and when I said ‘made it’ I don’t exaggerate! Travelling by train from London with 3x changes, a baby, a boy, a bump, a buggy, a car seat, a highchair (yes, really) and ALL our luggage was a MISSION. But anyhow, we are here now and off to embrace the beautiful countryside… shame it’s absolutely tipping it down outside… and I didn’t pack wellies! Eeek!

10.30am

We are meeting up with my long-time buddy Hannah this morning, and her husband and two children. We have known each other since we started secondary school, a whole 18 years ago! We are also both pregnant with number three, AT THE SAME TIME! So exciting! Hannah lives on Dartmoor so of course her and her fam are kitted out properly. Mine less so. I did not have enough arms to cart full wet weather gear for all on the mammoth train mission and in the interest of travelling light (lols) we only came with the pair of shoes we had on our feet. The plan is to hike up to Haytor – is our Armadillo up to the job?? Is our footwear?? Will we even survive?! We shall see…

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11.30am

We have made it to Haytor! It wasn’t easy but the Armadillo Flip XT passed the ultimate off-road test. We have battled potholes, boulders and bog land in the pouring rain, and uphill all the way! It’s so cold I can no longer feel my fingers – or toes! In fact my beautiful red suede boots were no match for the weather and are now water logged. What an error in footwear choice. Arlo Bear is fast asleep despite the rocky ride – that’s testament to the comfort of the Armadillo Flip XT if ever there was one! He is properly passed out *checks for pulse*.
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12pm

Oisin is having a great time looking for letterboxes in the old quarry – he has found 9.5 he proudly tells me! .5 because one letterbox was in fact missing the box element and only a lid remained. I have not joined him on his hunt because there is a stile to get over and as good as the Armadillo is – it doesn’t levitate sadly. Letterboxing is really good fun for kids. If you don’t know what it is let me try and explain… it’s kind of like a treasure hunt but the ‘treasure’ is a box with a stamp in it. You can collect the stamps in a book but you have to put the box back for someone else to find. There is an orienteering element if you do it properly but on Dartmoor there’s loads for kids to find without being proficient in the use of a compass.

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1pm

We are headed back downhill now (PHEW) to Ullacombe Farm Cafe! Can’t wait for a hot chocolate and maybe a cream tea or a hot soup, or both. I’m pregnant so anything goes, right? 😉 As much as I love the great outdoors and fresh air (and I really do), I’m not totally loving that my boots are waterlogged and I’ve lost all feeling in my extremities. Fingers crossed for an open fire…

1.30pm

AHHHH warmth!!! And there’s a woodburner so we can dry our stuff! We do look like a strange crew. Picture this: My friend’s family all fine but mine… Oisin slipped and obviously wasn’t wearing waterproof trousers so his jeans are soaked and caked in mud meaning he’s now sat in his pants (!!) in the cafe with a blanket wrapped round him like a sarong (!!) and I’ve got no shoes or socks on as they’re drying! We are getting some very funny looks. We look like the bunch of ill-prepared urbanites that we probably are.

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2pm

Food has arrived! Obviously I over-ordered. Arlo Bear has what looks like an adult-sized portion of macaroni cheese (his new fave), Osh has gone for ham, egg, chips and peas and I’ve got a giant jacket potato stuffed with tuna mayo. Honesty I eat far too many JPs. They are my main pregnancy craving. Last time round I was eating one a day, almost every day, this time I’m trying to limit my intake. We also have a cream tea to share, obvs. When in Devon, hey??

2.30pm

Now we’re off to catch up with some other old friends of mine and we’re going to the beach!! Mental maybe but it’s stopped raining and I so miss living near the sea. It’s one of my favourite bits about going home.

3pm

This is Shaldon, not too far from where I grew up. We can’t really go play on the beach today but at least we can walk alongside and breathe in the sea air. The sand is red here – isn’t it amazing how sand comes in all different colours?!

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3.30pm

Check out these cute beach huts! You can actually stay in them and on the other side the doors open right on to the beach. Not really big enough for a boisterous noisy family like my own but perfect for a child-free getaway… babymoon maybe? Hope you’re reading J.. wink wink.

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5pm

Home time now and I am ready to put my feet up with a good strong cuppa!! So good being back in Devon – truly good for the soul being in the countryside. The Armadillo Flip XT has been awesome – it’s been off-roading, it’s been fully reclined for Arlo’s nap, it’s been parent-facing and forward-facing (it’s so easy to swap around). Plus when you collapse it down, it collapses as one and the fabric folds inwards so even if the wheels are super muddy (as they are) the actual fabric of the pram remains clean. With lots of other buggies you end up getting muck all over the pram seat. So yep, thumbs up from me for the Armadillo Flip XT! Now I just hope my boots scrub up… SPOILER: They don’t.

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Sound like your kind of pushchair? Find out more about the Armadillo Flip XT.