Beauty, Brains and Buff: The Maclaren Techno XT

Posted by Daisy on Thursday Jul 14, 2011 Under Baby Activities, Baby Travel, Newborn


Why is there something about the Maclaren Techno XT that reminds me of James Bond? After some thought I decided that no, I am not just being over dramatic, but yes indeed, there are quite a few points which form this association. Firstly, the Maclaren Techno XT is high-tech, good looking, packed with innovative features, sporty and adventurous but also sophisticated and elegant and, oh yes… British…

The truly winning point for me is that the Maclaren Techno XT is that oh so rare, versatile all-in-one package. It is safe and comfortable for baby and can take us from sporty outdoors adventures to elegant exhibition openings where everyone is sipping cocktails and dressed in black.

On our most recent trip to visit baby’s grandparents in Melbourne, we used the Maclaren Techno XT as our all-in-one pusher. We used it for varied activities including jogs on unsealed terrain, strolls on grass and sand, lots of pavement walking, shopping and gallery perusing.

We are extremely impressed with the Maclaren Techno XT, in terms of appearance and performance. It comes in a variety of great colours and we just love the Crown/Blue, which has charcoal and silver coloured detailing. It has a 5-point harness system and the seat is well padded for baby’s safety and comfort. It performs very well in all regards, is easy to maneuver and fold (only needs one hand!) and makes a comfortable and secure sleeping pad for baby whilst out and about (baby has never slept as well in any other pusher!).

Like the super lightweight Maclaren Volo, the Maclaren Techno XT is a compact umbrella pusher. At the other end of the Maclaren range, the Techno XT is a little heavier than the Volo, however with this little extra weight comes a whole host of features, the Techno XT revealing itself as a high-tech, highly detailed, super comfortable, rather sporty little number!


The Maclaren Techno XT features:

  • Basic Weight 7.9kgs: The Techno XT is a great balance between being lightweight and having all the features that enable it to be a high-tech all-in-one pusher.
  • Carrying Capacity up to 20kg: This weight capacity allows for the Maclaren Techno XT to be used well into early toddlerhood.
  • Appropriate From Birth: The Techno XT is suitable to use from birth and comes with extra support pads to ensure newborn baby is supported and comfortable.
  • Recline Four positions: The four recline positions are amazing! From sitting in a fully upright position, to relaxed reclining, to horizontal for maximum sleeping comfort. You can raise the seat incline with one hand from behind, but do need two hands to lower the seat, which is easily done by lifting two small levers. Also, when the seat is fully reclined, the rear cover fits snugly around the head and the hood can unfold right forward over the seat, which creates an enclosed little bed.
  • Wheel Size 16.5cm/ 6.5in: The large wheel size is ample for not only urban areas but also strolling and even jogging on graded unsealed terrain, such as grass or gravel. Also, the pusher’s maneuverability can be enhanced with the built-in front wheel swivel function.
  • Hood design: The hood design is a great feature. It is extendable with a neatly zipped section that can fold forward to protect baby from weather and creates a protected little bed when the seat is reclined.  There is also an in-build clear visor folded neatly under the hood that is easily flipped out to provide extra protection from the weather.  The pusher also has a large reflective stripe on the hood, which is a great visual feature and also acts as an important safety feature.
  • Hood air vents and large viewing widow: The air vents enable good air circulation and the large viewing window?enables a clear view to baby.
  • Elasticized pockets: There are two generous elasticized pockets, which can carry the rain cover and mosquito net. I also find them useful for carrying things like my phone and keys that I like to have easily accessible.
  • Satin finish handles: The satin finish handles not only look great, but are comfortable and easy to keep clean. The handles are also extendable which allows adjustment for all users.
  • Reflective hubcap design: I think these are a good safely feature, particularly if you ever use your pusher in situations of low visibility.
  • Foot-operated linked parking brakes: The red brakes are linked to the park brakes and can be easily activated with either foot from behind either rear wheel.
  • Front and rear suspension: I think bub would like to thank Maclaren for the four-wheel suspension! It certainly does seem to add to the comfort of baby’s ride and allows for use on varied terrain.
  • Extendable leg rest: I have found this to be a great feature to complete horizontal comfort when baby is reclined and sleeping.
  • Flexible footrest: This is great when pusher is in use and when pusher is folded.
  • Height adjustable shoulder harness: This is yet another fantastic Maclaren detail that ensures maximum safely and comfort for your child.
  • Includes headhugger and shoulder pads: These ensure that when the Maclaren Techno XT is used from birth, your newborn baby is safe and comfortable.
  • Carry Handle: This is a very handy feature when carrying the pusher folded.
  • Rain cover (included): The rain cover is quick and easy to attach with built-in clips and provides great protection. It also comes with the pusher!
  • Footmuff (included): Particularly in cooler climates this is a great feature to keep baby snugly warm, enabling you to continue getting out and about as the cold sets in. It also has a large reflective stripe on the front, which is a great visual feature, but also acts as an important safety feature at times of low visibility.


The Maclaren Techno XT boasts all the usual Maclaren features:

  • 5-point harness system: This feature is well balanced and secure, with the clasp requiring quite some finger strength ensuring it to be child safe. Strap lengths at all points are easily adjustable.
  • Washable seat: This is a very practical feature for those dirty parts that are just a bit much for baby wipes to tackle.
  • Compact Umbrella Fold: This is a truly winning feature in my opinion. The pusher folds up very easily into a compact package, making it so easy to carry and stow.
  • Foot operated brakes: The red foot operated breaks are linked to park brakes, which can be activated with either foot with levers situated behind both back wheels.
  • Shopping basket: The Techno XT shopping basket has a 3kg weight capacity and reaches all the way under the seat.  It is large enough for storing all the things we need for a day’s outing or even an impromptu grocery shop!
  • High performance aluminium: It is Maclaren’s use of the strong aluminium frame, which enables the Techno XT pusher to be so lightweight.
  • Rain cover (included): The Techno XT’s rain cover works very well, is easy to use and folds into a tiny bundle to be carried in a pocket at the back of the seat.
  • Water resistant hood: The hood design of Techno XT is a real success. The neatly zipped section enables the hood to extend forward over baby for increased protection and also provides good coverage when baby is reclined or sleeping. Neatly folded under the hood, there is a clear waterproof visor that can flip out to provide extra protection when needed.


The Maclaren XT suggested accessories include:

  • Light Packaway Footmuff
  • Parasol
  • Carry Bag
  • Buggy Blankets
  • Liners
  • Universal Organiser
  • Field Bag
  • Park Bag
  • Mini utility tote

If you are after a safe, durable, high-tech and stylish all-in-one pusher, my husband and I (and baby I’m sure!) highly recommend the Maclaren Techno XT. We find it to be very well designed and thoroughly detailed, attractive and appropriate for varied use in urban and graded terrain conditions. Being lightweight and compact also means it is ideal for travel.

For further details on this product and the full Maclaren range please visit CNP Brands


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All Smocked Up

Posted by Diana on Friday May 20, 2011 Under Baby Activities, Baby Clothes, Feeding Baby

Baby has found her artistic side and is becoming quite the painter! Since Baby started painting at 10 months, she has honed her finger painting and hand printing skills to create contemporary masterpieces for her parents and grandparents.

To protect Baby’s clothes during her artistic experimentation, I have been using the BabyBjorn Eat & Play Smock. It is a central piece of equipment for her painting and she squeals with excitement when she sees me unfolding the smock ready for her to put on.

The BabyBjorn Eat & Play Smock is designed for children from 8 months to 3 years old. I simply slide her arms through the sleeves and the firm, soft elastic cuffs ensure the smock stays put. I secure the smock with two sets of fasteners at the back – one behind her neck and one lower down. The set of fasteners around the neck of the smock accommodates two sizes: babies with small necks and toddlers with large necks. The design of the Eat & Play Smock is simple and roomy – it splays outwards and allows freedom to move.

Baby is visibly excited once wearing her smock, as she is aware she is about to begin painting. So I sit her in her highchair, put a piece of paper and a palette of red, blue and yellow paint, on her highchair tray in front of her. I can’t resist putting a little hat on my punky baby to keep the hair off her face (and complete the artistic look)!

Baby looks at the palette with focussed concentration, dabs her finger in the blue paint and then smears her finger across the page. She then mixes the colours together and adds fingerprints all over the page in different colours. Finally, she presses her right hand in the mixed paint and puts a hand print in the bottom right hand corner of the page – as if to sign her artwork. Then with her painted right hand, Baby gestures to me that she is finished and I proceed to wipe her hands and smock.

The BabyBjorn Eat & Play Smock has faired well, showing durability during this road test and has succeeded in protecting Baby’s clothing too! The smock is easy to wipe clean and although it doesn’t need it this time, I’m pleased the smock is machine washable. The material of the smock is not only waterproof but lightweight and breathable.

While I mostly use the BabyBjorn Soft Bib for mealtimes, it’s great to know I have the BabyBjorn Eat & Play Smock for those messier meals. Since Baby has such a positive association playing in the smock she doesn’t hesitate to put it on for mealtimes too. I have the BabyBjorn Smock in Bright Red featuring the cute teddy bear motif which co-ordinates wonderfully with the BabyBjorn Cup and other items in the BabyBjorn Kitchen range. To find out more about the BabyBjorn Smock and the full BabyBjorn Kitchen range visit the BabyBjorn website.

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Swimming in Li’l daks

Posted by Diana on Saturday Mar 12, 2011 Under Baby Activities, Baby Clothes

Saturdays are always busy and today was no different. First stop – Mathildas Market held at the Brisbane Racing Club at Ascot. The markets are a hive of activity offering beautiful handmade baby wear, toys and nursery decor.

I bought Baby a Li’l daks cloth nappy for her swimming class. The first thing that strikes you about Li’l daks is the funky range of fabrics. The design I chose for Baby was quite retro, featuring red apples, green pears, blue chickens and yellow flowers against a white background. Under this outer layer is a hidden waterproof layer and under that is a water resistant fleece which is soft against baby’s skin. The nappy fastens with cute red plastic snaps.

So after a morning of perusing Mathildas Market, it was back home for a nap and then to swimming lessons to test li’l daks in the pool. Our new purchase caught the eye of our swimming instructor Julia who complimented Baby on her daks as we made our way into the pool. This was the first time I was taking Baby for her swimming lesson and as expected on a Saturday, there was one other Mum and six proud Dads in the pool with their babies.

I now understand why it is recommended for the parent to wear a t-shirt during baby swimming lessons. While Baby’s confidence is improving in the pool, she still did grab onto my t-shirt for extra security. The lesson started with a song introducing the babies to each other. We were then practising floating and submerging. My favourite part was testing her palmar reflex. I held my index fingers under her palms and she instinctively grasped on, then after felling weightless in the water she started treading water – amazing!

I thoroughly recommend swimming lessons for babies and I think there are so many benefits of starting early. Baby received her first swimming progress report card today and she’s doing an ‘awesome job’, making progress on many of the benchmarks of the Starfish program. I must say I am very proud of her.

What about the Li’l daks? How did they perform in the pool? Not only did baby look comfortable and stylish in her Li’l daks they kept everything contained (not that there was much to contain). So they did an awesome job too! Li’l daks can be purchased online or from Mathildas Market which are run in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide.

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Awaking Baby’s Senses

Posted by Diana on Tuesday Mar 8, 2011 Under Baby Activities

Baby and I arrived at our first Baby Sensory class a little unsure what to expect. I’d heard of Baby Sensory classes in the UK and was surprised to find classes in Australia too. We were greeted with a big warm smile by Jewels and joined the circle of other parents and babies.

Jewels explained that Baby Sensory classes are designed to support early development of babies from 0-13 months and to activate Baby’s senses of hearing, seeing, smelling and touching. Each class is 1 hour long and consists of 3 phases. The first phase includes all sorts of sensory activities starting with a “Say Hello to the Sun” song – complete with actions.

As the class progressed there were more songs and I learnt that many of the actions to the songs were based on Baby Sign Language. This was the first time I had seen Baby Sign Language in action (and not just on Meet the Fockers). Singing “Old MacDonald had a farm” complete with signs for the various animals and the chorus “E-I-E-I-O” not only taught us the baby sign language for animals but baby sign language for vowels!

It wasn’t too long before we were in the second phase of the class which is all about Discovery. In this phase parents are encouraged to take their baby to the large play area and discover the activities in this space. Baby discovered two teddy bears named “Nutmeg” and “Cinnamon” (each teddy bear smelt like their respective name). Baby ended up submerging in a pool of plastic balls which resulted in squeals of excitement as she was trying to crawl her way out and find her balance at the same time. It wasn’t too long before she found a baby around the same age and they began playing a baby xylophone together. While the babies were playing together it was lovely for me to meet some of the other parents in the class.

It was then back to the sensory area for more sensory, visual and therapeutic experiences in the third phase of the class. Jewels sung “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?” while performing a puppet show with little pigs and a wolf. We mesmerised the babies with tinsel pom-poms, bubbles and a parachute. Throughout the session Jewels explained the benefits of each activity and suggested good ideas to take home. Finally, we gave the babies a therapeutic baby massage before singing the “Good bye song”. We all had such an enjoyable time that we organised to go to a nearby cafe after class.

Baby Sensory is not a course and you can join at any time. We went to our Baby Sensory class in the Brisbane suburb of Hawthorne. To find out more contact the Baby Sensory team in Morningside on (07) 33992004 and mention to receive your “First 2 lessons FREE”. To find out more visit the Baby Sensory website.



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Baby Swimming Lessons

Posted by Diana on Wednesday Feb 23, 2011 Under Baby Activities

In the haze of the early days at home with our newborn baby, I remember watching a Water Safety DVD. It showed a swim instructor with babies of various ages, chanting “Baby’s name, Ready, Go” before the instructor released a cup of water onto the respective baby’s head. The DVD encouraged us – as parents – to do the same chant during bath time to teach our baby about water awareness. The chant became part of the bathtime ritual with our baby.

Fast forward 8 months to Baby’s first swimming lesson with Hampton Swim School. It’s Saturday morning and we’re at the pool at Morningside State School in Brisbane. Hampton Swim School runs classes at pools in the Brisbane suburbs of Bulimba and Norman Park too. Dad is doing his best to look confident in the pool with baby as the class is about to commence. Since it’s a Saturday, he find himself in the company of many other Dad’s (and one Mum) sharing the experience of swimming lessons with their babies for the first time.

They are all in good hands, the class is being instructed by the Hampton Swim School Director, Julia Ham. She is a former Australian swimmer competing in the 1997 Pan Pacs, 1999 World University Games and 2001 World Championships and Goodwill Games.

It is clearly evident that Julia is passionate about introducing babies to swimming. She has developed the Baby Steps Program for Hampton Swim School  which is made up of 4 creatively named levels – 3 to 9 months (Starfish), 10 to 14 months (Jellyfish), 15 to 24 months (Turtles) and the transition toddler level (Penguins). Each level is made up of 20 progressive lessons, so in total there are 80 lesson plans.

Baby is attending the ‘Starfish’ class which has a variety of songs and activities, to teach Baby about water safety, floating, paddling and submersion. I’m pleased to say the chant I’ve been practising in the tub with Baby since she was a newborn features just before Baby’s first “submersion”. I think I held my breath at the same time as Baby went under. She emerged with a smile and giggle for Dad. She thoroughly enjoyed her swimming lesson with Hampton Swim School.

If you’d like your baby to learn to swim at Hampton Swim School, contact Julia and the team on (07) 33992004. When enrolling in the Baby Steps Swim Program – mention to receive your “First 2 lessons FREE”. To find out more visit the Hampton Swim School website

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Yoga Baby

Posted by Diana on Saturday Feb 19, 2011 Under Baby Activities

I was 39 weeks pregnant when I first contacted yogababy to attend an Active Birth Practical Session. My email read as follows…”Hello there, I am interested in attending your Active Birth Practical Session with my husband this Saturday. I have read Janet Blaskas book and I am hoping to use Active Birthing Techniques in the Birth of our child. This Saturday I will be 39 weeks. Is this too late to attend the class? Bye Diana”.

The response was a very relaxed, “It will be fine for you to attend the class this Saturday” with the details of the when and where the class will be held. I imagined a well grounded and calm sender typing the response on her keyboard.

It was evident that I was the student “most advanced” in her pregnancy, when my husband and I arrived at the class. We were greeted with a warm welcome and started the class. The class was a balanced mixture of information and practical active birthing postures – my attempts at some of the postures must have looked humorous!

Our instructor and director of yogababy, Suzanne Swan, was just as I had imagined, understanding and calm while providing clear guidance on the best postures to remain active during labour. The workshop was beneficial for both of (or should I say all three of us). We had a very positive birth experience and drew upon the helpful advice and information given during the workshop.

It seemed only fitting that when Baby was old enough at 12 weeks that we should enrol in the “Mummy and Me” yoga classes together. As the name suggests, the class includes some yoga practice for Baby and some for Mummy. The first half of the class involves sequences of movements for Baby. I’ve found Baby is usually very tired afterwards and usually has a rest in one of the many hummocks hanging up in the room, which leaves me to concentrate on my yoga practice for the second half of the class. The yoga for Mummy is designed to regain strength and tone in those postnatal months. I find it a great way to unwind, stretch the body and focus the mind. I love that it is an activity I share with my baby and a connection we have together.

I think it is no coincidence that my baby is very active, already crawling and attempting to stand very early on. Upon observing my baby’s physical prowess and flexibility at a Mothers Group, one mother remarked to me, “It’s like your baby does yoga”. I had to admit that in fact she does – Yoga Baby!

Yoga Baby is directed by Suzanne Swan, certified Active Birth Yoga teacher, experienced childbirth educator, mother of two and birth attendant. Courses offered include: fertility yoga, yoga for pregnancy, active birth yoga, couples birth education as well as Mummy and Me yoga.

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Baby is a crawler

Posted by Diana on Wednesday Jan 12, 2011 Under Baby Activities, Babyproofing

Baby’s movement has progressed from rocking side to side, to her first roll, to lying on her tummy resting on her forearms, to finally placing a hand in front of each knee and successfully crawling. Yes, we have a crawler in the house!

To encourage this new skill, I am placing a toy in front of baby and watching her try to reach the toys with whatever movement she can muster. At first there was a combination of commando rolls and awkward crawls to reach the toy. Now, she has figured out that crawling is by far the most efficient method of travel and her speed is increasing by the day.

With this new found skill, comes the responsibility of parents to ensure a thorough ‘baby proofing’ of the house has been completed. I’ve found Kidsafe Australia to be an organisation that provides a great deal of quality information. You can visit a Kidsafe House to see everything you need to babyproof your house.

Talking of health and safety, we hope all those in Queensland and Northern NSW, who have been evacuated from flooded houses or who are currently in their houses but without electricity, stay safe over the coming weeks.

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Talkative Baby

Posted by Diana on Thursday Jan 6, 2011 Under Baby Activities

I’m proud to announce that my baby’s first word was Mum at five and a half months old.

I was preoccupied organising baby’s clothes when she loudly, clearly and intentionally said “Mum”. I ran to her cot, picked her up and asked her to say it again. She gave me a broad smile, as if to say, I’ll be using that word when I need to get your attention and continued playing with her toys.

The next word proclamation was Dad at 6 months old. This time it was 3am and again we were preoccupied, this time trying to sleep (funny that). Of course this word was met with big cuddles and encouragement from Dad.

Yesterday, while staying at Grandma’s house, baby decided it was time to impress Grandma. While baby was getting ready for her bath, she said the word “clap” and began clapping her hands! Well of course that received a standing ovation from myself and Grandma. I think baby is starting to understand the power of her speech and the positive reinforcement it receives.

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Santa Photos

Posted by Diana on Monday Dec 20, 2010 Under Baby Activities

Even though it is very kitsch, a photo of baby with Santa, is a cute memento of baby’s first Christmas.

The ritual of lining up behind other smartly dressed children, Santa’s little helpers trying to upsell you to another photo package and then crossing your fingers that baby will smile, is all part of the experience. If the stars do align and your baby does smile, you may well end up with a photo you like!

My baby was quite good on Santa’s knee, apart from a quick tug on his snowy white beard at the end to check his authenticity. He did say ‘ouch’ in response, so I think the ‘real’ Santa will be visiting our place on Christmas Day.

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