We have been using the Chicco Echo stroller for days out since Little I turned one back in February. So we have certainly put it to the test!. We tend to use it when our larger Chicco Urban travel system won't fit in the packed car or we are just popping out and want something lighter and smaller. It is a godsend for when Little I is staying with her extended family as it is so easy to explain how it works!
I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
A retired spy. A jihadi fanatic. A deadly plan. Can Pilgrim stop The Saracen before America falls?
My Husband urged me to read this book after his Boss recommended it (No, he didn't read it himself, he'll wait for the film version!). Initially I struggled to get into it, the first hundred or so pages are a but waffly (it is a 600 page book!) and the spy novel genre is not really my thing but I persevered and (against my better judgement) the story really caught me and I genuinely felt tense as the plot unfolded.
There are several things you need to overlook in order to enjoy this book. The first is some of the plot leaps - there are moments which are pretty unbelievable, mainly relating to the way Pilgrim tracks Saracen. Also there is a distinct America vs Islam theme which I guess is unavoidable in a spy thriller based around a Jihadi terror plan but I find using 9/11 as a plot hook a bit lazy and obvious. And whilst I do not deny these fanatic groups exist I do have issues with the casual way Hayes makes broad generalisations about the Middle East.
My final issue is that Pilgrim is a pretty vacant character, who just happens to inherit a fortune. As you do.
I can easily compare this book to The Da Vinci Code - completely different subject matter of course but essentially the same completely implausible plot and somewhat void protagonist. But yet the writing style and plot keep you hooked as you race towards the finish line.
All dressed up waiting for Husband to come home for our cinema date. Like looking in a mirror.
As my two girls grow, getting them outside, exploring the world is becoming increasingly important to me. The Canal and Riverside Trust have created a free activity guide ‘What shall we do today?’ which is packed full of ideas and stickers to help parents find fun, affordable ideas for quality family time.
The guide is full of activities that families can enjoy together along our amazing waterways and in-and-around the home, at any age, whatever the weather. We have ordered our guide and can't wait to get the girls out exploring. Download your copy here
Tweeting a photo of Husband enjoying a rather delicious steak on our wedding anniversary won us brunch at Argentinian steakhouse CAU last weekend. So off we popped to Guildford with the kiddies to see what delights CAU could offer us for brunch.
The brunch menu is extensive and varied - you don't need to eat meat to enjoy breakfast here. There are five vegetarian options including a healthy granola option. It is very reasonably priced too with most dishes priced £5 - £7. There is a full range of teas and coffees available plus smoothies and soft drinks. If you are starting early you can even have a cocktail!
Husband went for the CAU breakfast which is the most expensive dish on the menu (£9.95) but you can see why - it is huge! He barely spoke whilst eating it but the pure joy on his face was obvious!
And me. Well I went for the berry pancakes. Possibly the best £5 I have ever spent.
CAU offer kids portions of most of the brunch menu. If these were the kids portions I dare to think how big the regular portions are! Little E had Nutella crepes and Little I had scrambled eggs on sourdough toast. They shared a berry smoothie which was delicious. We couldn't get it off Little I!
The staff were great with the kids bring them colouring sheets and 'CAUpods' to keep them entertained. They also didn't seem to mind Little I chucking the toothpicks around...
I think Husband's plate pretty much sums up how impressed we were with our brunch...
Banana muffins are one of my favourite kid friendly recipes because they are so easy to make. In the photos below Little E is making them just after her 3rd birthday. They freeze really well too so you can make a big batch and freeze them for later. Remember the riper the bananas the better the muffins!
Preheat oven to 180. Line muffin tin with 12 cases.
Sift flour, bicarb, salt and baking powder together and set aside
Add sugar, mashed banana, egg and melted butter together and mix well. Fold in the flour.
Divide between the 12 cases and bake for approx 25mins.
It is that simple. Enjoy!
Little E is very tall for her age. She grew out of her Maxi Cosi Axiss (which I loved) way before the weight limit because her head was sticking out the top! For the past few months we have been trialling a new, high backed seat from Chicco which grows with your child right up to 12yrs of age. A recent crash test video has highlighted the superior performance of high back boosters vs booster pads proving how important it is to use a high back for as long as possible.
The Oasys 2-3 is a new car seat from Chicco which is suitable for children 15 to 36 kg of weight (Group 2 and 3). You can independently adjust the width and height of the seat using the adjusters to adapt to the to your growing children from about 3 to 12 years of age. The backrest can be height adjusted in 10 different positions.
We have the standard model which is not anchored to the car - the seatbelt holds the seat in place but you can buy a FixPlus model which anchors to the car via isofix giving extra stability. Both sets of Grandparents have non-isofix cars so to save buying another car seat for when the kids are staying with them we went for a non-isofix option. In both models the child is secured in the seat via the seatbelt. It is super easy to fit. You simply thread the seatbelt through the red safety lock underneath the headrest which ensures it stays in place. Then once the child is in the seat you thread the lap belt and the buckle end over the child and underneath both the arm rests (also red plastic so you can see where the belt goes) and connect the buckle.
The seat is very well padded, especially around the head and Little E is very comfortable in it. It is also very light and we had no problem taking it abroad on holiday with us. It even survived the baggage handlers!
The seat RRP's at £119 (£150 for the FixPlus) which isn't cheap compared to some other high back boosters but considering it lasts until your child is about 12yrs old it works out about £13 a year. So when you look at it that way it is not a bad investment to get some extra protection. It comes in Black or Red options.
Little E's favourite part of the seat? The cup holder! She loves it!
Depth: 42 cms
Width: 44 cms
Highth: 66/84 cms
Weight: 7.2 kgs
Find out more on the Chicco website
I was sent this car seat for review purposes but all opinions are my own.
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.