Summer with the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light

Posted by Peter on Thursday Nov 7, 2013 Under Baby Travel, Uncategorized

Babies tend to be fussy creatures, especially when it comes to sleep. So when you’re travelling away from home it’s vital your child has somewhere secure to rest.

But with all the gear new parents have to carry, you can’t very well pack a full-sized cot into your luggage. Instead, you’ll need a crib that’s as compact as it is cosy.

The BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light is our top pick in travel cots. At an ultra-lightweight 6 kilograms, it doesn’t sacrifice portability for comfort.

Baby_Bjorn_CotOur family had no trouble setting up the cot in seconds. In one movement, we unfolded it from the smart carry bag and lay it on the floor. Such ease of use makes it perfect for frequent short trips away or even afternoon naps at grandma’s.

The sturdy foam mattress don’t sag in the middle and has none of the hassles of inflating mattresses. It lies virtually flat on the ground, providing great support for our little girl’s back and head. And unlike some other brands, you can even tuck sheets and blankets underneath the mattress so your child feels safe and secure. The mesh is now to the floor – an improvement on the original BabyBjorn travel cot.

Baby fell asleep first go in the cot at home, which means we can plan our summer holidays safe in the knowledge our night-timeswill be restful and relaxing.

The updated black mesh walls will be especially useful in our Australian summer, allowing ample air-flow on hot days near the beach. And because the minimalist design looks so stylish and the footprint is compact, we don’t even bother packing the cot away at home. Instead, we find it makes a handy and discreet day bed in the lounge room or bedroom – wherever we like, actually, as it’s so easy to move!

When the time comes to clean the cot, we can easily remove and machine wash the fabric. To find out more about the BabyBjorn Travel Cot Light and other gorgeous products visit the BabyBjorn website.

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Baby’s first foods

Posted by Diana on Thursday Mar 28, 2013 Under Feeding Baby

BellamysBaby has just started eating her first solid foods. After observing us eating from the comfort of her bouncer, she now has her own seat at the table. Her first food is Bellamy’s Organic Baby Rice Cereal.

She sits proudly upright at the breakfast table and even taps the table in excitement as I approach her with a bowl of Bellamy’s Organic Baby Rice cereal. It’s simple to prepare, I just add 1-2 teaspoons of the rice cereal with baby’s usual milk or cooled boiled water. I then mix it to a smooth consistency for Baby. As Baby has developed her ability to eat solids, the consistency has become less runny and I am now adding homemade stewed apple and pears to the mix.

Other foods which I have introduced, include mashed banana and pumpkin. Baby enjoyed the banana but wasn’t such a fan of the pumpkin.

I think it’s important to introduce Baby to healthy foods and I am satisfied that only certified organic ingredients are used in Bellamy’s products. Bellamy’s babyfoods are made in Australia and are free of synthetic additives and preservatives.

As Baby’s palate develops, I am quite keen to introduce Bellamy’s Organic Baby Porridge, Apple & Cinnamon Breakfast and Banana & Vanilla Rice Cereal. To find out more about the full range of Bellamy’s products visit the Bellamy’s website.

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‘Injeanius’ Maclaren Quest Special

Posted by Diana on Friday Nov 11, 2011 Under Baby Travel

What better place to road test the Maclaren Quest buggy than on holiday at Bondi Beach. With it’s light weight sporty aluminium frame and fashionable dark denim seat with reflective accents, this British superstar, looked right at home amongst the tanned trim terrific Australians and British Jet Set strolling along the promenade at Bondi Beach.

At only 5.5kg with a compact umbrella fold, the Maclaren Quest is a dream to travel with. To fold out, simply release the storage clip and open out. Using your foot, push the footplate down to fully engage the primary locks. The large water resistant hood protects Baby from wind, rain and in our case – sun.

The Maclaren Quest is appropriate for young babies to older toddlers. Designed by aircraft engineers to be the safest, most stylish and durable in it’s class, this stroller is designed to carry up to 20kg in weight.

I place Baby in her swish new buggy and she looks suitably impressed. I secure her in the five point harness, from which my baby houdini can not even escape. To undo the harness you need to press the front and back button at the same time. While it’s easy for an adult, it’s too tricky for Baby to undo herself. I adjust the leg rest for Baby and let Baby choose from one of the four reclinable positions available in the stroller. For strolling on the promenade and “people watching” – a more upright position is in order. It’s great to know that if she dozes off into slumber, I can recline the seat back for a longer sleep. The easy operation of the recliner is one of my favourite features of this stroller. To recline you simply lift both hand grips at the rear of the pram to release the seat locks and slide the seat back. To raise the seat, you only need to push the back of the seat to an upright position.

My other favourite feature is the large shopping basket at the bottom of the pram which is easily accessible. The basket easily fits the Maclaren Raincover and is conveniently sized to fit other shopping. The raincover is complimentary with Maclaren Quest Special. It did rain suddenly while we were out and the raincover came in handy. It was quick to put on and the transparent material allowed Baby to feel like she was still part of the action while protected from the elements.

To escape the rain we decided to indulge in some retail therapy in the afternoon. The buggy performed as well in boutiques as it had on the beach. The slim line and front swivel rear fixed wheels, made the buggy easy to manoeuvre and dart about. We were given numerous compliments, while out shopping, on the trendy dark denim seat, which I might add is removable and washable. I must say the stroller was ideal for holding the light weight carriers filled with our new purchases too!

When it was time to leave the shops, I folded the buggy one handed to a compact umbrella fold and there was enough room for the stroller and our new purchases in our rental car boot. The luggage tag on the Maclaren Quest Special says “Happy Travels” and this really summed up our trip!

To find out more on the Maclaren Quest Special and other strollers in the Maclaren range, visit the CNP website.

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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!


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Good advice for the early days haze

Posted by Daisy on Thursday Apr 7, 2011 Under Baby Books

What to Expect The First Year, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

I must admit that as I am writing this I have a soundly sleeping baby and have a hot cup of tea next to me! But not so long ago this seemed like a far off dream, as I lived to baby’s beck and call. I was constantly in a daze and needless to say, constantly drinking cold tea. It was in these first months, in particular, that I referred to What to Expect, The First Year on a daily if not hourly basis, and I felt reassured to know that it was always at close hand with sound advice and reassurance!

I found What to Expect, The First Year to be a comprehensive all in one parenting book (has the size and weight to match) with practical and realistic information, helpful references and in general was presented in a clear and easily digestible manner. It also has a thorough Contents and Index which made it very user friendly, which I found to be an important factor in those first months of being an anxious new mother and the fatigue that comes with the territory. Furthermore, I thought it was good that sometimes topical issues such as breastfeeding or bottle, getting baby to sleep through the night and going back to work etc. were discussed neutrally, presenting all sides of the topic.

What to Expect, The First Year has a comprehensive month by month guide and also has special sections on topics such as making the transition to parenthood and changing lifestyles, breastfeeding, becoming a father, from only child to older child, starting solids, stimulating baby, first aid, recipes and much more. It also has a section in each chapter of questions and answers which are wide ranging, sometimes being just the thing you need to know and other times great for some interesting/tasty reading.

It is now up to it’s 4th Edition and is one in a series of What to Expect books, covering preconception to the toddler years. There is also a What to Expect, Kids range all of which can be found at which also has lots of other good information and fun things to peruse.

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Newborn Mum: the big buggy dilemma

Posted by Lyndal on Friday Apr 1, 2011 Under Baby Travel, Newborn
The big buggy shopping spree.

NewbornMum looking to solve the 'big buggy dilemma' at Baby Kingdom

Now here’s a topic that people have evangelical opinions on: the big buggy purchase.

For the record, feel free to interchange ‘buggy’ with: pram, stroller, travel system, babymobile…and the list goes on. In general, I’m referring to something with wheels and a small body-containing compartment that people push their very young children around in.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not scorning the close-to-religious attachment parents have to their buggy of choice: particularly if it’s a good choice. These contraptions can be the deciding factor that will have you rating your experience of stepping out with Baby along a spectrum of ‘blood curdling nightmare’ through to ‘piece of cake’.

I found shopping for one to be one of the most difficult purchasing decisions I have ever made in my life. I’m not kidding. It outstretched my wedding gown, car and various rental property choices for pure stress value. Sounds insane, I know, but I’m not alone.

Firstly, everyone has an opinion – and they’re all valid because they come from experience. Secondly, there’s just so much choice and so many variables involved.


Buggy considerations

There is a lovely lady at Baby Kingdom in Castle Hill, Sydney, who put it to Hubby and me like this:

  • What’s your budget?
  • What’s your lifestyle? Indoorsy, outdoorsy, jogging, shopping, urban, rural, car drivers or using public transport?
  • How much can you handle lifting? Including if you fall pregnant while you’re still in ‘pram mode’ with your first (or second, or third)?
  • What car do you drive and how big is the boot?
  • What sort of space do you have for storing it at home?
  • How many kids do you plan on having?

Then she got to work with us. And she was terrific.


Buggy rationale

We like to go for walks, sometimes in parks and certainly along the beach or at least along roads that run alongside the ocean. So we need weather protection for Baby – in the cold and in the heat, as well as good suspension on the wheels and tyres for various terrain. We also need storage compartments to carry around the 8,000 varieties of paraphernalia you need to get you from A to B.

Three-wheeler options also seemed to be easier to maneuver, so we decided on that configuration.

We’re not millionaires, so something middle-of-the-range, and a really good deal at that, was really what we were looking for. We don’t drive a massive car. We got ourselves a Subaru Forester, which is pretty generous on size, but then, we also don’t have much space at home for storage when the buggy isn’t in active service.

We also would use this contraption for shopping, and ideally (in my dreamland utopia of parenthood) provide our darling little bundle with the comfort of somewhere to sleep. They do sleep occasionally, right?

I’m not the strongest woman in the world. In fact I have no upper body strength to speak of. Now, I’m told that will change, but in the immediate future my wimpy self needs a pram she can actually haul into the car.

We are planning on possibly having more than one little bundle of joy, but rather than get ahead of ourselves, a dear friend advised me that she often pops the newer of her children in a sling whilst older sibling either sits in the pram or, more recently, walks alongside. Sounded reasonable to me. So I stopped looking at tandem arrangements – not that I don’t think they’re quite a nifty solution.


Buggy of choice

I don’t know why, but there was just something about the Valco Matrix Dart style that appealed on sight. But I also had very reliable and sensible friends chanting the mantra of Mountain Buggy, Quinny and Bugaboo. So investigation was required.

Phil & Ted’s Explorer seemed like quite a good option. Neat little bassinet attachment and, of course, it has the adaptability of a toddler seat or inline options made this a good choice to accommodate the as yet unmade Baby Number 2. I loved the easy access shopping cart and that it folded down so magically. I just wanted a bit more in the way of canopy cover and an easier mechanism on the brakes.

We wandered over to Mothercare at Castle Hill, where they had a great package on their My Choice three-wheeler. The package pretty much gave you everything – rain cover, bassinet: the whole deal. It was very modular, so you just removed or replaced the components as you needed them and it has to be said, the design is lovely. Again, I’d like a little more in the way of a canopy (personal preference). But this was definitely a contender.

Big in the way of a canopy is the Baby Jogger City Elite. Their three-wheeler was terrific. Good storage space for shopping. Oh – and the one click fold is a dream. Really. Not to mention that the brake is on the handle and out of reach of little fingers – so easy for you, and safe for Baby. Just fab. The seat folded down for a newborn, which is great, but I wanted a bassinet (again, just a personal preference from a novice – scoff if you will), and that was in addition to the package at the time. I would recommend this stroller if you’re not married to the idea of a bassinet. Really good buy.

Back to Baby Kingdom, where I ogled the Quinny, Bugaboo, Emmaljunga and Stokke ranges. They are all utterly gorgeous, but I have to confess I didn’t really try them out to their full potential because they were out of our price range. What did occur to me – particularly with the Emmaljunga range – is that if I lived somewhere with a really cold climate they would definitely be the buggy of choice. They all just had beautiful design features, high-quality fabric, and I loved that the Quinny handle allowed you to have the baby facing you or looking outwards.

Baby Kingdom also had a great deal on the Mountain Buggy Swift at the time, which was going for $AUD599 with the bassinet thrown in. The Mountain Buggies look great and their colour spectrum is really funky and vibrant. I loved the fact that it weighed 9.5kg and can take up to 35kg in weight, and the fold-down procedure was really easy. Great brakes too. Our only hesitation here was that it folds down flat and compact – which is terrific – but the length took up the entire boot floor of our car. I loved it though, and we really very nearly bought this. It was our number 2 choice.

The Valco range includes the very neat and compact Ion and Ion Plus. The Ion Plus would have been our choice as it includes the bassinet. If we were only looking to be just indoors or sticking to paved surfaces, this was just the ticket. So incredibly lightweight (8.6kg) and folded down to next to nothing: great for those of us who are sans muscles. Hubby just wanted a bigger handle, and the wheels may not have coped with our walks. So went a bit bigger… and encountered the Valco Matrix Dart Plus.

Loved it. The hood expands, pretty much entirely sheltering your little one in a safe little cocoon and it can take up to 22kg in weight. The brake is really easy to use. Great storage pocket at parent height, and a generously sized shopping compartment underneath baby. It does weigh 11.5kg, but I guess I’m just going to have to harden up. It folds down in two steps so that it’s sort of compact in a boxy way, which suited our car boot as it left room for shopping and other bags alongside it. The bassinet is currently included in a deal at Baby Kingdom – a nice price at $AUD499.

I allowed Hubby to select the colour choice, given I’ve chosen everything else. He went with taupe. See, I would have gone with the grey…but you’ve got to let the boy have some say. Or do you?

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