Edie_Rainbow_Baby

REVIEW | John Lewis Lambskin Stroller Liner.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

JOHN LEWIS LAMBSKIN STROLLER & CAR SEAT LINER, £50.
Click here to purchase at JohnLewis.com

—————————————————————————————————————–

As it’s getting a little bit chilly, my thoughts are turning to Winter. Perhaps a little early for those who are greedily enjoying the sunshine in parts of the British Isles still! But hey ho, it’s always good to plan ahead. We know it’s going to be another baltic Autumn, nevermind Winter, so let’s get to it!

For this review I’m looking at the AMAZING Lambskin liner from John Lewis. Possibly just given away what I think of the liner, before I’ve even started…

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

So, with many things for Eli we own, we purchased them before Eli had arrived, or had them on our ‘must purchase list’. This Lambskin Stroller and Carseat Liner was right up there, at the top of our wish list. We’re big fan’s of sheepskin and the like in our house, so we knew this Lambskin liner would suit Eli perfectly too. Towards the end of last year we finally purchased this one, pictured, from the John Lewis in Bluewater.

As you can see, this liner is super soft and cosy. Apparently, it can be used during both cold and warm weather. The Lambskin is good at regulating temperature during the Summer months. Mr Eli gets too hot in EVERYTHING however so our liner has been in storage over Summer – but it still looks brand new!

The liner, you’ll be glad to hear, can be machine washed at 40c. Although, I haven’t washed ours yet. I’m sure now that Eli is fully weaned we may need to wash this in the very near future however!

At the pricetag of £50, I did think at the time, “Is this expensive?”. But no, it really isn’t! Look how new it still looks almost a year on. It’s a piece of actual lambswool, it’s incredible quality – and frankly looks a lot more expensive than £50! Definitely worth the investment to have your little one cosy, snug and secure.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Another massive bonus is that this liner can be used in car seats (big and small) and is universal for most strollers and pushchairs. Obviously, not to be used on prams or carrycots without a harness. The liner is designed with carefully positioned holes so the harness and crotch straps can be threaded through. Our stroller is used with our iCandy Strawberry. As you can see, it looks pretty excellent.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Awww, here he is, loving his Lambskin liner! The top two photos are from when Mr Eli was 6 months old, sleeping through his very first snowfall. The bottom two photos are from last week – when shock horror, we HAD sunshine outside! Hence Eli’s shorts and beaming smile.

Alas, it’s things like this liner that make me excited for Winter. I just love cosy walks in the chilly air (as long as it’s not windy air, or air full of rain. Ugh).

So there you have it, the simply wonderful Lambskin Stroller and Carseat Liner from John Lewis. I literally cannot recommend it enough!

MM.

NB: John Lewis have not asked for this review. I simply adore this liner and wanted to share my opinions on it.

 

Edie_Rainbow_Baby

EVENT | Celebrating 80 years of iCandy.

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 17.25.29

A few months ago I was contacted by iCandy; it was all a little bit secret. I was intrigued, excited. Then a few weeks ago I received the most wonderfully presented envelope, in the post, that I’d seen in a long time! Inside was even better, an invitation to the  iCandy 80th Anniversary event on Tuesday 10th September, at superb events venue, One Marylebone, London.

Photo 13-08-2013 12 17 03 Photo 10-09-2013 14 39 52 (1)

I was thrilled to be invited and of course made that RSVP shortly after.

Looking forward to the event, I made my journey into London early so that I could meet my OH and he could then take Mr Eli for some lovely food and then home for bed. I arrived at One Marylebone just a little after 6:30pm, where I was greeted with the warm welcome of event staff, a red carpet and a truly eye-catching iCandy facade, laden with vibrantly coloured parasols!

Photo 10-09-2013 18 35 44 (1)

Upon ticking my name off the guest list, I was ushered upstairs; where I was promptly handed a glass of Moët & Chandon and walked around the show space that displayed all the beautiful iCandy designs to date.

Photo 14-09-2013 17 48 29

I paid particular attention to the newest model, the Apple2Pear, as I hadn’t yet seen it in real life. I was astonished at the versatility and function of the design. Coming in 7 different colours, I am drawn to the Chilli and Raspberry Blue colourways. This is definitely the perfect travel system for when your family grows.

Photo 14-09-2013 17 52 40

So as the drinks flowed and the very tasty canapés were devoured, the time had come to head downstairs for the show to really begin! I was shown to a magical room filled with all things ‘woodland’, including a huge tree.

Photo 10-09-2013 20 00 18 (1)

I was seated on front row, or FROW as you fashionista’s will refer to it these days 😉 Once everyone was seated we were treated to the most amazing sounds of Whinnie Williams – voice like an actual angel!

Photo 14-09-2013 18 02 51

Other familiar faces to FROW were Imogen Thomas, Grace Woodward, Jasmine Guinness and Jodie Kidd. We were then introduced to iCandy‘s Managing Director Martin Boyle and joint CEO’s the Appel Brother’s themselves. It was incredible listening to men with such passion for their work – and their teams. I was in literal tears during the speeches. A new partnership between iCandy and The Lullaby Trust was also formally announced; and a cheque of £5,000 was given to the trusts’ CEO, Francine Beats. iCandy have teamed up with ex-Mulberry designer, Janet Collin, who has created a special new changing bag; the Emilia bag. £10 from the sale of each bag, will be given to The Lullaby Trust.

Photo 15-09-2013 11 17 42

Following the speeches was a fashion show, previewing the 2014 collection. New flavour packs in bright colours, upgraded designs (including a black chassis) and fashion-conscious handbags.

The highlight for me was the big reveal of the forthcoming new model to the iCandy family, The iCandy Raspberry. Of which, I was in actual awe – both during the catwalk show and post-show, where I stood for a good 30 minutes watching the hands-on demonstration, showing us all the multitude of ways the pushchair can be flipped and changed around, as well as folded up. The iCandy Raspberry is a stunning piece of innovative design, in form and function. The design is very, very neat, lightweight and stylish. The iCandy Raspberry is suitable from birth, but does not have a carrycot! Brilliant! There is however a very snuggly newborn “Pod” that will keep your brand new arrival warm, cosy and most importantly, secure. This pushchair has been designed for the city-dweller, someone who needs a pram that is adept in crowds and along city streets, lightweight to get up stairs and on public transport, but it’s also pretty darn cool too! The best-looking pram I’ve EVER seen – and we’ve seen A LOT of prams! This design can lay completely flat, but also reclines for older children; it’s also forward and parent-facing. Bonus. I also want to mention that I was shocked at how small the Raspberry was when folded, it’s tiny. We currently have an iCandy Strawberry and although it folds down well, we do struggle to get it in and out of the car – and it does take up pretty much the entire boot of our VW Polo. The Raspberry would give you back your boot, if you’re in the same situation!

Photo 14-09-2013 20 31 38

I also loved the large shopping basket on the iCandy Raspberry, which features a ‘glove compartment’ as I fondly like to call it. The hard case could house your raincover, keys, phone etc, great for keeping your valuables out of sight. The iCandy Raspberry will come in around 7 new colour flavour packs, names to be confirmed. But the colours that were displayed were just stunning. I want them ALL! I love that you can swap and change the colours around – so versatile.

Photo 15-09-2013 11 19 56

After the demonstration I headed over to the cupcake table, passing the very lovely ’80’ cake and took 2 cupcakes home. One for me with a midnight cup of tea and one for OH, who’d had a tough evening with Mr Eli. We both really appreciated those delicious cup cakes, believe me! I also thoroughly enjoyed my lovely iCandy goodie bag filled with lots of lovely catalogues, magazine, leather-bound note book, mug, pen and yummy chocolates!

Photo 15-09-2013 11 21 59

What an absolutely amazing evening was had by all. I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to iCandy for inviting me to the event. It was wonderful to meet the brains behind the brand and to experience the passion of everyone involved.

MM.

 

PS – Apologies for the rubbish quality of some of the photos. The show was very quick-paced and the lighting changed frequently. Plus, to be fair, I need a new phone!

 

Edie_Rainbow_Baby

REVIEW: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.

photo 1 (13)

 

Location: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.

Length of stay: Monday-Friday, May 2013.

Lodge: New Executive Lodge, 653 (Cedar).

Number of people: 6 Adults, 2 Children, 2 Infants.

————————————————————————————————————-

Back in May we went on our first family holiday to Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest. There was a total of 10 of us going so stayed in one of the New Executive Lodge’s, 653 in Cedar to be precise. We were overwhelmed by just how cool the lodge was when we pulled up outside it! My OH’s family have been visiting several Center Parc’s locations since OH was VERY young. But they all confirmed that this was “the very best lodge we’ve ever stayed in!” as soon as we were through the door.

Once inside the door there is space for coats and shoes; plus space for 2 (large) prams to fit in nicely. There was also a huge broom cupboard to house all our suitcases and umbrellas, plus additional bedding, hoover, dustpan and brush, iron, ironing board etc.  There was a dining table to seat 8 plus we had 2 high chairs brought to the lodge in advance. The highchairs were the same as the ones we found right across Center Parcs in the restaurants and places. This meant we didn’t have to figure out how to use a new highchair every time we went somewhere new, but it also meant that Eli knew it was dinner time as he recognised the highchair. This really helped with consistency. The highchairs are all easy clean, but the tray cannot be removed, or even moved closer to your little one. So there was quite a lot of space between Eli and his tray. He managed ok though. We had maid service who replenished bedding and towels and cleaned the lodge daily.

SO! A little look around Lodge 653…

There were 2 double bedrooms and 2 twin bedrooms. We were brought 2 good size cots for the baba’s too. Albeit, we had been told by friends to take our own cot bedding as this is not provided.

photo 2 (14)

 

Bedroom’s were very nice sizes, lots of space for a cot. Not a lot of hangers in the wardrobe though! But we made-do. Would have to mention here that the bedding was atrociously LOUD! Never ever tried sleeping in anything like it! The bed was really comfy but the duvet sounded like crisp packets, every time you BREATHED! Huge let down as it looked wonderful! After the first night we ended up taking taking the sheets off the duvet and slept in those instead. Would recommend taking your own sheets/blankets.

Each bedroom has it’s own en-suite, which is absolutely perfect when sharing with so many people! We had an amazing shower in ours. Upstairs, there were also two balconies off the bedrooms, complete with bistro set, overlooking the woodland. The living room was just lovely, huge ‘L’ shaped sofa, that I fell asleep on every night. It was just so comfy! We also had an open fire, which marked my first experience with a real indoor fire! OH led the log-burning ceremony every night. We weren’t blessed with good weather for the duration of our stay (in true British fashion!) so the wood burner was well-used! The kitchen was really spacious, with ton’s of cupboards and two fridges, an oven, hob, microwave and even a dishwasher! You are provided with a tiny amount of washing liquid, so best to take your own too. There was also a really nice breakfast bar, that the kids loved sitting at!

photo 3 (7)

We had a great patio with dining set and BBQ – we also had regular visits from the local wildlife too! We were lucky enough to have a Lodge with not only it’s own Games Room (PERFECT for the kids and Grandad!) that had a Pool table, huge TV with PS3 and a ton of board games; but we also had our own Sauna! Bliss!

photo 1 (14)

Eli is such a water baby it’s untrue – he LOVES his swimming. The Sub-Tropical Paradise was amazing. Loads of slides and play areas for children of all ages! We’ve never seen Eli happier than when he was splashing about in the baby pool. He absolutely loved it! OH and I also frequented the Rapids and new water slide. We had a particularly wonderful moment, when we were all in the outdoor pool and it began raining so so ferociously. The water in the outdoor pool was steaming hot and the rain droplets were ice cold. Very memorable and VERY refreshing! This may also have contributed to the Post-CP cold we all had! oops….

I’d also point out that you cannot take a pram or buggy into the swimming area. Eli will only sleep in his pram so this was a huge downside for us, plus our iCandy Strawberry was not cheap! We did however purchase a padlock and locked our pram in the outdoor buggy park. We purchased the padlock for £3 at the Bike Hire shed. I keep the padlock in Eli’s changing bag now, incase we’re ever faced with a similar situation anywhere else. There are ‘cots’ (more like play pens!) for your children but we struggled to get Eli to sleep in one. Could have been that it was so warm and noisy in the Dome too.

photo 4 (7)

The food was great at every restaurant we visited. The staff at all restaurants really went out of their way to accomodate us, it was an absolute pleasure to eat out! I can really recommend the French Onion soup from Cafe Rouge – I had it twice, it was so good! Equally, their English Breakfast went down a storm as we prepared for the big drive home on our last day. The ribs at Huck’s American Diner were melt in the mouth, just so tasty. I’d also recommend the Indian take away. BEST Indian take away I think we’ve ever had. Very low-cost too!

photo 5 (4)

Mid-week, OH and I indulged on our first night out since welllllll before Eli arrived. We had a few drinks at the Lodge and then went onto Strada. The manager even brought over a glass of Prosecco as it was almost my birthday! Such a lovely touch. Our table overlooked the Dome, which was just incredible by night with all the trees and tropical plants lit up in the dark. We then went onto Cafe Rouge for a glass of red outside, under a heater. It was so so lovely to catch up with OH and have a proper date night. It was long overdue. We then went for a few cocktails and to the ‘adult disco’. We thoroughly enjoyed dancing to the horrendously cheesy (mostly 90s) music, it was great fun!

photo 2 (15)

 

We all had an amazing time at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest and would go back in a heartbeat. There is a TON of stuff to do, especially if you have a family. There’s also a spa, if you’re in the mood for some R & R. Center Parcs is great if you’re thinking about planning a family break, I seriously cannot recommend it enough!

I have just noted a few things that might come in handy if you’re going to visit a Center Parcs soon…

– Take your own food and drink. The Parc Market is a little bit more expensive than your usual supermarket. You can easily add £1-£2 on the price of what you would pay at home. But, of course, the Parc Market is great if you do forget something – it’s VERY well stocked.

– Take washing up liquid, especially if you’re still washing umpteen bottles like us!

– Take your own cot bedding.

– Likewise, take your own bedding if you don’t want to be disturbed by the crispy sheets provided!

– Be prepared to leave your pram/buggy outside in the Buggy Park. If you have an expensive pram, take a padlock with you so you’re not worrying the entire time about leaving it!

– Would really recommend the Dine In service. The Indian take away was just amazing. SO authentic, so tasty. Very affordable.

– Aside from the take away service, you must book all restaurants and any other activities you’d like to do on your trip. You also need to hand over a £5 deposit, per person, for every single restaurant reservation. This came out quite costly when we booked all our meals all at the same time. The deposit is deducted from your meal however, Bare this in mind if you want to dine out or partake in any activities. At Sherwood Forest, you make your reservations at the desk by the Bowling alley.

– At this particular location, we found that the Family changing cubicles were very few, so had to wait quite a while for one to become available. They were hit-and-miss on size too. We struggled at times with Eli; the changing ‘area’ for babies is made from quite a hard, evasive material, almost like concrete, so not particularly comfortable or easy on the eye. This definitely upset Eli, he didn’t like the cold concrete or the look of it, I don’t think! The entire changing experience wasn’t great, the lockers by the Family changing were miles away from the showers and were also quite far from the pool entrance. The changing area is a MAZE.

MM.

I was not endorsed for this review in any way. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

Edie_Rainbow_Baby

THANK YOU to John Lewis + iCandy.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 15.49.43
Mr Eli was so happy to be back in his iCandy Strawberry!

As I have previously documented, I’m a huge fan of iCandy. No-less because they’re a British brand with eye-catching, yet hardwaring products. It’s also very well documented that as a family, we’re HUGE fans of John Lewis. Again, another British brand with an amazing ethos for quality products and a company that prides itself in looking after its customers; and it’s partners (general staff!).

So, you can imagine my horror when one day I couldn’t remove the safety bar on my iCandy Strawberry pram. Eli was wearing his Ponseti Boots so it made it awkward to get him out. Eli had only been riding in the stroller/seat unit for about 5 weeks. So it was still pretty much brand new. I can’t say that this travel system was on the cheap side either; all in all it did cost nearly £900. BUT as I walk everywhere, the iCandy Strawberry was a definite investment – and I absolutely LOVE it.

As a Social Media wizard, my first point of call was to message the iCandy Facebook page. I left a comment on their wall and got a lovely response soon after. The iCandy Facebook assistant advised I contact John Lewis. So I did just that.

Unfortunately, you can’t call a store directly. You go through to the John Lewis central customer service centre, even if you have a direct number for the store you wish to contact. This however, is not a bother. The customer service advisors are so astute and just want to help you out. So jolly (but not annoyingly jolly!) and helpful they all are. This also means that all discussions are kept under a reference number so everything is kept organised and each advisor you speak to already know everything there is to know about the nature of your call.

I was advised that someone from the Stratford store would contact me with regards to having the seat unit fixed.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 15.53.57
Our iCandy Peach loan, soon after it arrived!

Someone called me from the Nursery department at Stratford about an hour later. After a few discussions it was decided that someone from the Stratford store would personally come to my home, on the train, with an iCandy Peach loan. Then they would take my iCandy Strawberry seat unit back to the store, where it would be sent away to be fixed. I cannot drive and now I’m working from home it makes it difficult to take a whole day off – plus it would mean paying for the cost of trains to and from Stratford, twice. I thought this was just incredible.

After the weekend sure enough, a lovely chap called Calvin from the Nursery department turned up, bang on time, with my iCandy Peach loan.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 15.57.56
Our replacement iCandy Strawberry seat unit came back in just over a week!

A week later, Calvin came back with my new iCandy Strawberry seat unit and collected the iCandy Peach loan.

Absolutely above and beyond. Just simply wonderful service from start to finish. I can’t think iCandy and especially, John Lewis enough. I’ve never ever heard of a retailer doing that for anyone. Retailers just aren’t like that these days. John Lewis have completely set the standard in retail customer service and they should be extremely proud of all who work for them! That kind of service is just off the scale. Unheard of. Exceptional.

THANK YOU JOHN LEWIS AND iCANDY! Just superb.

MM.

Edie_Rainbow_Baby

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.

 

Edie_Rainbow_Baby

Our iCandy Strawberry: Seat unit/Stroller and Carrycot.

**Quick warning, this post is quite photograph heavy**

We had looked at lots and lots and lots of reviews of travel systems, push chairs, strollers, joggers, car seats – everything! We came to the conclusion that we *needed* the iCandy Apple. No, not because we’re massive Apple fans… but because iCandy products are the most innovative, easy-on-the-eye and well received. Also, it’s quite important to us that iCandy is a British brand – we’re massive supporters of all things heritage, so this was also a key selling point for us!

Upon further investigation, we found that the iCandy Strawberry was due to be released – after much anticipation. We watched a ton of videos from trade fairs and Which, along with reviews, and decided that we now *needed* the iCandy Strawberry. We called up John Lewis dozens of times awaiting the delivery of it to the shop floor so we could look at it in real life. FINALLY, it had arrived at the Oxford Street store, so we dashed down after work to have a butchers.

We were not disappointed – but knew there was a waiting list and all products that were being delivered, were going straight to customers who had pre-ordered, months and months and months previous.

We looked at a handful of forums and spoke to iCandy stockists and found that we were likely to have a 3 month wait. So we thought, ‘sod it, let’s get it ordered’. So at just 12 weeks pregnant, we ordered the entire package from John Lewis in Stratford. We just wanted to keep it simple colour-wise, black goes with everything – and is unisex. So we ordered the seat unit (£450) and seat unit flavour pack in Assam (£75) along with carry cot (£95) and carry cot flavour pack in Assam (£75).

We were told that we’d get a phone call when everything was in stock, ready for dispatch. Personally, I thought it would be longer than the 3 month wait… judging by conversations around the amount of pre-orders and the length of time it takes to dispatch to the stockist – for the stockist to then dispatch to the customer directly. Just 3 weeks later we got a phone call saying that all items would be delivered in a further 3 days time! We couldn’t believe it.

But hey, I did say we were organised, didn’t I? 😉

So, obviously, at just 24+1 weeks pregnant, we haven’t given it a proper test drive yet. But check out the pictures. We’re chuffed with it! Will have to follow up on this post when Baby Boy actually arrives! From driving it around the house, I can confirm that it is smooth, easy to manoeuvre and quite light. The iCandy Strawberry comes with ‘memory’, meaning that it can be folded with the seat unit attached still – it will then unfold back into the same position before it was folded.

What’s in the box? iCandy Strawberry Chassis, Stroller seat unit, bumper bar, wheels, rain cover and instructions/warranty.

What’s in the box? iCandy carrycot, bumper bar, rain cover, instructions/warranty.

Carry cot attached, with bumper bar. The carry cot features the Assam flavour pack – hood and cover.

Stroller, rear facing. The stroller features the Assam flavour pack – hood and seat cover.

Stroller, front facing.

Folded, free standing, with stroller still attached.

Folded, laid flat with stroller still attached.

————————————————————————————————————–

We’ve also ordered the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix car seat from Amazon, which attaches to the iCandy Strawberry chassis. You need to purchase the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix adapters (£30) however!

The complete iCandy Strawberry Travel System that we purchased above came to a total of £725 from John Lewis. We still need to purchase a the Parasol (£25), which can now be purchased online at JohnLewis.com

MM.