Currently loving: Birkenstocks

 

 

I probably own less pairs of shoes now than I ever have in my adult life, and even then I have around 20 pairs of shoes and sandals! I decided a couple of years ago that I should stop wearing cheap shoes with no support from Primark etc, but I admit I still pop in for a look every so often! My feet used to ache after just a couple of hours wearing naff flat ballet bumps or cheapy flip flops, which isn’t ideal really! When I was pregnant they were carrying  around more weight than ever, and seeing as they have to keep carrying me for a good many years yet I’ve decided to take more care of them!

I finally got hold of a pair of amazingly comfortable birkenstocks a few weeks ago and they have been an almost permanent fixture since then! I have some white leather Gizehs, and the moulded sole is amazing! The solid toe post hasn’t even rubbed, let alone given me a blister! This is honestly the first pair of flip flops that I’ve been able to wear continuously since I got them without a break for my feet to recover! I wish I succumbed to the comfort much earlier in life! I just wish I could wear them to work… my feet have spent over a year avoiding heels and have now been unceremoniously shoved back into my Dune work heels!

I am trying to reason with the rational side of my brain and persuade it to let me get a couple more pairs of Birkenstocks now, my reason being that they will last for years as they’re leather and have hard wearing soles! I really am showing my age hey? There are lots of different styles to choose from here on Spartoo, and there are a couple of really nice liberty fabrics available on some styles as well as glittery ones,  perfection!

So tell me, have I become a crumby-mummy now I prefer Birkenstocks to spangly sandals?

Book review & giveaway: Vanilla Salt

Vanilla Salt is the debut novel from Ada Parellada, a respected chef. It follows the story of Annette and Alex, their past and their present, and their struggles to keep their restaurant afloat (but for different reasons!) The character of Alex is a typical chef (I should know, I’ve worked with lots as a hotel manager!) he is fiery, rude and arrogant. In stark contrast Annette is a shy Canadian who has decided to relocate to the Catalan region to start afresh.

Packed full of mouth-watering descriptions of recipes and methods, you can tell that Parellada knows her way around a kitchen and she too has clearly met her fair share of arrogant chefs! Alex refuses to have potatoes, tomatoes or anything remotely American in his kitchen, but throughout the book we are given little snippets of foodie history and origins from Annette.

Without giving too much away, Annette and Alex need to learn to overcome their differences if there is to be any hope of their restaurant being a success, and they battle temper tantrums, debt and an interfering journalist along the way. More than a few surprising relationships spring up throughout the book, some slightly less believable than others!  Originally written in the author’s mother tongue this seems to be a pretty good interpretation as far as I can tell, even with the Canadian Annette’s odd grasp of Catalan!

I zipped through this in a few days, my train journey to work is really giving me a helping hand with extra book reading time!

Just launched in English on 17th July, I have two copies of Vanilla Salt to giveaway! UK addresses only, ending on 5/8/14.

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Cosatto Giggle travel system review

 

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On Easter Monday after suffering from three days of excruciating tooth ache I was gobsmacked for another reason, I found out I had won a Cosatto Giggle on Frithas blog Tigerlily Quinn ! I was over the moon, as you can imagine!

We’ve now been using our Giggle for three months so I thought I’d write a review in case anyone is thinking of buying one, and in fact my friend Laura has just bought one in Treet for her new addition arriving in September after seeing mine!

Okay, so the Giggle comes with a seat unit and a carry-cot, and is compatible with the hold car seat, which comes in a matching print! Obviously Athena is a little too big to be squished into the cot and car seat but we’ve kept them safely for when baby #2 arrives at some point in the future! We have however put the Giggle in pushchair mode through its paces! I won the Giggle in Oaker, which is a bright yellow pattern with grey and silvery leaf outline. I’ll admit it wouldn’t have been the pattern I was first drawn to, but I love it now we’ve got it! We’ve had lots of people say how lovely and bright it is, and would suit a boy too, in the future!

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seat positions in parent-facing

I prefer to have Athena facing me, and in this mode you can have the seat unit bolt upright, if it is facing outwards it is slightly reclined in its most upright position, and in both directions it has several more reclines including lay-flat. You change the angle by simply pushing the yellow buttons on either side in at the same time and pushing the seat forwards or backwards. This was a bit stiff at first but has loosened up since we’ve started using it more.

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seat positions in world-facing

The handlebar doesn’t extend but can be used at several angles, I use it in line with the chassis but Sam has it in the highest position which is perfect for him at 6’6”. Being a man with gigantic size 15 feet he does sometimes hit the brake with his feet when he’s pushing, but I never have done so it’s not really a huge issue. The brake is an easy on/off pedal in the centre of the lower bar, and you don’t need to flip it up with the top of your foot, you push down on it so can do it in flip flops, hurrah! It has never once not locked either, so no fear of a run away.

The seat unit comes with a cosy toes which attaches at the top with velcro loops and fits over the bumper-bar so no slippage (an annoying problem with my previous O’baby pram) plus it is reversible so you can have a choice of patterns, and the top part zips off fully. Now it’s warmer we’ve taken the top off but use the bottom as a liner for extra comfort. Also included are chest pads for the safety harness and a changing bag (complete with changing mat and key ring tag) in the same design, perfect! The hood has an SPF of 50 to protect little snoozers and has the coordinating pattern inside, along with two loops on the edge of the hood to attach toys to.

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This is the first three-wheeler we’ve had, and along with a tiddly turning circle it is easy to push and steer, I’ve just found that I have to go up kerbs straight on and not at an angle like I could with a 4 wheel buggy. You can lock the front wheels for bumpier terrains, but I never actually have needed to yet, grass and gravel are fine to push on with them unlocked!

Folding is literally a piece of cake, and the folded size is SO much more compact than our previous travel system. It’s so easy to do, with the seat unit facing outwards you don’t need to remove it either. Unfolding is just as simple, pull the safety lock out and it springs to life. The major bonus us that it is SO lightweight that I can pop it in and out of the boot of the car with ease, even if I am holding Athena with one arm!

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The basket is deeper than it is long, but I can fit the changing bag in it easily plus normally a lunch box and a bottle of water. It can unclip at the front for ease of access too. If you have your baby forward facing when it can be a bit tricky to get things in and out, so this feature really helps. If you’ve got your baby facing you then you have easy access to the basket and can stack things up in it with ease.

I was going to say that I think the bumper bar needs improving as it’s foam covered and gets sticky quickly but I have since been told (thanks Chelle!) that there are two bars in the travel system, one of which has a zip off cover which I have obviously overlooked and is now in storage in my mums garage with the carry cot, whoops! So now I know that exists, no issues with the bumper bar, it hinges open on either side so you can take it off easily or just open it whichever side your little sprog wants to climb out!

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The one thing that bugs me is that the shoulder pads can slip off easily when you undo the harness (as the shoulder strap and waist strap clip together to go into the buckle) and when my mum had Athena for the day on Wednesday she’s managed to lose one as it must’ve slipped off and she didn’t notice! I think they could be improved by being wrap around and attached by velcro for a closer fit.

The only other improvement I can think of is that I am not sure if Athena will last in this till she no longer needs a pushchair (another 2 years potentially) height wise, as her head is fairly near the top of the seat, however I’ve looked up a few other reviews and seen children of 2+ using it. Yes their head is higher than the top of the seat but still not touching the hood. I’d just worry about how comfortable napping would be. I do need to bear in mind that’s a long way off and that I have a very tall baby though!

As with all Cosatto products you get a 4 year (FOUR YEARS!) warranty as long as you register the product within 28 days of purchase. There is a label on the pushchair with the contact details for repairs/spares etc too. Cosatto sell several different styles of pushchairs, high chairs and car seats too…I’ve now got my sights set on the Zowee car seat, but Sam saw what I was looking at said he preferred the Scootle style! There are just too many choices!

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You can view the full range of Cosatto pushchairs here, complete with brand new designs that have just launched! If you follow them on facebook you can keep up to date with all their news and fancy new designs!

Disclaimer: I won my Giggle, and obviously am under no obligation to write about it, but I wanted to so I did!