Friday, 31 December 2010

A Year In Pictures... 2010


A couple of months pregnant but still out in the snow!
Mister A turns 3, and tries to eat his cake in one go.

A very exciting 12 week scan

We had lots of bike rides

A Mothers Day Treat from Mister A and bump
We visited Great-Grandad lots this year

Our 20 week scan reveals we need to buy pink!

I catch up with my best mate and her bump!
Second Time Mummy gets nominated for an award!

Second Time Mummy wins Best Fashion Blog
We take a pre-baby day out... the beach


The DVT arrives along with support stockings...
...and a very large urine collection!
Little E enters the World and I became
an official Second Time Mummy
3 became 4


We become QuinnyCasters

We headed to the Baby Show and met Mylene Klass
Had fun on our Trick or Treating outing.
Autumn Fun In the Park

CCIF Ferrard comes to stay
Little E dresses up for Grandpa's 60th and
meets Grandma and Grandpa for the first time.
Little E got her first Build-A-Bear
Alex played a donkey in his first Nativity
We get snowed in...

but Santa still manages to deliver...

and spoils the kids rotten!

There are so many more but too many to share! Best wishes to you - I hope you've had a good one in 2010. Here's to a fabulous 2011!!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Review: Quinny Zapp Xtra #QuinnyCasters

So after 3 months, the time has come for me to do my full and frank review of the Quinny Zapp Xtra. It's not all been smooth sailing... I've loved it and I've hated it and here's why...

Applying to become a QuinnyCaster

Way back in August, just a few days before I was due to give birth to Little E, I sat at my computer and filled out an online form. I had heard on the grapevine that Quinny were looking for 25 people to test their new Quinny Zapp Xtra so I filled out the form and hit send.

I never really thought about it again (well I did have other things on my mind - like giving birth and a DVT!) I just assumed that I had been unsuccessful. Then, at the end of September I received and email. "Congratulations! You have been selected to become a QuinnyCaster and test out the new Zapp Xtra!"

I was ecstatic, I had heard so many great things about Quinny and I had high expectations. Little E was just 4 weeks old at the start of my QuinnyCasting and here's how it's gone so far...

The Arrival and 'construction'

By the time the Zapp Xtra arrived I was like an excited child. I couldn't wait to get the box open and put it all together. 

As part of our first QuinnyCasters assignment we had to do something fun surrounding the opening of the box... so we had Mister A dress up in his Superman outfit and filmed him putting it together!

Now I know what you're thinking - a 3 year old cannot construct a pushchair - but he did a pretty good job and with a little bit of help and supervision from Daddy, it was easy. So if you are thinking about buying the Zapp Xtra then I'd say this is a definite plus point.

When we got our first pram for Mister A (my grandparents bought us a Mamas & Papas Pliko Pramette) it took us about a week to work out how to put it together whereas the Zapp Xtra was surprisingly easy to put together. It only took about 5 minutes to construct.

The Road Test

I'd never 'driven' a 3 wheeler before and I had a bit of a bee in my bonnet that I wasn't going to like it. I'm not sure why but thinking back this probably stems from my mother! When I was choosing my original pram 4 years ago my mum constantly told me how much she hated 3 wheelers (not that she'd ever used one) but it must have sunk in!

In actual fact, having three wheels didn't really feel any different to me, if anything it was easier to manoeuvre and there is also the option of locking the front wheel - but I would never do that because that just makes things harder - does anyone actually lock the wheels on their pram?

There is always the worry that any 3 wheeler is more likely to tip but I haven't experienced anything like that during my trial.

The Folding Test

The Quinny Zapp Xtra is in 2 parts - the lightweight frame and the 'seat' (as I'm calling it) just clips on! To collapse the Zapp Xtra you need two hands!! You have to press 2 buttons on either side of the frame simultaneously to release the seat. The seat itself does not fold.  The next step is to fold down the frame. You just press the round buttons on the side of the frame  (again simultaneously) to fold the handles of the pushchair down and then you use your foot to collapse the rest. With a bit of practice it's fairly simple to do although not great if you have no where to put your baby!

The moment I realised that the Quinny was in two parts when collapsed is the moment that a little bit of my love for the Zapp Xtra started to die. I have been so used to a 'one piece' pram that folds down 'in one go' that my heart sank when I realised that the pushchair wasn't fully foldable and that seat remained constantly 'open'.

I just couldn't get my head round it and knew that if I had to fold it down whilst I was out for any reason - like getting the bus - then I would struggle to carry a newborn, and 2 parts of a pushchair. without even worrying about how I would fold it solo! Don't get me wrong it's fine if you are driving somewhere because you can take your baby out of the pushchair and put her in to the car seat before you fold it down but. In my opinion it's not great for newborns unless you are using it with the Maxi-Cosi seat and I wasn't.

The frame of the Zapp Xtra is really small when folded and it does fit in the boot of my car and leave me plenty of room for my shopping as you can see in the image. It is also relatively light too and I love how compact the frame is.

The Public Transport Test

Quinny on the TrainMy fears about the 2 handed, 2 part fold eventually came to light when I headed to the Baby Show at Earls Court and I had to get the train from Liverpool to London. Unlike a normal train the Pendolino has no areas where you can sit with your pram up so you have to collapse it down and take a seat with your baby. Luckily I had my mum with me and she took charge of Little E whilst I stored the Zapp. It's impossible to fold the Zapp Xtra down whilst holding a baby - FACT.

Had I been on my own I would have had to ask a stranger to fold it for me or even worse ask a stranger to hold Little E whilst I folded it down. Again, this could have been avoided if we'd have been using the Zapp Xtra with a Maxi-Cosi seat rather than the pushchair seat. I could have just un-clipped the seat from the base. Put Little E down in the seat and folded the base - easy!
I should say that if you have a toddler then obviously they will be able to stand whilst you fold everything down so there would be no issues. I'm sure once Little E is old enough to stand public transport will be a hell of a lot easier!

The Zapp Xtra for Newborns

In all honesty I do prefer having a complete travel system when you have a tiny baby. If you go out for a day it's nice to have a big robust traditional style pram where your baby can lie flat and keep warm.

I felt that Little E was a quite exposed in the Zapp Xtra as it's quite 'open'. I do, however, like that you can use it in either front or rear facing mode. The last thing you'd want is a newborn baby in a forward facing pushchair - that would be horrible.

I felt that with Little E being so small and not weighing to much it made the Zapp Xtra feel a little bit 'rickety' I would imagine that once you have a heavier toddler in the pushchair it would feel a lot more sturdy. 

Using the Zapp Xtra with a Maxi-Cosi Car Seat

After a couple of weeks of dealing with my love/hate relationship with the Zapp Xtra I decided to give in and get a Maxi-Cosi car seat. I just hated the inconvenience of not having a travel system. If we were out and Little E fell asleep, I would always end up waking her when I was moving her from the pushchair to the car seat.

As soon as I got the Maxi-Cosi, I fell back in love with the Zapp Xtra. For now I could head out with just the tiny little frame in the back of my car and just clip the Maxi-Cosi on when I reached my destination. It's so much easier now and if you are buying the Zapp Xtra for use from birth then a Maxi-Cosi car seat is a must have. The only down side to using the Xtra with the car seat is warmth and I'd suggest buying something like a Morrck Baby Hoodie to keep your little one toasty and of course the Maxi-Cosi Rain cover is a must!

The Shopping Test

The Quinny Zapp Xtra is great for the school run or heading to the park but how does it fare when you head to the shops and you have bags to carry? In my opinion it's not the best. The basket underneath is tiny and is restricted by the central part of the frame cutting through it. When you are using the 'seat' rather than the Maxi-Cosi I found that access to the basket was quite limited. 

The structure of the frame means that there is a joint in the bar between the handles so you can't use an 'old school' bag hook like my mum used to in the 80's because it would weaken the frame. Similarly, Quinny do not recommend hanging shopping bags or even a changing bag from the handles as this also makes the pushchair unstable.

Not one to adhere to rules I kept hanging my changing bag over the handles - it was rubbish though - the bag just slid right down. Eventually I made an amazing discovery - the Babymule changing bag - it has clips as well as a traditional handle and it means I can hang my changing bag on the the Zapp Xtra without it sliding right down.

As far as shopping goes, I'd suggest taking a strapping young man out with you to carry your bags because the Quinny is no work horse when it comes to shopping!

The Pushing Test

At 5 ft 4" I am relatively small and the Zapp Xtra's non adjustable handles are a bit of an issue. On previous pushchairs I have been able to adjust the height to allow for a comfortable mummy experience. Because the Xtra's handles are fixed, I find that I have to adjust my posture to enable me to be comfortable and therefore after about an hour of pushing I do get quite a sore back.

Accessories included with the Quinny Zapp Xtra

The Sun Canopy is fabulous - not at all flimsy and it stays up when you need it to - something which I have previously struggled with and it has clear panels to allow your little one to see through the sides.

The Raincover does exactly what it says on the tin. I found it easy to get on and off but it's not exactly easy to fold if it's dry and you're taking it out with you 'just in case' - in fact it will take up most of your basket!

I think it's great that the Zapp Xtra comes with Maxi-Cosi Car Seat Adapters, I know that some brands charge around £30 to £40 for such extras. If you are using the Zapp in both car seat and pushchair modes then you'll need to ensure that you have the correct adapters with you. I left home in a rush the other week and ended up having to carry Little E around in her car seat because I still had the pushchair adapters on the frame so the car seat wouldn't fit.

Finally, the shopping basket leaves a lot to be desired if like me, you use your pram primarily for heading to the shops.

Additional Accessories

There are also a couple of additional accessories that you can buy for your Zapp Xtra -

A Parasol (available in both Rocking Black or Rebel Red).

Quinny also have a Footmuff available in a number of colours and we were fortunate enough to win one in a QuinnyCasters task. Little E was kept nice and warm in it and the inner lining is extremely soft. It is quite large for her at the moment so we're looking forward to using it next Winter when she's a bit bigger.

The Science Bit!

RRP (although you should be able to find better prices than these)
Quinny Zapp Xtra £230.00
Quinny Zapp/Buzz Footmuff £55.00
Quinny Parasol
Maxi-Cosi Pebble Car Seat £150.00
Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix Car Seat £125.00

Zapp Xtra unfolded: 89x42x25cm
Zapp Xtra folded: 81x59x102cm
Zapp Xtra's weight: 8.7kg

Watch the Zapp Xtra Instruction Movie.

The Verdict

I can't tell you whether or not the Quinny Zapp Xtra is the pushchair for you - it has it's good points and bad points and whether or not it will suit you just depends on exactly what you are looking for in a pushchair. If you want a nippy and lightweight pushchair that's easy to manoeuvre then I can definitely recommend it.

If you're thinking of buying it for a newborn then definitely get a Maxi-Cosi seat - you won't regret it.

Finally, here's my list of good and bad points...

Easy to put together
The seat is forward and rearward facing
It has 3 forward and 2 rearward facing recline positions
Can be used with Maxi-Cosi Car Seat
Accessories are included so you won't have to pay extra
Front swivel wheel can be fixed 
Suspension on (bearing) rear wheels and on (double) front swivel-wheel  
You need 2 hands to fold it.
In 2 parts when it's collapsed.
Small basket
Fixed height handles

The good points are great but the bad points are bearable.

So far I've had my ups and downs with the Zapp Xtra but I do love how easy it is to head out in a rush now that I'm using it with the car seat. I would definitely recommend it but if you aren't prepared to pay the extra for the car seat then I'd hang on to purchase until your child is able to walk.

How the Zapp Xtra could evolve in to my perfect pram...
  • Ideally I'd like to be able to fold it using just one hand.
  • I'd need a much bigger basket to carry my shopping
  • Adjustable handles for added comfort
  • A discount offer when you buy the pushchair with the Maxi-Cosi seat.
That's all I have to say for now, I'll keep you updated on the trial as Little E grows!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Just had to tell you this...

Mister A is such a loving child, he's always giving us the best hugs and kisses but earlier today when he was telling Chris and I that he loved us, I decided to be a little inquisitive.

"What a lovely thing to say Mister A, but what do you love the most about Daddy?"

He sat for a minute in deep thought before replying "Erm, his duffle coat?" Chris and I looked at each other and tried to contain our giggles.

"No" I said, "What do you love about him?"

Mister A was clearly not understanding what I meant and looked to Chris who was crossing his arms in defence.

"The way he folds his arms?" he asked, like it was some kind of test.

Trying to explain I asked Daddy what he loved about Mister A. "Oooh, I love his wonderful smile," Daddy said. Alex nodded and seemed to suddenly grasp what I was asking of him.

"Now Mister A, you tell Daddy what you love about him."

I couldn't have imagined in a million years, his eventual response...

"I love that Daddy wipes his own bottom."

Needless to say, we left it at that!

Really? You call that a stocking filler?

Last week I explained to Chris that this year we were all going to leave a stocking out for Santa to fill. Chris looked horrified at the thought of buying 'extra presents'. I explained that this was purely for Mister A's benefit and that the stocking fillers need only be something small. Secretly I thought it was a great way to ensure I got some nice little presents too! Well I have to say, I'm not sure it really went to plan. This was one of my stocking fillers...

Yes, that's right. When I'd scrambled past the tangerine in my stocking I pulled out an interesting looking box. Yes... He'd even gone to the trouble of wrapping it! "Oooh I wonder what this could be?" I said pulling off the paper. You can imagine the look on my face when I opened it, can't you - I don't even like chicken soup! I explained this to my other half to which he replied in all seriousness "Oh no! I've wrapped the wrong one, you should have got Vegetable." A fit of giggles followed. That'll teach me to be present hungry!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Boxing Day Blogerversary!!

As I sat at my laptop this time last year, I never could have imagined what kind of a journey I was starting out on. Newly pregnant and oblivious to the sheer size of the mummy bloggy community, I started on my journey and wrote my first ever Second Time Mummy post - I was such an amateur that I didn't even give the post a title!

I started my blog, like many others out there, as a record of my pregnancy and never imagined that anyone else would ever really read it. Second Time Mummy was a little hobby, just something small that I added to whenever I had time.

In March I got so excited because I had over a hundred hits in one day to my Trip to the hospital : ( post - I felt famous! It was the most traffic I'd ever had, and all because I'd added a pic of one of the labour rooms at my local hospital! At that time I thought 100 views was massive, and it was for me, it sparked something inside of me. I loved the feeling I got from knowing that people were coming to read my blog and it made me want to carry on.

I was just plodding along nicely, blogging away about motherhood and the struggles of dressing with a bump, when at the end of May I was approached to review some maternity clothes for a store named Pretty Pregnant. I was so excited but surprised that they had even come across the ramblings of little old me. The first thing I received from them was a pair of maternity jeggings - and I have to say, I was horrified at the prospect of squeezing my huge pregnant ass in to them -but the subsequent review I wrote on them remains one of my biggest hitters as far as searches go!

I continued reviewing for them and my blog became a mummy blog with a fashion twist but I still wasn't convinced anyone was reading so imagine my surprise when, in mid June, I received an email telling me I'd been nominated for a Gurgle Award. Although I knew there was little chance of me winning, Chris and I headed down to London anyway. It was the first opportunity I would have to meet some fellow Mummy bloggers and I couldn't wait.

For some reason when I got to the Awards, I became overwhelmed and went all shy. Seeing this, a lovely lady named Pippa came over and introduced herself and we were soon giggling away with all the amazing bloggers that had been nominated. At the end of the evening when the winners were announced, I could not believe it when I heard that Second Time Mummy had won Best Fashion Blog by a Mum!

Almost over night, Second Time Mummy became noticed - PRs started emailing and invites started to drop in to my inbox. So excited by the prospect of goodies to review and new places to go, I started accepting every single thing that dropped in to my lap and my next 'meeting of minds' came in the form of the amazing John Lewis Christmas launch - IN JULY!! Heavily pregnant, I knew it would be my last chance to see my fellows bloggers for a while, so again I headed down to the big smoke on a very early train.

I got to meet so many more lovely people like Maria and Little M, Emma (Me the Man and the Baby), Emma (Adventures of an English Mum) and Becky (Baby Budgeting) - it was a great day out and of course I got to see Pippa, my first ever blog friend again which was lovely!

My life was going perfectly and I couldn't have been happier until at 37 weeks my leg swelled up and after a night in hospital it was revealed that I had a DVT. It scared me and the daily injections that followed really got me down until I was induced for the second time and Little E made her first appearance in to the World.

Our lives have changed so much since that day, the injections are still a pain but I'm plodding on.

The past few months have been a complete whirlwind of nappies and baby sick but I've still managed to find the time to keep blogging and even get to the Baby Show where I met one of the Gurgle Award judges - Mylene Klass and I met up with my lovely cyberspace friends at the Fisher Price Party.

This has been the most amazing year for me, I've met some amazing people and the support I've received when times have been tough has been unbelievable. This year has also seen me become a Quinny Caster and a Gurgle Girl and feature on the Asda Mum and Toddler site. Not only that, we're about to start in our duties as Lego Duplo Experts and Playmobil Playologist's in the New Year.

This time last year, I could never have even dreamed what the blog would bring to me or how it would develop and I am so proud to be celebrating my first ever bloggerversary today and I would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support.

I have decided that my second year in blogging will bring less reviews and more real life - I want to bring the blog right back to where it started, a personal blog about me and my mummy adventures and I hope that you will continue to join me on my ride.

And finally I could not have got to where I am today without my beautiful family. Thank you to Chris, Mister A and Little E for making my life complete.... oh and... Happy Birthday Blog!

While you're here why not enter my blogerversary prizedraw!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

And the winners are...

We've had quite a few prize draws lately and Ive been very naughty not announcing the winners! So here goes...
Congratulations to Chris Andrews the winner of the fabulous Kellogg's Hamper. Your prize is on it's way!

The winner of the Babywear Brands Snowman is Colin Henney!

The 10 lucky Persil winners are:
Carole Maciver
Sue Wallace
Emma Griffiths
Domestic Goddesque

I'll be in touch shortly to get your addresses or if you see this first then DM me!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

WIN An Voucher in time for New Years Eve!

AllFancyDress is the UK’s leading online discount fancy dress retailer, with an fabulous array of fancy dress costumes that are ideal for any occasion and special event. They also stock a great range of accessories to match every fancy dress outfit found in the online store.

There are some great outfits! Here are a few of my favourites...

Lady Gaga Blue Swim Suit

She is known for creating new fashion trends, and with this costume you can follow suit. It's officially licensed and is the easiest way to get the ultimate celebrity look. Don't think I'd look too great in it mind!

Spartan Costume

This. Is. Sparta! This is another 'officially licensed' costume from the film 300 (one of Chris' favourite films) and I think it is the ideal outfit for any guy out there who wants to show off just how manly he is. *rofl*

and finally my favourite costume of them all...

Banana Man Costume

Share a few laughs this New Year and wear this hilarious Banana Man costume - even if it's not fancy dress! Everyone will be falling on the floor laughing as soon as you walk into the party wearing this. All the attention will be yours.

And guess what, All Fancy Dress, are offering YOU the opportunity to win a costume of your choice.. well a £50 voucher to be precise. You will find an huge amount of costumes ideal for any occasion so what are you waiting for? Enter now!

How to enter

It is so easy to enter -  all you need to do is write on the Second Time Mummy Facebook page, (you'll have to 'like' it first) and tell me what is your favourite thing to do on New Year’s Eve (make it less than 100 words though - I don't want to get readers cramp!)

Competition closes at midnigh on 23rd December - that's it - good luck!

You can also become a fan of All Fancy Dress on Facebook too- they give you a chance to win £5 off your order with their daily Facebook fiver competition.

WIN A Copy of 'The Second Baby Survival Guide'

I was recently sent a copy of 'The Second baby A Survival Guide' to review. The first thing I'll say is that this book should come with a massive sticker saying 'BUY & READ BEFORE BABY ARRIVES' because being a second time mum doesn't leave you with any time to read anything other than the Gruffalo or Aliens Love Underpants.

It's taken me weeks to read it but I've finally finished it - phew - and I think it's great. If your about to embark on your second journey in to parent hood then I can highly recommend this book - especially if your little one is still quite young. As you know Mister A is almost 4 and so some of the things like potty training didn't apply but I still took a lot from this book.

It won't answer all your questions for you (hey parenting's not that simple) but instead will give you lots of hints and tips about how to do go about things like sibling jealousy, room sharing and how to introduce your child to your new arrival.

It's a very well written and informative book and definitely worth a read for any potential 'second time mummies'!

Find more prizes at ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions. Loquax Competitions

Monday, 20 December 2010

Review: Inch Blue Leather Baby Shoes

Recently I was asked if I would like to review some Inch Blue shoes for the children. I'd never heard of them before (naughty me)... So I went off to have a look at their website - - and then excitedly typed a reply.

"Yes, we'd love too!"

In case you're wondering... Inch Blue is a family run business, based in South Wales, that hand make fun and adorable soft leather baby shoes. I had to pick a pair for Little E and a pair for Mister A. It was so tough though because I love all of them! 

Eventually, I chose the 'Love Retro Sparkle' in baby pink for Little E. (Second from the left, below)

But I still couldn't decide which to get for Mister A. I showed him the page and said he was allowed to pick his own. His reaction 'Wow, I want those ones Mummy...."

Yes, he chose the Union Jack ones - and he quite literally hasn't taken them off his feet since they arrived! He loves them, Little E is not so sure - she likes to play games with Mummy by kicking them off!

These Inch Blue shoes are so soft and Mister A says they are really comfortable. If you're anything like me, then the question your asking yourself now is - 'Do they do adult sizes?' - But unfortunately for us grown ups the answer is no : (

So what did I think?

Well, I would never ever in the past have considered spending £17.00 on what I would essentially describe as a slipper - I'm a bit of a cheapskate you see - but this experience has changed me. Seeing these handmade leather slippers has made me envy my children and I would probably pay more than that to get such a fab and fashionable hand-made shoe! Mister A will not be seen without his and I'm confident that once Little E's foot grows a little bit she'll be happy to wear them too. They are great quality, there's so much choice and I'll definitely be going back for more once Little E starts walking. I'm a massive fan!