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Talipes | Struggling to find First Walker shoes.

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As I’ve mentioned, our darling boy is doing well with his walking – despite being born with Bilateral Talipes.

We’ve always just wanted Mr Eli to wear his Converse – just like Daddy (and occasionally Mummy too!). But we noticed that the Con’s just weren’t offering him much support around his ankles; and frankly, his new red Hi-Top’s are absolutely massive a wee bit big.

Eli’s Size 4 Black Converse trainers were too small, his toes are end the toe cap, so he had been wearing his new Red Hi Top Converse – which are a 5. We went to Clarks at the weekend where Eli was measured – his feet came up as a size 3F. The assistant did advise that Clarks sizing does vary against branded shoes, but it did make us think that Eli is really not wearing correct footwear right now. He requires a pair of shoes that will support his feet as he gains confidence in his walking, but also a pair that will encourage him to keep walking. The Converse he has right now seem to deter his walking as they’re ill-fitting, so he’s been mainly in stocking feet. Obviously, he can’t go outside the house like this, so we need to find him so First Walker shoes.

Here the issue begins…

It’s very common for children with Talipes to have odd-sized feet or feet that are on the smaller side. One foot could be a size 4, while the other foot could be a size 6. Meaning many children are bought two pairs of shoes to ensure they have correct fitting shoes for each foot. Clarks DO offer a discount for children affected however – you can read all about the Clark’s Odd Sized Feet Scheme on the STEPS charity website. Luckily, Eli’s feet do match up perfectly – but they are small. We didn’t realise until we started looking at the First Walker shoes in the shop… all of the shoes start at a size 4. The Pre-Walker/Cruiser shoes start at a size 3. But the sole is very thin on these styles and there isn’t the support on the shoe for a child who IS indeed walking.

We were looking online last night. Call me ridiculous if you will, but there are A LOT of boring or frankly unfashionable First Walker shoes out there. I know Eli is not par-taking in a fashion show, but we do take pride in our little man’s appearance, he has his own style. Also, these shoes are not cheap, so we want to make sure we’re all happy with them as he’ll have them on most of the day.

We don’t want velcro – we’re not a velcro family. We’d prefer Eli to be in Desert Boots, Brogue style shoes or at a push, some fashionable trainers. Take a look at the styles we’ve seen so far below…

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First Walker Shoes, Desert Boots in Brown £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com

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First Walker Shoes, Desert Boots in Brown £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com

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First Walker Shoes, Crazy Crew in Khaki, £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com

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Digby, Zip up Brogue Boots, £40.00 – Available from StartRite.com

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Sullivan Brogue Shoes, WAS £49 NOW £18.00 – Available from StartRite.com

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Sullivan Brogue Shoes, WAS £49 NOW £18.00 – Available from StartRite.com

As you will notice, all of the lovely shoes above start at a size 4. So we’re in a wee pickle. If you have purchased from StartRite.com before, do their shoes match the size guide of Clarks? I’m so tempted to just get the size 4F shoes, especially considering the rate of growth; but can’t be sure that they will fit Eli correctly. So would ideally like to go into a shop to be able to have them expertly fitted.

Can you recommend any other stores where you can buy similar styles to the above? That perhaps start at ‘Clarks size 3F’ or the measured equivalent?  (And styles that don’t cost an arm-and-a-leg, to boot).

MM.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE | Kiddicare, Lakeside.

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I just HAD to write a blog post on the customer service we received on a recent trip to Kiddicare, Lakeside.

So let’s start at the beginning…

We decided that we REALLY, REALLY needed to get Eli is new car seat after massively outgrowing his old one a little while ago. The weather was pretty bleak on our journey to Kiddicare, so when we arrived and were greeted with (Starbucks) hot chocolate at the door, it was more than welcome! Such a nice touch.

We headed straight over the to vast car seat section of the superstore. A friend of ours had recommended the Maxi Cosi, Axiss car seat – but it had been priced at £225 previously on Amazon, so we had disregarded that one.

As fans of Maxi Cosi however, we started looking at cheaper models. We found a great one for £120… but it didn’t swivel. After struggling with our old car seat and pulling our necks/backs trying to get Eli into the damn thing without banging his head in the process, I wanted one that swivelled! So we looked at the Maxi Cosi Axiss anyway – it was priced at £160 in Kiddicare. Quite a saving! We checked out how much it would be on Amazon, and couldn’t believe the price had dropped to £113!!! Even better. We couldn’t believe it. We went to the Car Seat fitting desk to ask some questions about this model. They told us that this particular car seat only fits 20% of cars; and they test each car seat fits your car, for you. We thought this was a great service.

I mentioned the price difference… and then noticed that they had signs around the store that said “Price Match Guarantee”. I, cheekily, thought I’d ask the lady at the front desk if they would indeed price match with the Amazon price. She was so lovely and said that yes, indeed they would! As long as the item on Amazon was sold by Amazon, and not a private seller. We ACTUALLY couldn’t believe it.

So then we had the car seat fitted into our car – it was pouring down at this point and the two lovely assistants had smiles on their faces and nothing but positivity about them. The car seat fitted like a glove! Again, we couldn’t believe it.  Out of 20% of cars! PERFECT – LET’S BUY IT! We got to the car seat desk again to have our receipt for collection printed out. The car seat we’d ordered was the LAST ONE IN STOCK. Unbelievable.

So with that, we dashed to the till to pay. The lady at the till, again, was so lovely and polite. It makes such a difference to have a smile and a ‘hello’, doesn’t it? Another assistant sorted out the price match while some other items were put through the till for us. They then said, “So the car seat will be £99 today, is that ok?”. EXCUSE ME WHAT? WHO THE WHAT NOW?

This is where it gets RIDICULOUS. When Kiddicare do a price match, not only do they match that price – but they then extend the discount to a further 25%. How amazing is that? The car seat that we really wanted, that was £225 RRP was just sold to us for more than half the price! We felt like we’d committed a crime as we walked out the doors, with the same lovely assistant who had tested the car seat.

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She again fitted the car seat for us, for the drive home. She showed us how everything worked. All this in the pouring rain! Then she took the card board box away to recycle for us. So polite and patient, she didn’t rush or cut any corners. Just simple good manners and being good at her job. She strived to go the extra mile to make sure we were comfortable and confident with the car seat. You REALLY don’t get service like we received anywhere (apart from maybe John Lewis), and that’s such a great shame.

We can’t thank Kiddicare Lakeside, enough for their help that day – or the huge saving! It meant that we could have our first date night in a very long time 🙂 So there you go, always head to your local Kiddicare store or shop online at Kiddicare.com and get a price match where you can. We’re certainly customers for LIFE.

MM.

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REVIEW in association with Mumsnet: Pampers Baby Dry nappies.

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We usually use Pampers Active Fit, but now that Eli has a tendency for sleeping on his front, we found he leaked most nights! We had been looking at what other nappies were out there – first choice being Pampers as we’ve used the brand since Eli was born; and also use Pampers Sensitive wipes. THEN, Mumsnet HQ got in touch regarding testing out Pampers Baby Dry – perfect timing!

I was quickly sent a box containing a pack of Pampers Baby Dry from Mumsnet HQ. I Eli immediately opened the Pampers Baby Dry pack. I noticed first off that the nappies felt different (and had lovely illustrations, again different to the Active Fit ones). The nappies are still soft but the coating felt, well, more waterproof than the Active Fit. This seemed to bode well.

The fit was good. Perhaps slightly bigger than the Active Fit. But still flexible enough for my acrobat of a 9 month old! They certainly looked comfortable.

The quality of the product is very good – like with most Pampers products I’ve used; albeit, a Pampers product does generally cost more in price. But if you shop on the likes of Amazon, it usually works out the same price (delivered!) as the likes of Sainsbury’s or Tesco own-brand. So I’m happy to pay a little extra for the piece of mind that comes with buying from a reputable brand.

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The first night Eli wore the Pampers Baby Dry he slept through. Coincidence or not, he SLEPT 12 hours! I expected to find a small puddle where he woke from sleep the next morning. But he hadn’t leaked! AT ALL! The nappy was the fullest I’d ever felt – very heavy. But he didn’t leak! YES. I would say however, he wasn’t completely dry despite this. The top of the nappy at the front was clammy, not wet, just tacky, so his skin was damp too. This is however progress!

Overall, I think the Pampers Baby Dry nappies are great. Good value for money. Perfect for overnight. I think for during the day I’d go back to Eli wearing Pampers Active Fit – simply because I think they do just fit that little bit better on him. But we’ll certainly be sticking to the Pampers Baby Dry for night times! We’re very happy! Thanks to  Mumsnet HQ and Pampers UK!

Typical prices for Pampers Baby Dry – available at most UK stockists.
Carry Pack – £6.49
Economy Pack – £9.99
Jumbo Box – £12.99
Mega Box – £17.49
Giga Box – £22.99

MM.

I was picked by Mumsnet HQ to review this product, which I received for free. This review is in my own words and reflects my true opinion. Eli is 9 months old and wore size 4 Pampers Baby Dry nappies for this review.

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Our changing bag: The Mulberry Clipper Holdall.

This has been the sight next to our front door, for the past NINE weeks. These are all our hospital bags, ready and waiting! Suitcase is mine, and is filled to the brim with every essential you need for your stay at hospital – you can read what those absolute essentials are, here>>I’ve FINALLY done it! Hospital Bag(s) are packed! The amazing Mulberry Clipper Holdall is our changing bag (more on that in a second), the Barbour bag to the bottom left is OH’s essentials (iPad, change of clothing, toiletries) and the Borough Market bag is all our food supplies!

So, Changing Bag… we spent such a long time searching for the “perfect” bag. We wanted something that didn’t look ‘Mummsy’. We didn’t want something that was feminine, OH will be carrying it around too! During our search we found that there was nothing that was completely unisex – apart from the generic black satchel style bags… which to be honest, just didn’t hit the spot for us! This is going to be a bag that we’ll use every day, so we wanted to be really happy with it! All of the ‘Mummsy’ style bags are pretty expensive anyway, £250+!

We looked for actual Leather satchels as we felt this would be most universal for us both. But with Leather, comes a pricetag. We soon found that even just nice Leather satchel bags, that weren’t necessarily for our purpose, were coming up at £400+. When we would look into the details of these bags, we found that there just wouldn’t be enough space for everything that a babba needs on a daily basis – as well as what we might need to cram in for ourselves too! We also decided we wanted something that would be kind of waterproof – Britain is not renowned for it’s dry weather is it!

We went to all the usual high street stores in search of just a standard, but small, holdall that would meet all our demands. We almost settled on this one from Barbour – Barbour Wax Cotton and Leather Trim Satchel, £119: Style available from JohnLewis.com

But, this bag is actually a little too big for what we need it for! It looked massive against me and I just couldn’t see ME using it. OH on the other hand, was chuffed with it.

So on with the search!

I’m a massive fan of Mulberry. It’s my favourite brand. So, I said I wanted a Mulberry Alexa…

Mulberry Oversized Alexa Messenger & Shoulder Bag, £925. Style available from JohnLewis.com

But then we realised that the £795 size wasn’t big enough… and £795 is a ridiculous price for a ‘changing’ bag! OH also concluded that an Alexa was too feminine for him. I did email Mulberry regarding changing bags, as they’re clearly missing a huge audience by not offering a selection! They replied to me with:

We have taken on board customer requests for changing bags and our soon to be available Autumn Winter 2012 collection will include the Rosie Baby bag in Black or Oak Tiger Print Nylon as part of the range.

Pretty exciting! But a bit too late…

Then I started looking at their holdalls. We’d always said we wanted a Clipper holdall. They’re classic Mulberry. They’re perfect for trips away. They’re a style that just will not date – but will get better with age.

We went along to Westfield: Stratford City to take a closer look. The Simple Mulberry Clipper Holdall (£350), was the perfect size! Inside and out 🙂

So we said “sod it” and bought it 😀 It’s beautiful. We’re over the moon with it – and more to the point, unlike ‘real’ changing bags, we’ll be using this holdall for years and years and years and years to come. It’s a style that is built to last! So we were happy to pay the £350 price-tag, because it’s going to get so much more use than a standard changing bag. It completely meets our very niche criteria and OH cannot wait to get outside with it 🙂

MM.

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Boys Clothing: Topshop Mini ‘Dino’ Jumper.


Topshop Mini ‘Dino’ Sweater, £15.00. Click here to purchase.
OH and I absolutely love the idea of our baby boy in Space and Dinosaur printed clothing… and just spotted this on the Topshop website. It’s absolutely lovely! ‘Twill be perfect with the new Converse we have for him!

Unfortunately, Topshop do not stock Mini at many stores anymore so this is going to have to be an online purchase. Topshop also charge for their shipping, which is £4 (!!). It’s a tiny jumper! Does anyone have a promotional code for money off/free shipping so that I can justify this purchase please?

MM.

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Our GroCompany purchases: Swaddles, GroBags and GroEgg.

We first came across the Gro Company when researching cot’s and moses baskets. We completely fell in love with the pretty patterns and prints of their now-famous Gro Bags (baby sleeping bags) and decided that on that alone we would definitely purchase a few for baby boy bump! The Gro Company are the original, and only company to be recommended by the FSiD.

So I signed up to the mailing list and received a lovely catalogue through the door. The designs are so lovely we could have bought them all! We had decided that we wanted to swaddle baby boy bump when he arrives – so went straight to the GroSwaddles section.

We’ve gone for the ‘Woodland Friends’ and a twin-pack of the ‘Wish Upon A Star’ print.

Woodland Friends GroSwaddle £11.50. Click here to purchase exclusively online at JohnLewis.com.

We also opted for the ‘Day/Night’ twin pack and a ‘Little Trikes’ sleeping bag. Absolutely love the Little Trikes print. It looks and feels really vintage – but in a good way!

Click here to purchase GroBag sleeping bags exclusively online at JohnLewis.com

From the catalogue you can receive a massive 25% off when you order over £40 – so we thought ‘Sod it, let’s buy a GroEgg while we’re at it!’. So we did. Looking forward to using it! Had a trial run in the bedroom last night…turns out that bay boy’s bedroom isn’t a bad temperature! The GroEgg will also make for a great nightlight too!

GroEgg Room Themometer, £19.94. Click here to purchase at JohnLewis.com

 

All in all, we’re pretty chuffed with the quality of all the products now that they’ve arrived. We can’t wait to use them!

Have you had your little one’s in any Gro Company products?

MM.

 

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Boys Clothing: Fred Perry Kids Caban Jacket.


Fred Perry Kids Caban Jacket, WAS £75.00/NOW £52.50. Click here to purchase online at FredsThreads.co.uk

Kid’s Caban jacket, created in combed cotton twill with a classic gingham lining. With a zip down front and two pockets, this simple style is perfect for layering over a button-down shirt or classic pique shirt. Finished with our signature Laurel Wreath embroidery.

How cute is this Fred Perry Caban Jacket? I would absolutely LOVE to buy one now! If only it wouldn’t mean that Baby Boy had to wait until he was at least 2 years old to wear it! 🙁

MM.

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Thoughts on the Silver Cross ‘Balmoral’ pram? As seen with Lily Allen.

After seeing this picture of Lily Allen with the Silver Cross “Balmoral” pram I just had to write a blog post to see what you all thought!

First things first, it’s an eerily old fashioned pram – one of which I had a miniature version when I was growing up for my own dolls, and loved dearly! I always said “When I grow up I want a pram like this in real life”. Now real life is happening and I can’t think of a pram worse!

Obviously, this is my own opinion, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

But this pram is clunky, it’s too old-fashioned for dare I say it; modern times…. and this is coming from someone who’s house looks like a throw-back to the 70’s. It just isn’t practical. How on earth would I get on a bus with this pram? It certainly wouldn’t fit into the boot or even the back seat of our modest family car either! Which just makes me think – is this simply a pram for the celebrities? Also, the only time I’ve seen this style of pram recently is on that “Gypsy Wedding” programme (of which I’ve only seen the one episode and was appalled with the explicit dance moves and provocative clothing of FIVE YEAR OLDS, so couldn’t watch it again).

Another thing is, this pram does not come cheap. It’s £1250. I know our iCandy Strawberry did not come cheap, but we chose it on it’s practical-ness, it can fit in all cars, its perfect for public transport, it can rotate to front/rear facing and converts to accomodate a car seat, carry cot and seat unit. The iCandy Strawberry will also cater a child up to 3-4 years old. I can’t see how this Balmoral pram will accomodate a child from 6 months upwards really!?

Also, looking at the gallery of the Balmoral style on the Silver Cross website I couldn’t help but notice that the model looks ‘too tall’ for the pram. Just look how low down that handle bar is! OH certainly wouldn’t be able to push this pram that’s for sure.

So what do you think then? Am I being unreasonable here?! Do you have the Balmoral pram?

MM.

 

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Lifehouse Country Spa Resort – long weekend away…

 

So, Lifehouse Spa!

We had booked this little break away after having all the scans and tests a few weeks ago. We’d decided that we would need a relax after such a rollercoaster couple of weeks…

Being 19 weeks pregnant, we jut wanted to go somewhere where we could relax and chill out for a few days. Get away from it all. A spa was perfect. I literally spent 3 days alternating between the swimming pool and jacuzzi (Hydrotherapy Pool). Unfortunately, all of the treatments were too expensive for our budget… in fact, they were just overpriced in general.

I’m well aware that this review is just going to sound like a right moan! It was our first trip to a Spa though, so we would have expected a bit more in some areas. Albeit, we had a wonderful time and would return tomorrow! But with hindsight of course ;o

Pro’s

– Drinks were relatively cheap.

– Comfortable bed.

– Contemporary room with lovely bathroom and great views of the gardens. Usual coffee and tea making facilities.

– Lovely staff – all very polite and always had a smile.

– Easy place to relax.

– Food was great, restaurant quality.

– Great swimming pool and hydrotherapy pool. Can’t review the Steam, Sauna or Salt Inhalations rooms as I can’t use them being pregnant… but DP absolutely loved all three. So they kept him quiet! 😀

– Loved the Orchids Bar area too… must recommend the bread and olives. Best olives I’ve ever eaten! Amazing! Just £2.00 too!

– Very very nice gardens… it was absolutely blowing a gale outside and raining but this did not deter us! We borrowed some Hunter wellies from reception and had a great walk right around the gardens.

 

Con’s

– We weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note or shown around the complex. So didn’t know what facilities we could and couldn’t use.

– Because of the above, we didn’t know we had a safe in the room, until we were messing on with a rather ambiguous looking drawer underneath the TV!

– Again, because we weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note, we didn’t know that you could order Room Service.

– Couldn’t lock the door to the room.

– No bath in the room – albeit, the shower was incredible. I still could have done with a soak before bed!

– Treatments are expensive and need to be booked well in advance. Many people were left disappointment upon arrival when all appointments were booked up.

– Pregnant ladies cannot use Sauna, Steam room or Salt Inhalation rooms as they raise the body temperature too much.

– Packages that exclude food are very expensive. A lunchtime meal (main and starter) will be around £45 for a couple with one wine and one soft drink. An evening meal is per the set menu, £35 for 3 courses or £28.50 for 2 courses.

– Menu’s left a lot to be desired for someone who is both pregnant and doesn’t eat fish or mushrooms! I ended up having the same evening meal on both nights of our stay because the menu didn’t change… and the Duck dish was the only one that didn’t contain fish or mushrooms! There was also a £3 additional supplement on this.

– There were no decaff teabags! I also wasn’t given an alternative… would have definitely thought there would be decaffeinated everything with it being a health spa!

– No soft drinks menu! Just Wine and Cocktail lists… which isn’t great when you can’t drink! Imagine if you’re an alcoholic visiting for a detox!

– Restaurant was basic-looking; for such an ambitious menu, it was a shame that the restaurant was more like a canteen in a Sainsbury’s with cheap chairs and tables. The chairs of which offered zero support for a pregnant lady.

– There were no bottles of water for free, or even for sale! So it was a case of having to get up every 5 minutes to go to the water fountain in the corner of the ‘Wet Area’. Which is quite annoying when you’re pregnant and just want to lay down, but of course, you need to keep hydrated.

– Although this spa is relatively new, (about a year old), we did notice lots of signs of wear and tear. I actually stood on a piece of broken glass in the Hydrotherapy Pool! Turns out, upon further inspection, lots of the mosaic tiles were cracked and broken, but glued back together. Again, when looking up from the jacuzzi, the ceiling paint was peeling…

It was such a shame there were these little niggles – we really did enjoy ourselves though! Honestly! And we would go back… just hopefully when they have a different menu! 🙂

 

MM.