Car Seats – know the law!

There are certain topics that are always sure to start a debate (or argument) amongst parents. Forward facing car seats is one of those hot topics. Now I am a keen advocate of extended rear facing car seats (my first post on the subject). Baby boy has a car seat that will keep him rear facing until roughly the age of 5 and baby girl will have the same. These car seats have been shown to be 5x safer in the event of an accident and the crash test footage, for me, just confirms my choice. That being said, if a parent chooses to move their child to a forward facing seat at a younger age then that is up to them. No one should judge or condemn them as it is a valid parenting choice – AS LONG AS IT IS LEGAL!

Over the past year I have heard so many parents say that they don’t understand which car seat to use. There are countless posts on social media and parenting forums asking for car seat advice and twice as many answers giving bad advice! I am shocked at how many parents don’t know the law with regards to car seats!

On 1st April 2015, i-Size (a European safety standard – ECE R129) became official UK legislation. I personally don’t feel that this law has been properly explained to parents and it certainly hasn’t had the media coverage that it needed. There are far too many people who either have no idea of its existence or just don’t fully understand it. The i-Size law means that children using a height based car seat (i-Size car seat) must stay rear facing in this seat until they are at least 15 months old. At the moment this only applies to i-Size car seats so don’t start to worry if your 12 month old is forward facing in a non i-Size seat. However, if you do have an i-Size car seat and your child is facing forward earlier than 15 months old then you are breaking the law.

Some i-size car seats:

Maxi Cosi Two Way Pearl, Maxi Cosi Axissfix, BeSafe iZi iSize, BeSafe Modular, Joie iAnchor, Nuna Rebl, Concord Reverso.

If you don’t have an i-Size car seat then the ECE R44/04 law still applies. This law allows your child to use a forward facing car seat once they weigh at least 9kg. If your child is in a forward facing car seat below this weight limit then you are breaking the law!

It really is that simple. If you have an i-Size seat your child stays rear facing until 15 months and if you don’t have an i-Size seat then they must rear face until they weigh at 9kg.

Now as I said, I am a firm believer in children rear facing until at least age 4 and if you want your child to stay rear facing for longer that’s great. There are some fantastic extended rear facing car seats on the market now and they are becoming increasingly budget friendly!

However, if you choose to have your child forward face that’s fine. It is completely your decision. Just know and follow the law!

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A weekend in Gotham *Review

A few weeks ago, Mr K and I celebrated 5 years of married bliss. After our, quite frankly, disastrous wedding, 3 house moves, 2 children and numerous other emotionally trying life events, we decided to splurge out and really treat ourselves. Let’s be honest, I would have been happy with a travelodge if it meant a whole weekend of uninterrupted sleep but Mr K was insistent that we be spoilt! My parents offered to have the children for a whole weekend and so we set about planning our luxury mini break.

Manchester was the decided destination. With cocktail bars galore, every cuisine imaginable and an overwhelming choice of decadent hotels, it was the perfect place for our celebratory getaway.   We narrowed down our accommodation choices to The Hilton and Hotel Gotham. It was a tough choice but after much deliberation, Hotel Gotham had the edge. Luxurious without being corporate, themed without being tacky, exclusive without being snobby.

Housed in a stunning stone, listed building on King Street, this former premises of The Midland Bank is perfectly situated in the city centre. Surrounded by celebrity restaurants and only a short walk to Deansgate, Spinningfields, The Arndale and Picadilly Station, it really does have a prime location. Upon arrival we were offered a complimentary welcome cocktail. I have no idea what was in it but it was delicious! Check in was pleasantly efficient and even though we were early, our room was ready for us.

seating area of Wilson Suite (excuse our mess)

We had gone to town and treated ourselves to a small suite and I’m pleased to say that it did not disappoint. Grey and black decor with hot pink accents is not the usual hotel standard but it really worked, setting a slightly gothic yet decadent ambience. Thoughtful touches such as a range of magazines, books and even ‘proper’ milk in the fridge were much appreciated. These may seem like small details but it is the small details that set a hotel apart from all the others.

extremely comfortable bed

The wide (yet strangely short) bed was probably one of the comfiest beds that I have ever slept in. In fact, if I could have taken that mattress home with me I would have! Unfortunately though it wouldn’t fit in the swag bag (a bag you can fill with momentos from the room and pay for at reception – anything from mini bar products to the throw on the bed). I had intended to treat myself to the espresso cups on departure but in our last minute packing rush I completely forgot. Maybe I can persuade Mr K to take me back so that I can ‘swag’ them.

The bathroom was large but, as much as I appreciated the extra large shower, I did miss a bath. There is just something about relaxing in a bubble bath in a posh hotel.

Breakfast was included in our package. We had the option of having it in our room at no extra charge but we decided to be social and go to the restaurant. A continental buffet alongside a choice of cooked breakfast meant that we left each morning rather full and not in need of any lunch. It also, most certainly, helped the hangover! Staff were friendly and service was quick but not rushed. This warm efficiency was evident throughout the hotel and in fact continued after our stay when my phone charger was returned to me a few days after we returned home (silly me having left it plugged in the room).

Mr K and I thoroughly enjoyed our anniversary weekend and we are very glad that we chose Hotel Gotham. When Mr K first suggested it as a destination I had visions of Batman and Joker motifs staring at me from the walls! It couldn’t be farther from that. The hotel is complete tasteful luxury. All in all I can honestly say that I would recommend it to anyone wanting a luxury stay. 

Our stay at Hotel Gotham was entirely paid for ourselves and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Mummy Guilt

Where have the past 8 (nearly 9) months gone? Seriously, how have they passed so quickly? It honestly doesn’t seem that long ago since baby girl was born and now she is growing up with frightening speed!

Over the past month and a half she has started to pull herself up to standing and can now crawl at the speed of light. Come on now child, slow down! Please!

I love that she is learning new things and I am incredibly proud of her when she masters a hard practised skill. It just scares me if I am honest. It scares me that these days, when my children are young and need me, are flying by and I worry that I am not making the most of them. I am not making the most of the time I get to play with my children, or cuddle my children, or read with my children. Instead I get frustrated that baby boy wants me to do a jigsaw with him when I am trying (and failing) to clean the kitchen. I get annoyed when baby girl won’t stop crying and just wants to be held when I am trying (and failing) to hang the washing out. Instead of revelling in the time I have with my babies and making the most of every single second, new skill and milestone, I am stressing about things that need to be done and aren’t getting done. In short I am missing out on my gorgeous children.

The funny thing is that I haven’t even gone back to work yet. I am still at home full time and yet I feel like I am missing out! That obviously then sets off a new worry about being a full time working mum and missing out on even more things. My god, the guilt is everywhere!

The next few weeks before I start my job are going to be hectic but I really need to slow down and spend some quality time with my beautiful, perfect children. They deserve my time and full attention whilst we have the opportunity. Things are going to be very different soon and I can’t help but feel sad and slightly resentful that someone else is going to spend the majority of time with my babies.

Mummy guilt is hard!

Weeeeeeee in the potty

For over a week now we have been attempting to encourage baby boy to use the potty. We have had some success yet I am constantly feeling that it is a 1 step forward and 2 steps back process! I have reached the point now where I can honestly say that I hate potty training with a passion! Right now, at this point in time, I don’t care if he wears a nappy for the rest of his life (the very small still rational part of me is screaming ‘you don’t mean that’ but I am ignoring her).

We have had a degree of success, like I said though. Baby boy will happily use the potty as long as he is not wearing any pants. As long as his bottom half is naked he will sit himself down and then proudly tell all and sundry that he has done a big wee or poo. He then gets a little sweet (I am not above bribery). Brilliant! Put some underwear on him however and he doesn’t even try. He just goes in his pants. Arggggghhh! It’s great that we have made some progress but seriously, he can’t just walk around naked forever! We do actually have to leave the house.

One of the worst parts of this whole process is that baby boy has discovered that he can wee on purpose if he wants to and he finds it hilarious. I call it revenge weeing and it goes like this: ‘Stop hitting your sister’ = wee on the floor. ‘No, you can’t have the bricks out until the cars have been tidied away’ = wee on the floor. ‘Eat your lunch before you have a biscuit’ = wee on the floor. I am sick to death of cleaning up wee and poo!

It’s at times like these in your child’s life that everyone around you seems to have done a better job than you. ‘My child was potty trained by 12 months’ or ‘my child potty trained in 3 days’. Well good for you and your exceptional toileting child! I know that it will get easier and that one day it will just click but my god it feels like this hell will never end! 

How did you go about potty training your child? Any tips?