Easter Traditions Around The World

Posted by Diana on Saturday Apr 19, 2014 Under Baby Activities

Easter Egg HuntWhilst the traditional Easter Egg Hunt will be underway in many Aussie backyards this Easter, there are other fascinating Easter traditions taking place elsewhere in the world.

In the UK, Egg Rolling Competitions are held during Easter with eggs rolled down hills to see which eggs go the greatest distance.

In Poland on Easter Monday women are woken by spritzes of water or perfume to keep them young and beautiful.

In Germany Christmas Trees are burnt to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

In Russia eggs are painted with intricate designs to celebrate Easter.

In Finland children dress up as witches and hunt for treats!

Wishing Everyone a Happy Easter full of fun and tradition wherever you may be!

Tags : | Comments Off on Easter Traditions Around The World

Tiny Toes Ballet

Posted by Diana on Friday Mar 28, 2014 Under Baby Activities

BallerinasMy little one recently declared she wants to be a ballerina. A ‘Fairy-Princess-Ballerina’ in fact! So after years of walking on her tip toes and impromptu twirls in the lounge room, I thought it was time to progress to the next level – with some ballet classes.

The search started for a Sydney based ballet school with a professional approach, without the fuss of concerts and costumes. After much research, I found Tiny Toes Ballet, who offer baby / toddler ballet classes for 2 1/2 year olds, and pre-school ballet classes for children 3 – 6 years old. The Tiny Toes classes are based on the Royal Academy of Dance Pre-School Dance Curriculum. Recently they started ‘Primary Dance Academy’ ballet and jazz for 5 – 7 year old children.

My Pre-Schooler was really excited to be attending her first ballet trial class. After spending some time deliberating over her outfit, she chose to wear a pink fairy skirt, pink t-shirt and pink leggings. There was no need for pink ballet shoes just yet, as bare feet were fine for her trial class. The first class is obligation-free and you are contacted after the class to get feedback and to see if you are happy to continue with the rest of the term.

We were warmly greeted by her teacher Miss Brittany and I was invited to observe the trial class. After a warm-up, there was an imaginative themed portion of the class. At one stage she was floating like a fairy, then she was ice-skating on a frozen lake and suddenly a hula hoop had become a fairy steering wheel. I must say, the fairy car being steered by my daughter, seemed to be going the fastest in the class! Amongst all the fun and imaginative dance, she was developing her coordination, listening to the music, harnessing her creativity and building her confidence.

After such a positive experience, I confirmed her attendance for the rest of the term. She recently acquired her first pair of pink leather shoes, which I am sure she has not removed since we left the store. She does have more technique when she performs her twirls in the lounge room, although she now refers to them as ‘pirouettes’ since starting with Tiny Toes. Her little sister is now mimicking her and doing pirouettes of her own. Possibly another ballerina in the making!

To find out more about nurturing and developing the creative potential of your young child through dance, visit the Tiny Toes website.

Tags : , , | Comments Off on Tiny Toes Ballet

babybjorn_soft_bouncerNew parents can find themselves juggling any number of odd jobs while caring for a small child. But without a spare set of hands, baby wrangling and housework can prove a tricky combination. In those moments you can’t devote to endless kisses and cuddles, a bouncer provides the perfect perch for Baby to watch the day-to-day goings-on at home.

Over the past few weeks our family has been putting a popular classic to the test. A half-century after the release of its first bouncer, BabyBjorn has added softer features and improved curves to its new Bouncer Balance Soft.

We’ve found the ergonomic design perfectly snug and comfy for our little girl. She loves rocking away in the supportive seat and, if your baby is anything like ours, she’ll enjoy having her own secure space to play and giggle while never being more than a few steps from dad or mum.

We found the padded safety harness easy to adjust, which means we can slip bub in and out of the bouncer without fiddling with awkward buckles that can restrict movement.Bouncer_Balance_Soft_black_mesh

We especially love the three height settings, which let our little catnapper play, rest and snooze in the one spot without endless trips to and from the cot.

The super-sleek design, available in black/dark grey cotton or black/grey mesh, looks great in our modern home while the lightweight fold-flat design makes it super portable and easy to store. The mesh fabric is removable and machine-washable, too – a godsend for the hygiene freaks among us.

Best of all, even at seven months our baby still has many months of use left in the bouncer. Once she learns to walk, we can reverse the fabric and turn the bouncer into a toddler chair (for children up to 13 kilograms). Visit the BabyBjorn website for more information on the BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft.

Tags : , , , | 1 comment

Bugaboo Donkey: Believe the hype?

Posted by Daisy on Saturday Dec 8, 2012 Under Baby Activities, Baby Travel, Newborn

It’s fair to say that here at Babyreview.com.au we like a good pram. So, as you can imagine, we have been looking forward to test-driving the Bugaboo Donkey. So the all-important question…  does it live up to everyone’s high expectations?

Since receiving the gorgeous blue and black Bugaboo Donkey, it has tirelessly served us on all kinds of expeditions – all the while patiently carrying gaggles of kids, sleeping babies, piles of shopping, stacks of dry-cleaning and mounds of miscellaneous children’s things.

What is it?

The Bugaboo Donkey is a convertible/extendable single/double stroller. With three easy clicks, it goes from a single (The Mono which is 60cms wide, which is the same as the Bugaboo Cameleon) to a full-sized double (The Duo which is 74cms wide).

Both side-by-side seating positions have independently interchangeable bassinets and seats (making it suitable for twins and different aged children from birth to 17kgs) – both of which positions are reversible and reclinable. This makes it possible to put child/s in any desired position such as facing you, the world or each other.

Being a side-by-side seating setup, the Bugaboo Donkey caters for you being able to see both children face-to-face at once increasing socialisation between you and the children and between the children themselves.

The overall operational feel and movement of the Bugaboo Donkey is excellent. It does indeed have all the things you would expect from Dutch designed Bugaboo, such as refined design, top quality, easy to use, super versatile and comfortable as anything for your precious cargo.



How it works

As a picture says a thousand words, I certainly can’t compete with the great little Bugaboo clip that explains how it works. It is made in sections and covers the following sections – which I have also commented on:

  • Mono duo mono convertibility – very well designed to be easy to use and stress free. Remove seat, three clicks, add basket, done. Remove basket, three clicks, add seat done. Simple as pie.
  • Suitable from birth – bassinets  are soft, spacious, sturdy and secure. Very easy to remove whilst Baby continues to sleep soundly.
  • Reversible and reclinable seats – fantastic feature. Increased surveillance and socialisation, but also ability for child to look out and see the world. I find my toddler usually wants to look out (and chatters away to me), whilst I feel much more comfortable being able to see Baby (especially whilst they are sleeping). Also worth mentioning that the toddler seat is easy to climb in and out of. The harness system is the best I have used: It is adult friendly and child safe and easily adjustable.
  • Multi-terrain – It has been able to go wherever I have wanted to go so far, including several off-road conditions (even at a slow jog!).
  • Two-wheel position – This would be fabulous for the beach using the larger wheels only (see the cool clip).
  • One-piece fold and self-standing – Once you have the knack of the fold it is quick and easy. It seems to fold in on itself once and then again.
  • Compact fold – compact fold… well I suppose this is relevant right?! Obviously it is considerably larger than my Maclaren umbrella pusher, but then again that is comparing apples and oranges. It is a double stroller and folds very compactly for what it is. You can always change it into single before folding it, which makes it even more compact.
  • Car seat adaptability – this is a great feature for a newborn, so as to not wake them when transferring from the car.
  • Brake and height adjustable handle bar – No surprise that this is yet another perfectly designed feature. Easy, simple, practical and a must if you want comfort for both pushers of differing vertical needs. There is also a safety strap located in the centre of the handlebar which can reach to either hand position. The handle bar itself has a great hand feel and is super sturdy.

You can also explore all the chassis details (such as the swivel wheels, brake block, suspension etc.) at http://www.bugaboo.com/learn/bugaboo-design, which is a cool little interactive map showing how all the parts are work.

Statistics… and how they rated

  • Suitable from birth to 17 kg / 37.5 Lbs – As well as this suitability, it also can accommodate different ages at the same time and also grow as your family does. I think this is a key feature.  
  • Dimension one-piece fold into Duo: 52 x 74 x 93 cm / 20.5 X 29 x 36.6″ – As a Duo it does fit through most doorways and does fit on all paths that cater for wheelchair access. Just remember, it is a double pram so just use common sense.
  • Dimension compact fold: 91 x 60 x 40 / 34.3 X 23.6 X 15.7″ – As mentioned above this is really about the same as a full sized single.
  • Weight stroller with 2 seats: 15 kg / 33.4 Lbs – You can feel the difference between a single stroller and packed double stroller, but that is to be expected. Also, if you are carrying children of different weights side-by-side (e.g. newborn and toddler) you can feel that the pram requires a little extra effort on the heavier side. So, if you are worried about overdeveloping the muscles on one arm you can always change the bassinet and seat positions between outings 😉
  • Width in duo: 74 cm / 29″ (width in mono: 60 cm / 23,6″) – As above
  • Width with one car seat: 84 cm / 33.1″ –  This is a little wider that the full Duo width, so just watch those doorways.
  • Storage: under seat basket 28 lbs – So much storage you can easily do a decent shop at the grocery store whether you have one or two kids in tow.
  • 10″ Swivel wheels & 12″ rear wheels with air filled tyres – This larger wheel size means that the Bugaboo Donkey easily takes on the great outdoors and also enjoys a suburban jog. Remember to check the pressure in the tires to ensure maximum comfort for passengers. The swivel wheels also mean the pusher is very easy to direct, even with one hand in the centre of the handlebar.

After test-driving the Bugaboo Donkey it is evident that all the details have been thoughtfully engineered and well made. It is like a high precision piece of kit but also super easy to operate. Like they say the ‘vision comes from a distinct Dutch point of view that informs design at Bugaboo: reduce complexity to the essence to create harmonious form and function that endures.’

So, does it live up to our high expectations?

Well that would be an unequivocal yes. The Bugaboo Donkey promises to do a lot and it delivers on it all. Exceptionally well.

If you have two children of pram ages (i.e. twins or different ages) this pram offers an excellent transport solution. Here at Babayreview.com.au we continue to be impressed with Bugaboo and are excited to see what they get up to next!

Tags : , , , , , , | Comments Off on Bugaboo Donkey: Believe the hype?

Wee Make Music

Posted by Diana on Thursday Jun 28, 2012 Under Baby Activities

From an early age Baby has loved listening to music, singing, dancing, playing tambourines, drums, xylophones, the keyboard and harmonica. When she was 18 months old, I thought she would benefit from a music class where she could extend her creativity by playing new instruments, singing and dancing. I discovered Wee Make Music – music and movement classes for babies from 3 months old to 5 year olds held in the Brisbane suburbs of New Farm and Bulimba.

I was interested in finding out more about the Wee Make Music curriculum which features a wide range of instruments for Baby to play, plus singing, movement, storytelling / listening, mime, imaginative play / improvisation, group dance, puppetry and musical interpretation.

Both Baby and I were excited to be attending our first music class and were warmly welcomed by Miss Louise who is both a teacher and owner of Wee Make Music. We were seated in a circle with other children and parents before the music class started with a welcome song introducing all the children by their first names. The first musical principle taught to the children was to keep a steady beat by patting their hands on their knees. Miss Louise explained the term ‘steady beat and that it is the building block for any musical pattern and rhythms. First and foremost children need to learn to hear and keep a steady beat’. As the steady beat gets faster and slower the children are introduced to the concept of changing tempos. I was already impressed and we had just sung the welcome song!

Then it was time for Baby’s favourite new instrument the triangle. Miss Louise explained the best technique for holding and playing the triangle. After some practice strikes with the triangle’s striker, it was time for the children to play their instrument to some real music which featured a ‘fire fighter’ theme. All the children were given a plastic fire helmet to complete their ‘fire fighter’ look, then encouraged to mime and dance to the song while playing their triangle. The children enjoyed every minute of this activity, which featured elements of dance, improvisation, story telling, mime, movement and music.

The next instrument introduced to the children was a drum with a colourful rainbow mallet. After playing the drum to a new song, it was time to learn the next instrument the finger cymbals. There is quite a technique to holding and playing the finger cymbals.  The children are taught to hold a finger cymbal by pinching the string of the finger cymbal with their thumb and index finger. They then gently lower and raise each each hand, so the two cymbals play against each other making sweet music. It sounds much more controlled than a toddler’s first instinct – to crash the cymbals together like a toy monkey! Baby seemed to enjoy learning three new instruments already and we were only part way through the class.

The next song included playing both the finger cymbals and the drum. It presented a challenge for the children and taught them not only rhythm but coordination. It was then time for some tickle rhymes which created great interaction between the children and their parent as some favourite nursery rhymes were recited.

The experience was completed with a circle dance, then a partner dance with parent and child. There was a guest appearance by a puppet rabbit, who needed to be convinced to come out of his magic hat with the magic worlds sang by each child “Please” before “Good Bye”. It was then time for a quiet lullaby before the “Good Bye” song was sung to all the children.

For their participation the children are rewarded with ink stamps on their hands. All up it’s been a busy class for the children, who have been introduced to instruments, beats, rhythms, tempos, costume, singing, dance, puppetry and movement. It’s definitely a holistic sensory experience with plenty of benefits for children’s musical ability, movement, language development and confidence.

To join a complimentary preview class or to find out more, visit the Wee Make Music website or email info@weemakemusic.com.au

Tags : , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wee Make Music

We just adore our Scandinavian Minui HandySitt, so what could be better than some fantastic accessories to enhance its use in our day-to-day family life.

We chose the HandySitt Bag to ensure safe transport and storage, and the HandySitt Legs to transform the seat into a clever little freestanding chair.

The Bag: You just know that it is good Scandinavian design from first glance. It has that sleek, clean elegant look, is well made and functions beyond expectations.

The padded carry bag is practical and thoughtfully designed. There is a simple (but oh so clever) strap with clips that can be attached in two ways and adjusted to work as either a handbag or cross-shoulder bag. There is one main access zip and lots ofz internal pockets with space to store all the paraphernalia that a parent needs to take on outings.

It is black with red stitching around the zip and has burgundy and black detailing throughout the interior. It is a classic rectangular shape with piping at the exterior seems, has a long zip and additional Velcro fastening.

The Legs: The Minui HandySitt Seat is part of a larger system and can be used in many ways. The HandySitt Legs are a set of optional little legs that attach and transform it into a clever freestanding chair, which can be used both indoors and out.

They are very quick and easy to fit by simply loosening the screws on the back of the chair and hooking the legs under and into the grooves provided. It is very sturdy and sits securely as a freestanding little seat.

Like the HandySitt Seat, the legs are assembled by hand in Europe. They are made of 100% Birch wood varnished with non-toxic lacquer, steel and other manmade materials making the whole unit durable and easy to clean with a simple wipe down.

The legs fit easily into the Carry Bag and so it is no extra effort to bring them along with us for any outing. We have found them great on picnics and camping as Toddler has his own little seat on the picnic rug making it much more likely for him to stay and finish his meal before running off to play.

We highly recommend the Minui HandySitt and accessories. It is practical and easy to use, safe, light, looks great and folds flat for ease of transport and storage. For more information on Minui HandySitt products, please visit the Love N Care website.

Tags : , , , , | Comments Off on Minui Accessories – Great Bag, Great Legs.

It is a luxury to be able to keep a close eye on Baby whilst maximizing my much-needed sleep. The Motorola Baby Video Monitor enables me to do just that. It also gives me peace of mind, which has become one of the most precious things to me as a parent.

I used to listen at sick Baby’s door to check his breathing or creep into his room to make sure the ambient temperature was OK. I don’t like to admit, but I have accidently woken him up doing so. I just love that the Motorola Baby Video Monitor enables me to see (it has enhanced infrared night vision!) and hear how Baby is sleeping and breathing and to check the room temperature, without disturbing him.

I am really impressed that the Motorola Baby Video Monitor is so easy to set-up and operate. You simply take it out of the box, charge it all up and it is ready to go. It has a thin little Users Manual (I find the size of this manual comforting) which clearly lays out what is what. Simply switch it on and you are away! I also love that it has clear buttons that are easy to navigate even when woken from a dream and still cloudy eyed.

This baby monitor being made by wireless communications expert Motorola is at the top of the game. It is a seriously impressive but easy to use product. There are two units: the baby unit and the parent unit. The parent unit has a high-resolution 3.5-inch colour screen and has amazing sound quality with a level indicator. It uses digital wireless technology, has two-way communication and has a range of 450 feet. It has a room temperature thermometer on the baby unit and display on the parent unit. It also has all those practical things such as 3.5 hours of wireless monitoring without recharging, and out of range and out of battery warnings. It also has a selection of lullabies that can be controlled from the parent monitor.

In everyday general use, it allows me a great deal of freedom that I would not otherwise have. With its range of up to 450 feet, I can see and hear Baby from anywhere in our house or garden. I often take the monitor outside with me when I am hanging out the laundry or on that rare occasion that I am relaxing outside in the sunshine, the baby monitor sits up patiently on the table next to my cool drink.

The Motorola Baby Video Monitor is ideal for any parent who needs to catch up on their own sleep, appreciates quality products and wants to keep an eye on their baby from anywhere within their house or garden.

For more information on the Motorola Baby Video Monitor, please visit CNP Brands.

Tags : , , , | Comments Off on I spy with my Motorola Baby Video Monitor… more sleep for baby and me!

I’m going to say it straight up – I am very impressed by the Canadian designed Chariot Cougar in terms of performance, safety and appearance. It is a high-tech, top quality, easy to use, multi-function child transport system.

The Cougar can take you and your child cycling, strolling, jogging, hiking and skiing. We have tried the first three of these activities, which it performs like a dream. We have found the design to be thorough and well detailed and the materials used to be top quality and thoughtfully chosen. It is available as a single or a double version (Cougar 1 and Cougar 2).

Our Chariot Cougar enables us to be active as a family. It allows us to go on all kinds of adventures together and makes everyday exercising with our little one easy. At present my husband is training for the Busselton half-ironman and he uses the cycling and jogging functions often, which means Dad and Baby can spend more time together – giving me a little time to myself!

The Chariot Cougar itself looks like a serious piece of sporting equipment, and is. Chariot Carriers use their multi-function Child Transport System (CTS) and at its heart is VersaWing™ and ezClick™ which enable easy and safe attachment of all conversion kits. It is basically a secure button docking system with a backup safety pin. We have found that this system makes the process of changing kits simple and quick, and does so without compromising safety. Being somewhat nervous about bicycle safety particularly with Baby, I love this system and feel very comfortable using it.

Other winning features are the ezHitch™ and ezFold™. The ezHitch™ system is the cycle connection system and is basically a ball and socket design ensuring maximum range of movement whilst riding and also makes attaching or detaching your Chariot and bike really easy. Much like a car’s tow-bar, we keep the “hitch cup” on the bike we tow with, which is great if we feel like going to an impromptu ride. There is also an EZ Hitch Partial available, which is a second skewer and “hitch cup” so that you can have more than one bike ready to attach the chariot to at any time. That said, it is very easy to change from one to the other in any a case… The ezFold™ is Chariot’s folding system, which enables the Cougar to be folded down into a compact bundle for transportation and storage and auto-locks open or closed for safety.

Chariot Cougar 1 Features:

Three exciting color choices each with their own unique graphics; We have the Red, Grey and Silver combination, but all three look great and are designed with safety and visibility in mind. 

2-in-1 weather cover with Quickclip™, for easy and silent access to the child compartment, and Tough-Tek reinforcement fabric; This cover fully covers the opening of the compartment and is easy to use. It uses Quickclip™ fastenings, which being silent is great if you need to open the compartment whilst your child is asleep. The cover has a clear plastic waterproof cover, a mesh cover beneath and a sun shield under the upper rear of the cover. The whole thing can be rolled up and neatly secured with attached loops or removed when desired.

External mid-frame provides extra leg room and lower step-in height for your children; The Cougar has a low centre of gravity for stability and maneuverability and is designed to allow lots of legroom for the passenger. It has a maximum passenger height of 111cm and being low to the ground allows for your child to easily and safely step in and out.

Photo-luminescent Energlo® fabric for 360º visibility; Energlo is a seriously glow-in-the-dark fabric, which ensures maximum visibility in poor light conditions and at nighttime.

Large tinted poly-urethane windows for superior child visibility; From seated inside the Chariot, the passenger has a wide visibility range; having windows on all sides and a clear roof. I imagine this would be a lot of fun and that one would feel secure being able to see all that is around you. Baby seems to love it!

Clear backed side air vents; The air vents enable good air circulation inside the Chariot. The temperature can also be controlled using the 2-in-1 weather cover.

Widened child cockpit; The cockpit is spacious and there is obviously plenty of space for your child to grow into. The Cougar is designed for babies from birth with the use of the Infant Sling and Baby Supporter (strolling recommended only), and the seat is designed for children over 1 year old. The cargo load of the Cougar 1 is 34kgs, which is well into Childhood, promising years of use ahead.

Padded seat back; The seat is ergonomically designed to support your growing child. It is reinforced and well cushioned with a soft seat back and padded seat bottom. Baby sits happily and watches, plays and reads books, eats snacks and sleeps soundly when he wants to.

Standard HeightRight™ adjustable handlebars; The padded handles are comfortable and easy to keep clean and there are two heights, which allows adjustment for all users. The handle bar is one continuous bar, which is useful when jogging allowing for natural hand movement whilst not compromising safety. Hubby says this helps with correct running form as well. There is also a long wrist strap.

Removable hand-washable padded seat bottom with wicking mesh; I think as parents we all look for these practical details! The seat can be easily taken out and hand-washed. I have actually thrown it through a hand-cycle in the washing machine and it was just fine.

Large folding rear storage bag; The Cougar has an adjustable rear lower storage bag and an upper mesh storage bag, which has a hidden pocket inside. The adjustable storage bag is generous in size and we have found it perfect to carry everything needed for a day’s outing or even a small grocery shop. It also folds up when not in use and is secured with quick-release clips.

Rear wallet/key/phone pocket; I like to have my keys, phone and purse close at hand and this little pocket is perfect for that. It is hidden within the upper mesh pocket and is secured with Velcro and elastic.  I feel very happy knowing that my personal things are quickly accessible yet stored safely.

Stridelite® ready design; The X-Country Series is designed to allow lots of room for a runner’s stride. This is obviously an important feature on a product that is designed for jogging, and I find you have to be really trying to hit the back of the Cougar! Also for taller runners, you can fold the bag up out of the way (or cinch in the bottom of it with the straps) to ensure the stride space is clear. Stridelite ready is referring to the ability to add the stridelite accessory – a blue strobe light kit for extra visibility!

Additional 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective material; In addition to Energlo® fabric, the Chariot Cougar uses 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective material to ensure the high visibility. I think this is fantastic as we often use our Cougar for jogging in the early mornings and evenings when light conditions (and drivers reactions) are poor.

CAS™ Chariot Adjustable Suspension™; My bike fanatic husband is impressed with the CAS. As an ex-bike shop employee, he says it is made from high quality and expensive materials. It is very responsive and can be easily adjusted without tools. It absorbs all the bumps, jolts and knocks along the journey, making the ride smooth and comfortable for your precious cargo. Baby says “thanks Chariot!”.

20” lightweight push button wheels with maintenance free bearings; The large wheel size is ample for travelling safely at cycling speeds and is also great for strolling and jogging in not only urban areas but also on unsealed terrain, such as grass or gravel.

Click n’ Store™ Brackets; These built-in brackets allow you to easily store your cycling or jogging arms on the Chariot itself. This is handy if you are using more than one kit in the one outing such as cycling and jogging. You can also carry the strolling wheels if you stow them upside down in the same holes. The jogging wheel can be attached to the rear of the cargo bag with a strap at the centre top and Velcro on the two sides.

The Chariot Cougar also includes all the X-Country Standard Features:

As covered above these features include: Removable 2-in-1 weather cover, 20” lightweight push button removable wheels with maintenance free bearings, Patented ezFold™ and VersaWing™ 2.0. In addition:

Padded five point seatbelt system; There is a padded shoulder harness and waist belt and is anchored between the legs. It is really easy to use with the buckles at the shoulders (such a great idea!) and all belts are adjustable. Baby seems very happy and secure and I think he really appreciates that it is so easy to fasten and unfasten, and makes for very fast exits!

Protected child cockpit for one or two children; Having a fully protected passenger compartment is yet another winning feature. It can open right up so your child can feel out in the elements, and can be fully secured to stand up to the most inclement weather. Baby is happy and comfortable even when it is pouring with rain and he loves to snooze in his fully protected little cocoon.

Bug proof mesh upper seat for air flow; We often use the bug proof mesh when traveling through bush areas, as I am petrified of ticks and other Queensland creepy-crawlies.

Integrated helmet space for passenger comfort while wearing a helmet; It was quite funny introducing Baby to his fantastic Specialized helmet, which he regarded with some suspicion. He was fitted with his helmet at Action Bicycles in Brisbane, who are knowledgeable, passionate about cycling and cycling safety and great to deal with (full helmet review to follow). He now loves his helmet and associates it with fun bike rides and is very comfortable wearing it in the roomy cockpit.

Durable poly-urethane coated polyester fabric with water repellent (DWR) finish and Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certified fabric; The fabric used is durable and water repellent; so when you are using the rain cover, the whole Chariot is waterproof! All the fabric is tough and so far has stood up well to everyday wear and tear.

Poly-urethane tinted side windows; The large side windows allow for great visibility. I find that Baby loves looking out the windows and the tinting is great to keep out glare.

3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective material; I am a big fan of anything that improves our visibility, and therefore safety, including all the reflective materials used on the Chariot.

Lightweight aluminium frame; The strong aluminum frame is what enables the Chariot to be so lightweight.

Integrated parking brake; The brakes on the Cougar are foot operated and located in the centre of the rear axle. I have to say that when I have the lower storage bag full, I find that I have to reach my foot under to apply the brake. I am not too concerned though, because it is a park brake and only applied when stationary anyway.

No tools required for assembly or conversion; It is great not to have to remember to take specific tools around with you.

Limited lifetime warranty; This shows that Chariot Carrier’s really do have faith in their products.

Meets or exceeds ASTM standards; The Cougar has been independently tested and is AS/NZS 2088 Safety Standards Approved, which is compliant with Australian & NZ stroller safety standards. It also meets and exceeds American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards in product quality and safety.


The Chariot Cougar come with a clear and comprehensive Owners Manual that sets out a step-by-step guide on all items. I personally love the step-by-step pictures that accompany those instructions, which have helped me many times already and saved much frustration! I have just discovered that there are also great instructional videos on the Chariot Carriers website.

After having done some research on the company itself I am not surprised, although am further impressed, that Chariot Carriers are solely dedicated to outdoor child transportation, and are passionate about health and families. Chariots are designed and engineered in Canada, the company is privately held and family run and is proudly socially and environmentally responsible. I am a bit of a softy but I have to say, this stuff warms my heart and makes me even prouder to own a Chariot Carrier!

For more information on the Chariot Cougar, please visit the Australian and New Zealand Distributors Morris Stanley, whom I have found to be passionate, knowledgeable and helpful.

Part 2 (to follow): Long-term review of the Chariot Cougar’s performance as a bike trailer, and some thoughts from Dad!


Tags : , , , , , , | 2 comments

Maclaren Accessories: Enjoy Organised Outings

Posted by Daisy on Thursday Sep 29, 2011 Under Baby Activities, Baby Travel

Two of my favorite things are: 1) accessories and 2) being organised. So you can imagine how I felt with the arrival of my new Maclaren accessories that promised to make my life easier and more organised! I think many of the Maclaren accessories look useful, but for now we chose the Travel Bag, Universal Organiser, Reversible Seat Liner and Field Bag.

Travel Bag (Single)

With our family spread across Europe, Canada and all parts of Australia, we have become quite the practiced and proficient travellers. However saying this, I still dread maneuvering the towering mountain of luggage required when travelling with Toddler. So I welcome the Maclaren Carry Bag which is great to help keep our pusher protected and our luggage neat and organised whilst in transit, which means we have had good luck with everything turning up on luggage carousels in perfect condition.

We find both our Maclaren Volo and Maclaren Techno XT ideal for travel and whichever we take, we find the Maclaren Travel Bag helps to ensure the pusher is protected whilst in transit. It is made from heavy-duty black nylon fabric and reinforcing strapping and has a single long grey zip making it is easy to get the pusher in and out.  It has sturdy little wheels to enable the carry bag to be wheeled as well as carried and a Velcro strap to hold the handles together. It is a classic and neat design, coming in black fabric printed with the Maclaren logo and comes with a customised red Maclaren luggage tag.

On our last trip from Brisbane to Melbourne, after a bumpy ride the carry bag arrived with some general wear and tear and the pusher inside was protected – the carry bag had done its job, and Baby was wheeled out of arrivals with mummy very happy and relaxed!

Universal Organiser

The Universal Organiser has proved to be a little gem. I find it enables me to keep all our essentials easily accessible and close at hand so we can have a much more relaxed time when out and about. The Universal Organiser attaches to the pusher’s handles with Velcro straps and hangs behind the seat back. It has a large central pocket with a mesh front, two insulated cup holders and a little pocket in between with a Velcro closed top.

The generous central pocket has the capacity to hold quite a lot, such as a couple of small toys, books and snacks and even a small nappy pack. The mesh front makes it easy to see where everything is, so you can easily find what you are looking for, preventing those frustrating moments of fumbling around in the dark!

Initially I found the two insulated cup holders to be little tight, but they have proved to actually work well holding cups/drink bottles firmly. I use the small pocket in between the cup holders to hold my phone and keys and feel comfortable knowing that they are safely enclosed but also easily accessible. This is particularly good if Baby is asleep and my phone is on silent and I can hear it vibrate, or if I am having one of those days and am in a rush to get a tired grumpy Toddler in the car and need the keys!

Reversible Seat Liner

The Reversible Seat Liner is a practical accessory that protects your pusher and helps to keep things neat and organised.  It comes in a great range of two-sided colours and patterns, is soft and comfortable for Baby, durable and best of all is machine washable.

We chose the sunny yellow striped/black Reversible Seat Liner and use it in the pram permanently. I love the splash of colour and find it very practical to catch any bits and pieces that Baby will inevitably drop in the course of a day. Of course if there is a major spill whilst out and about one can just flip it over and deal with it later! Even though the pusher seat is washable I do find it easier to just wash the liner instead of having to wash the whole seat.

We only have one Reversible Seat Liner at the moment, but I can imagine that having a couple of them would be a great idea so you have one to use whilst you are washing the other.

Field Bag

The Field Bag is a great looking and practical bag, which can be used as one’s primary nappy/child’s bag.  We chose the Scarlet colour, which has great red, grey, white and black striped lining. I think it looks great by itself or with either our neutral toned Maclaren Volo pusher or Crown/Blue Maclaren Techno XT.

It has a large central pocket, which can fit everything required for a trip to the pool or playgroup and it is magnetically secured for quick and easy access to avoid those tricky moments when you feel like you could do with a third hand. It has an exterior front pocket and two exterior side pockets and lots of zipped and non-zipped interior pockets in which to store various small items, such as bottles, creams, snacks, sunscreen etc. I usually carry our Field Bag in the pusher’s basket, however it has an adjustable shoulder strap and can be carried across your back/chest or over one shoulder – however you feel most comfortable.

For me, one of the winning features is the change mat. It is neatly zipped to the back of the bag and unzips to provide a generous (detachable and machine washable) change mat. This provides a safe and comfortable surface on which to change Baby no matter where you are, which means no more worry about those questionably clean public washrooms!

From my experience, my Maclaren accessories really help in keeping things neat and organised. I think the Travel Bag is a fantastic help when you need to protect your Maclaren pusher whilst in transit or storage, the Universal Organiser for me is now an everyday essential, the Reversible Seat Liner continually keeps things clean and the Field Bag is a practical all-in-one nappy bag. Now that I use them, I can’t go back!

For more information on any of the above reviewed products as well as the full range of Maclaren accessories, please visit CNP Brands.


Tags : , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Maclaren Accessories: Enjoy Organised Outings

We have all heard the old cliché hundreds of times, but seriously, I can’t believe how quickly children grow up! It seemed like yesterday that our Baby was a wee babe in arms and now all of a sudden my little son is having what looks like his first date!

It was a sweet affair with hotcakes and strawberries, perched on the sunny deck at their very own Jolly KidZ ToughTimber Table & Chairs Setting. They looked so grown-up sitting facing each other at the table and were very comfortable on their sturdy little seats. We were very impressed that they managed to hop on and off the chairs by themselves, which I think was made easier by the chairs being so sturdy and well balanced. They were very proud of themselves!

The Jolly KidZ ToughTimber Table & Chairs Setting is solid natural pine timber, very tough and durable, is beautifully finished with rounded edges and corners and has a high gloss varnish. The pine timber looks clean and fresh; the design and construction embraces strong simple lines, which ensures this children’s furniture setting looks great in any home. It is easy to keep clean with a quick wipe down with a soft cloth and is also simple to assemble and dismantle if you are ever moving or handing this setting on to friends when your children have eventually outgrown it.

It comes with two strong chairs, which are suitable for a weight of up to 75kgs, and additional Jolly KidZ ToughTimber Chairs can also be purchased separately if required. The Jolly KidZ ToughTimber setting is designed in Australia and uses a thick timber design for extra strength. You can see when you are assembling the setting that it has been thoughtfully designed, is very strong and sturdy and uses a quality bolt system. It comes in a flat pack with clear assembly instructions and even comes with spare bolts and the required Allen keys.

I have found the Jolly KidZ table setting to be a perfect setting for him in which to undertake the important ‘copying’ developmental stage and he just loves using his table for eating with his friends, drawing or playing in general. I also find that the two of us sitting at ‘his’ table to prepare dinner works really well and is fun for both of us!

We are very happy with our Jolly KidZ ToughTimber Table & Chairs Setting because it has been an instant success with Baby, is well made from quality materials, is tough and durable and will obviously last for years to come and many, many tea parties.

This Jolly KidZ ToughTimber Table & Chairs Setting (being sold as Premium Children’s Square Table Setting & 2 Chairs) along with other great Jolly Kidz products can be purchased at discounted prices from the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) from www.kidsproductsonline.com.au. I have recently discovered this website and have found the pricing to be really competitive for children’s nursery equipment, indoor and outdoor furniture. It is definitely worth a visit to see some great products at competitive prices. In fact, Kidsproductsonline.com.au and Babyreview.com.au are offering you the opportunity to win a $100 Gift Voucher to spend at Kidsproductsonline.com.au  For further information on Jolly KidZ products including this table setting please visit, http://www.jollykidz.net/.

Tags : , , , , | 2 comments