Friday, 21 March 2014

Sport Relief 2014

In order to raise money for Sport Relief, J’s school today asked all the kids to wear something red instead of normal uniform and donate some pennies I got J a Sport Relief t shirt from Sainsbury’s. The nursery class also completed an obstacle course.

Here’s J this morning -

I think it’s important for him to learn about things like fundraising for charity to learn that not everyone is as fortunate as he is. Participating in something like Sport Relief is easy for all ages and he was so proud of himself for completing the obstacle course it was the first thing he told me about when I collected him, and about how it was to raise money for boys and girls not so lucky as him and the other children in class.

I was very proud of him.

The No Make Up Selfie For Cancer Awareness


The latest craze to be sweeping Facebook right now (in case you’ve been living under a rock and somehow managed to miss all the photos popping up on your newsfeed) is the No Make-Up Selfie For Cancer Awareness (known as NMUSFCA) The idea behind this being that cancer doesn’t care what you look like / underneath it we are all the same and absolutely anyone can be affected by it.

The first person I was aware of to have cancer was my uncle Colin. I was 8 and my brother was a baby the first time I met him – he attended my brother’s Christening as my auntie’s guest. He became a permanent part of our lives, but at family functions I was fascinated that he would let me dance standing on his feet for much longer than my dad or granddad would. He told me it was because he couldn’t feel his feet. My dad explained that Colin had spinal cancer and that in an effort to try and eradicate it from him he’d had multiple operations on his spine and as a result was no longer able to feel his feet. At that point he’d been given six months to live. Colin lost his battle with cancer in 1999 – I was 18.

Since then, I found out my dad’s mum also had cancer before I was born – various relatives have battled cancer over the years and as I’ve got older I’ve seen friends do it, too. It never gets any easier to find out someone has cancer, regardless of how severe it is or what stage it’s at. You somehow know, before the words are spoken, what they are going to say and every time the words are spoken it hits you like a tonne of bricks.

My dad does voluntary car driving for the Royal Marsden, which is a world-leading cancer centre. He spends five days a week, sometimes getting up to collect a patient for an appointment at 7am, sometimes not getting home til 9pm. One time it took him four hours to take a patient home from her appointment due to snow fall. It then took him a further four hours to get home again. Sometimes he works more than five days a week – sometimes he’ll do additional patient journies after he’s finished his daily work sheet if they have a low number of voluntary drivers able to deal with the work. He does it willingly – the key to his job description here is ‘voluntary’ car driver. The only patients he takes to and from appointments are cancer patients, and they come in all ages and races, all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of cancer that they are receiving treatment to beat. Sometimes a patient becomes a regular, with frequent appointments and a friendly relationship building – sometimes the patient suddenly ceases to attend hospital appointments, and upon asking at the hospital when taking in another patient he finds out that cancer has claimed the life of someone else.

When my nan was diagnosed with a brain tumour I was 24. It was a year after we’d mourned the passing of my granddad, and we were nursing her in her own home within a few weeks of diagnosis. Toward the end, we had the assistance of some fantastic MacMillan nurses who were arranged to help us care for nan at home. It was a difficult time but we knew it was what she would prefer. She rapidly became worse and died on 10th October 2005.

So it is for both my nans, for uncle Colin, for all my relatives, all my friends and every person who is in remission from cancer, who is currently battling cancer and who lost their fight. I show you my #nomakeupselfie to raise awareness for cancer research and to encourage everyone to do the same, and make a donation, and really try to make a difference and together we will kick cancer’s butt.

I have checked. I have donated.

Have you?

Text BEAT to 70007 to donate £3 to Cancer Research UK

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Sorry I've been quiet ...

I was quiet for the month of February for a number of reasons – one was how busy I was with work, and struggling to find that balance of work / home life – another reason was that since the death of my grandfather, February has always been a dark month for me emotionally.  This year was particularly hard as it was the 10 year anniversary.

The month of March has begun on a high with some brilliant family news though, so the clouds are starting to lift.

Maxi-Cosi Rodi XP

I’ve used – and been a huge fan of – the Maxi-Cosi Opal in my car since J was 9 months old. At that point – and for many more months – he used the Opal rear facing. At 12.5kg he required an additional harness height on the Opal that indicated he had to turn forward facing. He was a tall 19 month old at that point.

The next stage up for J was a Group 2 carseat. These are available, but more commonly you will find a combination Group 1 & 2 carseat or a combination Group 2 & 3 carseat (there are seats available which are Group 1,2 & 3 but I’ve never used one of these) The Opal is a Group 0+ & 1 combination, meaning it is suitable from birth to 13kg rear facing, and to 18kg forward facing. Group 2 & 3 combination seats are for 15-36kg. As J grew taller I was concerned about the lack of further harness height adjustment I had – he had been using the top setting for a while, but it remained level with his shoulders for a long time.

Credit to 

One evening, we were going through some junk from the cupboard in the front bedroom that we’re in the process of sorting out to put all of J’s stuff in there (at the moment he sleeps in that room and has his toys in there, but all his clothes are in his old room which is really annoying!) Anyway we found a set of scales so J wanted to know what they were for, and we ended up weighing him. I was astounded to realise my lanky little boy was 17kg! Despite looking so slight, he’s solid and at around 103cm tall while he’s not right at the top end of the percentile height wise for his age anymore, he has increased on the weight side. At that point I realised – even if the harness remained suitable for him for another however long, he was only 1kg away from being too heavy for the Opal anymore anyway!

As a big fan of Maxi-Cosi, given that all my previous carseats have been that brand and I’ve been very happy with them, I naturally looked to the Maxi-Cosi Collection for the Group 2/3 carseat.

There’s a wide variety, all within the ‘Rodi’ name – RodiFix, Rodi Air Protect, Rodi XP and Rodi SPS. The RodiFix was pointless for me – I don’t have IsoFix in my car, so it was an unnecessary addition to pay for. Rodi Air Protect, Rodi XP or Rodi SPS were all suitable for my car, but in the end I went for the XP purely because I could get it in Navy, as he’s always had black or red carseats before. (Ideally I’d love an Air Protect in Kids Choice Magic for him!)

It felt very strange the first time I placed the Rodi in the car and J climbed into it. You don’t put the seatbelt around the seat to anchor it into place and then use a harness for the child; the child and the seat are held using the three point seatbelt. With the Rodi you thread the diagonal belt through the red guide on the bottom of the headrest section and once this is adjusted correctly to lead that belt across the child’s shoulder (not cutting into the neck) the headrest is in the correct position as well. It’s simple to adjust – just grip the headrest section and you’ll feel a shaped piece with four grooves just right for your fingers to grab – lift it up and the headrest will now move up and down. Release it at the correct height and click it into place. The child in the seat, the seatbelt goes through the second red guide at the child’s hip for the lap belt to be hip to hip on the child, not across the soft part of their tummy. Out the guide on the other side and lock the seatbelt into place. I do take the slack out of the seatbelt even though I know in an accident the inertia would lock the belt – however I prefer to ensure the chances of him managing to wriggle out or move around too much are minimised from the start.

Maxi-Cosi Rodi XP User Manual pages 8 - 9

The first journey I found quite weird because I’m so used to him being in a carseat with a harness, and every time I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw him I just kept thinking how grown up he suddenly looked in his ‘big boy’ booster seat. We got to the shops and went into the supermarket – he told everyone he could that he was in a “big boy blue booster seat” and whether or not they all understood him they all nodded and he was very pleased with the overall reaction!

First time in the Maxi-Cosi Rodi XP going to the supermarket in my car

To be honest with you I’m still struggling with the idea of my baby boy now being in this carseat, but he tells me it is comfortable and he likes it, and he can see well out of the window so he is happy. I will be happier once I am a bit more used to the idea I think. The fact that it is so easy to install means I can easily move it between my car and my parents-in-laws car if I need to.  I rate this carseat and would say it is definitely worth the RRP for the amount of use you’ll get out of it.

On the way to Grandma & Grandad's House

To determine if the Maxi-Cosi Rodi XP is suitable for use in your vehicle please take the car to your local Maxi-Cosi retailer and ask for a carseat fitter trained member of staff to provide a physical fitting prior to purchase.

*** UPDATE ***


J continues to be very comfortable in his Maxi-Cosi RodiAP and has been dropping off to sleep a lot more often since travelling in this seat vs travelling in the RodiXP. I don’t know if this is co-incidence or if the seat is more comfortable – it certainly seems more thickly padded. With recline option as well he can get really comfy – I tend to recline it before he gets in and we set off on any journey that is going to take more than an hour. He’s not been carsick again since swapping to this model either.

At four years and 2 months old he is approximately 107cm. I haven’t weighed him in a while so I don’t know how much he’s put on recently but he remains a very slender build. 

*** These views are entirely my own. I am not paid to write this material and do so in my own time.***