Wednesday, 21 January 2015

What You Should Know About Carseat Harness Safety & Winter Coats

As is always the way when the colder weather strikes, the debate about children wearing thick winter jackets or snowsuits in carseats rears its head. To me, there’s no debate about it – a simple don’t do it is all that’s needed, but I’ll explain why here.

It’s obvious when you think about it, that if the child is wearing a thickly padded winter jacket or snowsuit then you won’t be able to tension the harness correctly. In the event of an impact the child then has further to travel forward before the harness stops them, which in turn increases the chances of serious internal injuries / neck and spinal injuries. A carseat harness doesn’t tension the same way as a 3 point seatbelt in the vehicle does so you want to make sure it’s tensioned properly before you set off (a maximum of 2 finger gap between the breastbone and the harness is the recommendation for correct tension) Once the child moves up into a high back booster seat and is using the 3 point seatbelt, this isn’t so much of an issue, as in an impact the seatbelt tension would lock and prevent the child moving forward too far (the same as it works on an adult using the seatbelt)

A lot of infant carrier carseats have cosy-toes available as accessories for the cold weather. I used one for J in his CabrioFix when he was a baby. It goes into the empty carseat, then you put the child in and do up the harness correctly, then zip up the cosy-toes on the outside of the harness. This ensures baby is safely harnessed in the carseat and keeps them lovely and snuggly warm.

Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix Footmuff

Also remember that when you’re in the car, you have the car heating. I don’t tend to wear my coat when I’m driving as I find it restrictive – so I know the vehicle temperature is warm enough that any children travelling with me won’t be freezing cold anyway. Obviously younger babies do need to be kept warmer than an adult, so it’s a good idea to layer them up, but don’t bundle them up for arctic conditions when you’re in the car, it’s unnecessary and will cause them to overheat.

Once J was too big for his CabrioFix carseat and moved up to using the Opal, there wasn’t a cosy-toes / Footmuff option available, so I used blankets over the top of the harness instead. This became more difficult as he got older, since he’d insist on having his hands free for playing with whatever toys he’d brought with him or being able to have a drink or snack while we were driving. I discovered Snuggie Blankies were the best thing ever – gorgeous soft fleecy blankets with sleeves in, you know the ones designed to sit on the sofa wearing on a chilly evening? J was given one for Christmas with his favourite Disney Pixar Cars characters on, and it became my cold-weather go-to for when he was in the carseat as I could tension the harness with him in normal indoor clothes and then put the blankie over the top of the harness, and put his arms through the sleeves so he had no need to shrug it off in order to eat / drink / play. He’s in a high back booster seat now, so it isn’t so much of a concern but I still have that blankie in the car just in case. It’s also helpful if he falls asleep in the car, because I can scoop him into my arms and put it around him to carry him into the house without getting too child (you know you feel the cold more when you’re half asleep) Also a friend told me about a company called Snunkie who make bespoke cosy-toes for pushchairs – I got one for our pushchair, but then also discovered it could be fitted to the carseat as well, using the harness hooks to attach the loops that would normally be around the pushchair chassis and stop it dropping off.

Maxi-Cosi Opal carseat with
Snunkie cosy toes

I can see why people think it’s a faff, but really it only takes a couple of seconds to take off a jacket before putting the child in the carseat and put it back on again when you reach your destination. You don’t have to spend a fortune on the official cosy-toes either, or fancy specially-designed carseat blankets – a normal blanket is fine, or a snuggie blankie as I found, or even just put their winter jacket on backwards once they’re in the carseat harness. At the end of the day though my argument is simple – sure, it may take a couple of extra seconds to remove / put on the jacket before and after every journey, and it might disturb your child if they’ve fallen asleep, but really what amount of time is worth it to potentially prevent them being killed if you crash? The reality is that people find too many excuses for it being inconvenient and taking too long because they quite simply do not have the common sense to see the most serious potential outcome of the child not being correctly harnessed in. Think about it. It’s the same as taking the time to make sure the carseat fits your vehicle properly and is correctly fitted in the first place – this is your child’s life. Sure, they might be lucky and you might have an accident and they might be fine – but are you willing to take that risk? I know I’m not.

Be safe people, and take care of the little ones in your life,


Mummy P

x x x x

Thursday, 15 January 2015

These Boots Are Made For Walking

The other day I was scrolling through Twitter and I saw a post from a mummy blogger that I follow about never owning Uggs before, but due to the current weather and her ankles being chilly on the school run she was about to cave in and get some.

I hate Uggs with a passion. Don’t get me wrong, I used to own a pair of the same style boots (not official Uggs, because who can afford those without taking out a mortgage) but I found they made me walk very flat-footed which in turn lead to foot and back pains. I didn’t realise how bad it was until one day I noticed the soles had worn at a strange angle, and when I stopped wearing them and my foot and back pain improved dramatically, I decided not to buy another pair again, whether or not they were warm and cosy.

That was about five years ago. When I next needed new winter boots, I popped into town and found my nearest Shoe Zone store. There I found a gorgeous pair of padded snow boots with fake fur trim, under twenty quid, and when I tried them on I was thrilled to find they easily fitted (I’ve quite thick ankles – more like cankles really – and very often boots are too tight) I wore them to death (quite literally – the zipper grip fell off and the sole wore through) but I got a good lot of wear out of them before they fell apart. In fact it was next winter, and I was so impressed with them I went back to Shoe Zone and got another pair for that winter.

The same thing has happened since. This year I was late in the year buying them – it was the end of November when I went into town and got my snow boots – but they’re so comfy and warm and such a bargain price I don’t mind replacing them after a year. It’s a year of good use, don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I’m only wearing them a couple of times. You’ve also got to bear in mind they cost less than £20 a pair – for the amount of wear I get out of them it’s so worth it. I’ve not got very many pairs of shoes / boots, so once it’s no longer flip flop and ballet slipper weather I’m in my boots until the next time the flip flops and ballet slippers come out.

For Christmas, I got a lovely new handbag and a pair of shaggy boot style slippers – also from Shoe Zone. Yesterday I went into town to get a replacement pair of boots for my work ones which, after many, many years service finally gave it up the other week – and guess what? I found a fantastic pair in Shoe Zone. They fit well, they’re just what I wanted and they don’t cost a fortune.

So when I saw that Tweet about buying Uggs, I told my fellow blogger not to bother – Get some snow boots from @Shoezone, I Tweeted in reply – Miles cheaper and better looking than Uggs. She wrote back saying she was going to have a look – Shoe Zone Tweeted me their appreciation – and suddenly I started realising just how much I had from the shop! As well as my handbag, my slippers, my snow boots and my biker boots, my several pairs of ballet slippers that will be making a come-back in the better weather and my old faithful sparkly flip flops are also from Shoe Zone!

I did Tweet them to say that while I’m not on commission, I believe I should be, since I am literally a walking advert for them … They’ve yet to respond to that! Maybe if they see this I might get next year’s snow boots at a discount … or a new pair of ballet slippers for the better weather!

My comfy feet and I are off now to put J to bed. Have a good evening everyone!


Mummy P


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Today has been a pretty rough day with J not being well. I didn’t sleep well last night and have been running around after him all day when all I really wanted to do after the last couple of crazy weeks was relax a bit. But that couldn’t be helped, because J needed me and that’s what the job description entails.

Anyway due to him being unwell I have piles and piles of washing to be done, and nowhere to hang it. All my life I’ve coped with hanging washing to dry – at my parents house they had long lines in the kitchen and here we have floor standing airers – and I’ve always coped. However never before have I dealt with a 4 yr old suffering extreme d&v.

By the time Daddy P got home from work the third washload of the day was in the machine. Bedding and towels covered both airers and are hanging over doors all round the house. I have two of those things with loads of pegs on that you’re meant to use for socks, and I’m using them to hang pillowcases. Over the curtain poles there are pairs of pyjamas and pants. I still had piles more washing to get through, a bag of washing done and needing to be hung up and a load in the machine. I was stumped what I was going to do about getting it all dry. (and quickly enough as I’d run out of bedding for J)

I posted a status on Facebook to air my frustration and thought no more of it – the next thing I know I’ve got not one but two offers from very lovely ladies who live locally to me offering me use of their tumble drier to help me out, and a private message from one lovely lady saying there was a tumble drier sitting unused in her garage that I could have cheap if it would be helpful. I love how really good friends will come up with solutions like that when you’re really stuck. To make matters even better, her husband even offered to drop it off – love him, he only turned up with it within twenty minutes! I was thinking yeah drop it off tomorrow, but she said no it’ll be tonight, then the next thing was she messaged me saying oh he’s just left! Awesome or what!

So here we are thanks to my lovely friends my evening is less laundry hanging around the house and more clean, warm, dry laundry than you can shake a stick at, and stacks of options even if J’s illness does continue for the next couple of days. We made his bed up earlier on with fresh sheets, I have two sets now on standby, plus pyjamas and at the rate I’m going I might even end up finishing all the washing some time before Christmas 2015! (* maybe!)

Here's to lovely friends!

Off now to make a hot chocolate before bed. Goodnight, all!


Mummy P

x x x

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Sick Day

Today should have been my first chance to relax since before Christmas.

It should have been J’s first day back to school and my first day off co-ordinating. I planned to do a big online shop for delivery on Wednesday and some light housework but generally having a bit of a relaxing day.

Instead I was woken shortly after 3am with J climbing into bed next to Daddy P and complaining he had a tummy ache. He snuggled in Daddy P’s arms and we started drifting back to sleep – the next thing I know he’s bolt upright and being sick. Very sick. In the bed.

We cleaned him up, stripped and remade the bed, and around 3.40am we settled back down again. At four he was awake again, being sick again. The same happened every half hour to hour all through til Daddy P got up this morning to go to work. After he left, within half an hour J was sick again three more times, he was very pale and running a temperature. He couldn’t even hold down water. I phoned the school and left a message letting them know that he wouldn’t be in due to the sickness. We cuddled up in my bed and went back to sleep.

At 10 we woke again and J hadn’t been sick again, so we came downstairs and I made him a ‘nest’ on the sofa with a double duvet and a pillow. He cuddled up in it with his Tiger and watched Peter Rabbit. I brought him water and some plain toast but while he sipped at the water he didn’t eat any of the toast.

Mummy's poor little soldier watching Peter Rabbit 

Over the course of the day my poor little soldier seemed to perk up at lunchtime but then things quickly went wrong when his poorly tummy went the other way and we went through four pairs of pyjamas within an hour and a half.

Daddy P brought a bottle of Lucozade home for him and he’s feeling a lot better now – no disasters for the last couple of hours, the colour has returned to him and he’s cooled down to a normal temperature again. I’m so glad, because it’s been very strange today having him being so quiet and still all day! (Very out of character!) On the other side though, the school have a policy where if the kids have had d&v they have to stay off school for 48 hours after the last instance of illness. On this basis the soonest he can go back is Friday, and that’s if he’s OK from now on. He’s had some plain toast, more water and some Lucozade now and so far he’s been fine. I hope for all our sakes he sleeps well tonight, we’re all shuffling around like the living dead today and poor Daddy P had to go to work (mind you he did have a long nap on the sofa last night before we went to bed anyway!)

At least I’m not working tomorrow, and if J is feeling better we’ve got the shopping delivery to sort out and unpack (he loves helping with that) There’s also still a huge amount of laundry to do, and if he’s feeling that much better he can help me with doing some housework. He’s already asked Daddy P if they can take down the Christmas decorations which is a sure sign he’s feeling better! So hopefully they’ll do that tonight and tomorrow we can start getting the house back to ‘normal’ (ha!) after Christmas.

Well I think it’s time to enjoy a moment of relaxation with my frothy cappuccino and a biscuit while I continue watching Back to the Future for the five hundred thousandth time! (* approx.)

Hope your first week back to ‘normal’ after Christmas and New Year madness has been more successful than mine has so far!


Mummy P

x x x

A Post About Christmas

Christmas is a funny time of year.

As a child, I had the most magical Christmases ever. The anticipation, the build up, the big day itself and even the come-down afterwards was one brilliant moment as far as I was concerned.

For a long time, I was the youngest child in the family. I had cousins, but those I saw over Christmas were older than me. I was eight when my brother was born and he added the sparkle that had started to fade for me and it was magical again. When he was ten, my cousin had her son, and again the presence of a child in the family made it magical once again.

Our Christmases were simple, but special. It was an event always held at my grandparents’ house. In the weeks leading up every time we’d visit you’d see more evidence of Christmas approaching – decorations that started off in the hallways and then into the rarely used dining room and the even more rarely used front room, where the tree would be on top of the bureau, the same tree and decorations as the ones my mum and her siblings had used, delicate glass baubles in ancient cardboard boxes.

Either the weekend before Christmas, or on Christmas Eve, we’d go round to Nan and Grandad’s house with the presents. Nan would put them all in the front room, and on Christmas Eve before she went to bed she would put everyone’s presents into piles. A magical moment for me as a kid was walking into that room first on Christmas morning and seeing all those piles of presents. We had our special spots in the room for our gifts to be piled, and in the middle of the room my granddad would put two bin bags for all the rubbish.

First thing on Christmas morning, my brother and I would open our Father Christmas presents in our mum and dads room. Then we’d get washed and dressed in our best outfits, and head over to Nan and Grandad’s house. Breakfast would be coffee and bacon sandwiches for the grown ups, orange juice and bacon sandwich for us kids. My mum has two sisters and a brother, and when I was young they’d all head to Nan and Grandad’s house for Christmas Day. Her brother would come with his wife and their son, whose 8 years older than me; one sister would come with her husband, the other sister with her three children. Then there’d be me, and later on my brother, plus mum and, when he wasn’t working, dad (he normally was working though! He was a frontline ambulance technician when I was a child)

After breakfast we’d go into the front room. It was a magical moment for me as a child. We all went to our piles of presents and wait til everyone was in there and ready. Then we’d start, a frenzy of unwrapping and thank you’s and hugging and kissing until every last present in the pile was open. Usually at that point everyone would leave in their own cars to go to the church service at the same church where my grandparents, parents and brother got married, which was next to elderly residential flats where my great grandmother lived. After church we’d go and pile into her tiny one room flat to visit with her and my great aunt, who lived in the opposite flat.

Back at home while we’d all been out my nan would have tidied up the front room and dinner would be ready when we got back after visiting with my great grandmother and great aunt. Two dining tables would be pushed together in the dining room and we’d all sit round to eat. After dinner and tidying up we’d relax and play with our Christmas gifts. The family grew, and the family shrank over years, but we continued with our tradition until I was an adult.

After that, when both my nan and granddad had passed away, the family separated out. By then I was with Daddy P, so we divided our Christmastime between my family and his, but with no children and no traditions it seemed to lack a certain sparkle and wasn’t as special as I always remember it being.

J's 1st Christmas

Then came the first Christmas with J, in 2010 – he was only four months old but his presence added something that had been missing from Christmas for some time. In 2011 we celebrated my nephew’s first Christmas and in 2014 we celebrated my niece’s first. The presence of children in a family definitely bring back that Christmas sparkle for me. Seeing them enjoy the magic of it all and helping create memories for them to treasure when they’re older; that’s what Christmas is all about for me. As J gets older it becomes more magical – now he’s four he gets thoroughly caught up in the magic of Father Christmas, and elves, the decorations and the sparkling lights, the buying of gifts for others and receiving gifts himself.

It does make me wistful for people no longer here, though. It makes me miss my grandparents even more because Christmas was always a time I remember spending with them. I remember the smell of the cigars my uncle used to smoke in the front room after dinner, the way nan used to be wearing her apron over the top of her new outfit all day long because she was in and out of the kitchen preparing a vast array of food for every hour of the day (you always left her house feeling a dress size larger than when you’d gone in!)

Having said that, isn’t it what life is all about? Having wonderful memories of your own childhood to reminisce about while creating memories for your children? There’s still so many times I see things and think nan would like that, or granddad would, or my uncle, or my great grandmother or my great aunt, but now there’s also things I see that make me think J would like that, or my nephew would, or my niece would. 

As these three grow up I’d love them to enjoy a magical time every Christmas, and will be trying to make sure they each have wonderful memories too. 

J with my nephew A
My niece R