Shopping for a car seat can be a totally mind-boggling experience. With so many car seats available it all seems so complicated doesn’t it? Group 0, Group 0+, Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, combinations of different groups, ISOFIX, rearward-facing, forward-facing… the list is endless.
Thankfully Joie have developed the i-AnchorSafe System that will cast all your confusion aside. Designed for the first ride home and usable up to the first day of school (up to 18kg and approximately 4 years old), the i-AnchorSafe system is the only seat you’ll need from newborn to toddlerhood and beyond. It’s also i-Size compliant for more peace of mind. Brilliant!
So what does i-Size mean and what makes i-Size car seats the ‘bees knees’?
‘i-Size’ is the name of a new EU safety regulation for child car seats. It was introduced in July 2013 in order to make child car seats easier to fit, provide better protection from side impacts and keep children rearward-facing for longer. I-Size compliant car seats provide better head and neck protection thanks to the longer rearward facing period of 15 months and they also provide better side-impact protection because, for the first time ever in a child car seat regulation, it includes a set of minimum performance criteria for this type of collision.
i-Size compliant seats are also more likely to be installed correctly, because they have a simple ‘place-and-click’ fitting procedure (ISOFIX) that doesn’t involve the car’s seat belt. Additionally, the i-Size regulation will help prevent ‘up-sizing’ your car seat, from a rearward-facing seat to a larger forward-facing one, too soon as it has the clearly specified requirement of 15 months old and/or 75/80 cm in length, instead of 9 to 12 months.
I could waffle on and on about how brilliant I think the i-Anchor is, but to keep it more concise I have highlighted the main advantages below:
- The seat is i-Size compliant and is the only i-Size suitable from birth.
- It’s a Group 0+/1 (0-18kg) car seat, making it usable from birth to approx 4 years old. This is a huge selling point and saves you the hassle and cost of splashing out on a new seat every time your child has a growth spurt!
- The seat can be used both forward-facing (from 15 months) and rearward-facing. Rearward-facing car seats are up to five times safer than forward-facing car seats in a head-on collision, so being able to keep your child rearward-facing until four-years-old makes the Joie i-AnchorSafe System car seat hard to beat. The seat also includes a rebound bar for additional rearward-facing security and reassurance.
- The Joie i-AnchorSafe System car seat and base are really easy to install and even if you don’t have ISOFIX in your car, you can attach the base using your seat belts. You can even use both methods simultaneously for extra peace of mind.
- The seat has been designed with deep padded sides in both the seat and head area to offer the ultimate in protection and comfort. It also has a 5-point harness with soft, padded covers to keep your little one cosy and secure.
- The seat comes with 3 inserts, including a newborn support, that you can remove as and when your child outgrows them. The removable layers are easily taken out and enable you to customise the seat to the shape and size of your little one.
- The multi-height headrest and harness system adjust simultaneously and require no re-threading of the harness. Hallelujah!
- The seat has 7 on-the-go recline positions, which can easily be found using the orange lever.
- The seat covers are easy to remove and most importantly are machine washable.
- Ventilation on the back of the seat increases your little one’s comfort.
- Colour indicators confirm that you have correctly installed the base, support leg and child seat to the base which is really helpful and gives you total peace of mind.
The following video shows you how to install the base/seat and how to utilise the 7 recline positions. As you can see it’s super easy to do and the aforementioned colour indicators ensure that everything is secure.
The seat comes in four colours (l to r): Caribbean, Liquorice, Salsa and Walnut (coming soon).
For what you get, I think the retail price is really competitive. Don’t get me wrong it’s pricey (The i-AnchorFIX base is £100 and the i-Anchor car seat is £160), but car seats are pretty costly and if it’s the only seat you’ll need for four years, it is brilliant value.
I’ve been really impressed with the i-Anchor. It feels and looks high quality with nice thick padded seats and Jack assures me that it’s very comfortable! But most importantly, it’s the conformity to the new i-Size standard that is the i-Anchor’s biggest draw.
Although I know I shouldn’t from a safety point of view, I currently use the seat forward-facing for Jack as has travelled facing forward from 9 months old (before we had the i-Anchor) and I know that he would hate to suddenly have that reversed. But as soon as Jack outgrows the seat, Phoebe will inherit it and I will definitely be keeping her rearward facing for as long as possible.
It’s also worth pointing out that the i-Anchor is meant to stay in the car and can’t be used as an infant carrier. However this is easily remedied, if budget allows, by purchasing the ‘Joie Gemm Infant Seat’ which is also compatible with the i-AnchorFIX base and will fit on some buggies too.
I’m a huge fan of the i-Anchor and have really struggled to find any negatives in it to make this review a balanced one. It’s high quality, comfortable, versatile, super safe, easy to install and Jack sleeps really well in the seat when we are on long journeys, but if i’m being super critical I’d love Joie to put in one more reclining option on the base to make it recline even further into a sleeping position.
You can find all the latest news from Joie on their Facebook and Twitter pages and to see the full range of their brilliant products, check out their website.
Disclosure: I was very kindly sent the i-AnchorSafe System free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own and I’d still rave about it even if i’d paid for it!
Following on from my Six of the best // Teethers post, when your little one is teething, another essential item is a dribble bib (or three). I’m a big fan of the ‘bandana’ style of dribble bibs, so here are my favourite 6 brands for you look at:
1 // Funky Giraffe, Bandana Bibs, from £2 - Funky Giraffe bandana bibs are perfect for the fashion-savvy baby and toddler. Made from 100% cotton with a fleece backing and double poppers allowing you to choose the best fit for your little one, these bandana bibs fit perfectly around your little dribbler’s neck, leaving them fresh and dry. Funky Giraffe have a vast array of designs to choose from making them the ideal accessory for every outfit.
2 // Cheeky Chompers, Neckerchew, from £9.99 - As seen on Dragon’s Den, the ingenious Neckerchew combines a dribble bib with an attached chewy teether to soothe painful gums.
3 // Faye and Lou, Four Way Dribble Bib, £9.95 - We all know how wet dribble bibs can become but Faye and Lou have solved the need to use multiple bibs with their Four Way Dribble Bib. Made from soft muslin with an inner waterproof layer, each bib can be worn in four different ways. When one side gets damp, you just need to flip over the top for a new dry layer and then you can do this on the reverse side. Brilliant!
4 // Skibz, from £8 - I really like the look of the Skibz bibs. They have a lovely range of designs to choose from and the adjustable press stud fastening ensures a snug fit around your child’s neck The unique, double-layer backing is also highly absorbent, so moisture is drawn away from your baby’s delicate skin, hopefully preventing the dreaded dribble rash.
5 // Zippy, Fun bandana bibs, from £2.50 - These stylish bandana bibs are brilliant at keeping your baby’s chest and outfit dry. They are made from super soft cotton with an absorbent fleece back for extra comfort and they fasten using 2 different snap fastenings (which are nickle free) ensuring it is adjustable for your baby’s early years.
6 // Bolly Babies, £7.50 – These gorgeous absorbant, reversible, handmade bibs are made from 100% cotton and have the softest ivory minky backing for extra comfort. Two poppers are attached allowing you to choose the perfect fit as your little one grows and there are lots of lovely designs to choose from.
Most parents dread teething. They anticipate sleepless nights and inconsolable crying, and lets be honest they’d be spot on the majority of the time! Some little ones handle teething like champs but unfortunately others aren’t so lucky and suffer terribly.
Teething can last anywhere from a few days to several months, so finding a teether that your little one enjoys is paramount and mutually beneficial for both the baby and you! Ensure that you teething toy is made from materials that are safe and non-toxic, is soft to the touch and it will engage your baby with bright colours, textures or with faces; babies love faces! Here are my favourite teethers to soothe those sore gums and can be used for all stages of teething:
1 // Nuby Bug a Loop Teether, £4.09 The ‘Bug a loop’ has been a big hit with Phoebs. I keep it in the car to ‘entertain’ her on our little journeys and she loves gnawing away at it! The bright coloured ring is really easy for her to hold and has multiple teething surfaces (smooth beads, knobbly beads etc.) that are meant to aid in the eruption of new teeth.
2 // Sophie The Giraffe Original Teether, £11.88 – Although the most expensive of my picks, this really is a must have. Phoebe is obsessed with Sophie and will sit chomping on her for aaaaaages! It’s brilliant for little hands and has a little squeak too.
3 // mOmma by Lansinoh Teether – Gino the Chick, £6.79 I was very kindly sent Gino by the lovely team at Lansinoh and it’s another brilliant teether. I wasn’t sure Phoebe would enjoy this teether as much as the others as a) it doesn’t squeak like Sophie and b) it just seemed a bit ‘plainer’ than the others, but boy was I wrong. If she is sat with a number of toys in front of her, it’s always Gino she reaches for. It’s the perfect size for her to grip and she loves nothing more than a good chew/suck on Gino’s little hands. You can also chill the ring as it’s filled with water, but I haven’t attempted that yet as she seems happy enough as it is.
4 // Nuby Ice Bite Teether Keys, £3.57 These keys were Jack’s teether of choice and perhaps Phoebe would have loved them too, if Andy hadn’t melted them in the steriliser before use! Filled with gel, the keys can also be chilled and the different textures are brilliant to ease those sore gums.
5 // Dr Brown’s Coolees Watermelon Teether, £2.99 I’ve heard great things about this watermelon teether and it always seems to have rave reviews. It’s another one that can be chilled and it’s shaped to reach all areas of the mouth.
6 // Sophie The Giraffe So Pure Teething Ring , £8.99 A twist on the orginal ‘Sophie’ teether, this two ring design is easy for baby to hold and it can also be attached to your pushchair or highchair.
‘A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2015′
Inspired by The 52 Project.
Jack // The spaced-out look of ipad watching; one of the many reasons he has limited screen time.
Phoebe // Chomping on her little pal ‘Monty’.
If you missed the previous instalments of my ’52 Project’, you can click on them here: Week One // Week Two
Finding time to relax can, for some, be nigh on impossible. With work, family and hectic social lives, our days are pretty full on and relaxation often takes a backseat. But for the sake of our own sanity and health we should all, if we can, unwind at the end of a busy day with a bit of ‘me’ time.
These are my top 6 ways to relax and unwind:
1 // Pamper yourself
One of the best, and most luxurious, ways to unwind is to treat yourself to a spot of pampering. If your budget allows, head to a beauty salon for a massage, facial or beauty treatment of your choice. Alternatively, indulge in a bit of DIY pampering by running yourself a hot bath, light some candles (this is my all time favourite), pop a facemask on and lie back and relax reading a girly magazine or two. Why don’t you paint your nails aswell and not only will you feel fabulous afterwards, you will also look it.
2 // Get active
Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do if you are feeling stressed out is get active. Although you may feel more inclined to plonk yourself down in front of the TV, exercise is brilliant for releasing mood-boosting chemicals such as endorphins and has a great effect on your mood and stress levels.
3 // Have a giggle
They say laughter is the best medicine and they’d be right! Laughter is renowned for its therapeutic effects and is brilliant for lifting your spirits and reducing stress levels in the body. Watch a funny DVD, read a funny book or spend some time with your funniest friends.
4 // Make a date with the television
Watching television is a brilliant way of switching off and losing yourself for an hour or two. Much to my husbands dismay, I’m a huge fan of trashy television shows. Vanderpump rules and the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, DC, Orange County, Melbourne and more recently Cheshire (although its pretty dire!) are all series linked for when I want to sit down and escape into the world of reality TV.
5 // Play online bingo
Online bingo has never been more popular. What was once the game of choice for OAPs, bingo has now moved into the internet age and has attracted a much younger audience. With the click of a button, you can enjoy the banter in the bingo chatrooms whilst the automatic dauber does all the hard work for you as you sit back and relax. You never know, you might even win! There are loads of great bingo sites around but with them all offering different promotions and varying prizes I would strongly suggest visiting a comparison website such as ‘Best Offers Bingo‘ to find the site that suits you best. Oh and don’t forget to set yourself a strict budget, I hear it can be quite easy to get carried away!
6 // Read a good book
Before I became hooked on reality TV(!), I used to read most evenings and I loved getting immersed in a good book and losing myself for an hour or so. Reading is a brilliant relaxation method and studies have shown that you only need to read silently for six minutes to slow down your heart rate and ease tension in your muscles.
How do you unwind and spend your ‘me’ time?
*Disclosure: PR collaboration