The Stokke Crusi was first brought to my attention when my sister attended The Baby Show on my behalf last year and raved about it (read about her favourite finds here), so when the lovely team at Stokke offered me the opportunity to review a Crusi, I jumped at the chance.

Well known for being one of the top manufacturers in the luxury market, Stokke are famous for their innovative designs and quality products, so I was super excited to roadtest the Crusi.

Described as “the multitalented connection stroller” that offers “a wide range of options using interchangeable Stokke components”, the Stokke Crusi can be used from birth until your little one reaches 33lbs.

The below diagram shows the longevity of the Crusi and the different configurations that are available:stokkestokekSo what is a ‘connection stroller’?

Well, It’s a stroller that’s designed to place your little one much closer to you than a normal stroller would, thanks to the high seat setting. This helps to stimulate bonding and development, as well as an increased sense of security and comfort for your child. I think this is such a clever concept and I’m amazed that other brands haven’t followed Stokke’s lead and raised their seat heights too.

installationBOXESI found setting up the Stokke Crusi really easy. The manual has clear instructions / graphics to assist but to be honest, the assembly was so self-explanatory, you are unlikely to need it. Out of the box all you need to do is pop the wheels on the chassis, click the seat/carrycot in place and you are ready to go. I like that when you push the seat onto the frame there are handy indicators on either side of the seat that turn green if the seat is attached to the chassis correctly (they remain red if not) and there is a loud audible, reassuring click to give you that extra peace of mind that it is connected safely.

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thefold

Despite being rather heavy, the Stokke Crusi is really easy to collapse and store. To fold it, the seat(s) need to be removed, then all you have to do is press the two levers at the side to unlock the frame and the wheels merge. Simple! You do need a reasonable amount of boot space to accommodate the Stokke Crusi so it wouldn’t be suitable if you have a small car, but if needs be the wheels can easily be removed from the chassis by pushing the center spoke.

storyboard413As you can see, the Stokke Crusi takes up most of our boot space, despite it being a 4 x 4, so to determine if the Stokke Crusi will fit in your car, here are the dimensions taken from the Stokke website:

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The only criticism I have of the chassis, is that there is no way of clipping it shut when it’s folded. As it’s quite large to lift, I find that it pops open quite easily and a frame lock would be a most welcome addition.

weight

The Stokke Crusi is a hefty thing, weighing in at 27 pounds with the seat and nearly 30lb with the carrycot, but surprisingly it doesn’t feel heavy to push and because you remove the seat and collapse the chassis separately, you’re essentially dividing the weight before lifting the component parts, so you’ll easily be able to lift it into your car.

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It’s universally acknowledged that you can never have enough storage space in your stroller basket. Thankfully the Stokke Crusi boasts a huge cargo basket underneath the seat, with plenty of room for your shopping and/or a changing bag. It also has a handy drawstring back that allows you to keep your stuff secured if you are loading it up and as the seat is high, there is a lot of vertical space as well, ensuring that the basket is easily accessible from every side.

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theseat

For me, the Stokke Crusi’s standout feature is most definitely the seat. I really love the high seat position, which not only offers Phoebe a great vantage point to see everything that is going on around her, it also means I can tend to her without having to bend over.

The seat can be used both parent-facing and forward-facing in differing positions. There are three recline options when the seat is parent-facing, sleep (lie flat), rest (reclined half way) and active (upright) and two recline options when it is forward-facing, rest (reclined half way) and active (upright). It’s also worth noting that the seat can be used parent-facing from birth thanks to the removable newborn insert.

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Switching the seat from rear-facing to forward-facing and vice versa is incredibly straight forward, as is adjusting between the different recline positions. On most other strollers this is done via a lever on the back of the seat, but on the Crusi the recline lever is actually a button under the seat that you press to tilt and although I found it a little awkward at first you soon get the hang of it. There is also a handy bumper bar that is great for attaching toys to and for Phoebs to hold onto on our travels and the adjustable ergonomic footrest is brilliant to prevent little legs dangling down.

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I can honestly say that Phoebe is in her element in this seat. She really enjoys sitting upright in the ‘active’ position and watching the world go by. I also have peace of mind thanks to the five point safety harness (with its three shoulder height settings) that keeps her optimally secured in the seat.

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The canopy on the Stokke Crusi is really robust. It’s not the biggest on the market, which is a shame as I love the oversized ones that offer more protection when your little one is fully reclined, but it is definitely ample and keeps Phoebe covered and protected from the elements. There is also a zippered mesh panel for better ventilation on a warm day (and allows you  you to take a peek at what your little one is doing) and a visor that pops up to help reduce the glare in the sunshine.

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carrycot

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Suitable from birth to approximately six months, the carrycot looks great and is well-padded providing your little one with a very comfortable ride. It features an air ventilated base allowing airflow, a large protective hood and like the seat, the carrycot slots onto the base really easily with the green indicator showing it has been fitted correctly. Conveniently the carrycot also features carry handles that zip away in handy little side pockets when not in use for easy portability. I’ve not had the need to use it so can’t comment from personal experience, but I can say that the cosy, soft inner lining with most definitely keep your little one snug as a bug.

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 The Crusi features a smooth suspension system and soft rubber wheels, ensuring a smooth ride for your little one, on various terrains (well, the ones I’ve tested anyway!). The padded, adjustable height handlebar has a few different locking positions and is ideal for Andy and I as we differ in height and it’s really comfortable to push around for lengthy journeys. You can also purchase a cup holder that attaches to the chassis handle if you so wish.

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The Crusi is also really easy to manoeuvre, even one handed, thanks to the over-sized rear tires and lockable swivel, front wheels. A single brake activates all four wheels on the right side of the chassis and the rear wheels feature handy splashguards to prevent debris from entering the cargo basket.

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sibling seat

If you’re planning to have more little ones in future, the Stokke Crusi is the first stroller in the Stokke line to allow for a second child seat, transforming it seamlessly into a double stroller. Featuring a comfortable, padded seat and a retractable sun canopy, the ‘Sibling Seat’ can be attached in two positions and is for children weighing up to 33 pounds.

sibling seat

I haven’t had the opportunity to test the sibling seat as Jack is too heavy, but I think it’s a brilliant feature and makes the Stokke Crusi a worthwhile, longer-term investment. My only gripe is the lack of storage space when the sibling seat is in use.

colours

The Stokke Crusi is currently available in eight colours (l to r): Red, Brown, Black Melange, Purple, Beige Melange, Black, Urban Blue and Deep Blue.

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I am a huge fan of grey so chose the ‘Black Melange’ and I adore it. The fabric feels very luxurious and with the exception of the canopy and visor, the covers can all be removed and machine washed at 30°C which is very handy when dealing with messy babies and toddlers! It’s super easy to remove the textiles too as they are connected to the seat with poppers/zips.

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Costing £1168 for the Chassis, Seat and Carrycot or £1437 for the Chassis, Seat, Carrycot and Sibling Seat, the Stokke Crusi most certainly doesn’t come cheap, but if you are looking for a stroller that can grow with your family and stand the test of time, has a three year warranty, has been constructed with impeccable attention to detail and has a top notch design, the Crusi represents excellent value for money.

summary

I adore this stroller. Not only is it aesthetically stylish, garnering a huge amount of admiring glances and compliments whenever we leave the house, it’s also a dream to push, and has the plushest, softest seat keeping Phoebe extremely comfortable, even on long walks. As with all Stokke products, the attention to detail and design is first class and I really like that the chassis is free of visible nuts and bolts ensuring a sleek, streamlined, modern look.

Above all, it’s the longevity that is one of the biggest draws to the Crusi. The fact that it can be used from birth and incorporates a sibling seat makes it a worthwhile investment as it will grow with your family and adapt to your changing needs.

Disclosure*: I was very kindly sent the Stokke Crusi 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!

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I’m so excited to tell you that Phoebe has been selected by Konfidence to become an ‘official Konfidence swimologist‘ and we couldn’t be happier. This ambassadorship is perfect for the little lady as she adores nothing more than being immersed in water! Throughout 2015 we will be using and reviewing a range of Konfidence products both in and out of the pool, we’ll be hosting a giveaway or two and thanks to Konfidence, Phoebe will also be continuing her Aquababies classes (she is currently in her second term) and I’ll be keeping you up to date with her progress.

If you’ve never heard of Konfidence (where have you been hiding?!), they are an award-winning, cornwall-based, designer and manufacturer of swimming products, buoyancy aids, sun protective clothing and wetsuits for babies and children. Konfidence was founded in 1996 when Andy and Caroline Regan took their 5 children on holiday to Cornwall.  Their two older daughters were strong swimmers but their three little ones weren’t and with a loathing of armbands, they had to keep an eye on them at all times. During that holiday they got to use wetsuits and buoyancy aids which helped to keep the kids warm and afloat and out of this came the idea for a combination of buoyancy aid and wetsuit and the ingenious Original Konfidence Jacket was born. Since then, the Konfidence range of products has grown enormously with the addition of more useful and great looking products that provide help, safety and protection to parents and children alike.

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As a swimologist, Phoebs has been sent a fabulous bundle of Konfidence products to put to the test including the Babywarmaan AquaNappy, a NeoNappy, a Roll & Go Baby Changer, a Floatsuit, Poncho Towels, Flashing Floating Blinkies. We’ve already used the the Neo Nappy and Babywarma (reviews to come soon) but all the other products look brilliant too and we’re really looking forward to testing them out on our holidays this summer.

Phoebs started her Aquababies classes a few months ago and she is thoroughly enjoying them so far. Swimming is a skill that both Andy and I deem essential for the little ones to learn. We are both strong swimmers and even at 3, Jack is very confident and fearless in the water, which I attribute wholly to the Aquababies classes he attended from 8 weeks old and that is something that I would like Phoebe to have too. There are so many benefits to attending swimming lessons at a young age, but here are my three favourites:

1. Swimming lessons reduce the risk of drowning // In 2009, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children that were enrolled in formal swimming lessons had an 88% reduced risk of drowning. As your child gets older, they are more likely to be around water when you might not be with them (e.g. a trip to the beach) so swimming is most definitely an essential life skill.

2. Swimming builds whole body strength // Swimming is a great full body workout, strengthening everything from the core to the legs to the arms. It’s also brilliant at tiring your little one’s out so they will hopefully sleep better for you!

3. Swimming helps children do better at school // Apparently swimming has been scientifically linked to a better academic performance. Studies show that children who swam during their developmental years achieved several physical and mental milestones faster than their non-swimming counterparts! Who knew!?

To launch our exciting swimologist news, Konfidence have given me a £50 voucher to give away to one lucky reader so to be in with a chance all you have to do is comment on this blog post, telling me what Konfidence product you have your eye on and then enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Full Ts&Cs are below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition terms and conditions:

  1. Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Hello Baby Blog or Konfidence.
  2. Only one entry per person.
  3. The prize will only be delivered to addresses within the UK.
  4. No responsibility is accepted for entries which are lost, corrupted, incomplete or for any failure to capture entry information. Use of false details will result in disqualification. The entry must be made by the person entering the competition – entries sent through third parties, agencies or by automated means (such as scripts and macros) will not be accepted.
  5. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  6. The prize draw starts at 12.00am GMT on 14th May 2015 and closes at 12.00am GMT on 5th June 2015.
  7. Entry for competitions must be received by the stated closing date. All entries received after this date will not be counted.
  8. Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to amend the competition end date at any time.
  9. Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post and filling in the Rafflecopter widget. Entrants can gain bonus entries by visiting Hello Baby on facebook,  @hellobabyblog on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, visiting Konfidence UK on facebook, @konfidenceuk on Twitter and then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post. Incorrectly completed entries will be disqualified.
  10. The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
  11. The competition winner must come forward to claim their prize. In the event of a prize going unclaimed for more than 28 days after notification, Hello Baby Blog may, at its discretion, declare the prize unclaimed and no longer valid, and draw a new winner. An unclaimed prize may not be awarded.
  12. It is the responsibility of entrants to notify Hello Baby Blog of any change of contact details. Proof of identity may be required.
  13. Hello Baby Blog’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
  14. Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to suspend, cancel or modify the prize draw at any time (and for any reason) without notice.
  15. If the advertised prize is not available, Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value. The payment of all costs and expenses involved in claiming a prize are the responsibility of the winner.
  16. By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
  17. Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
  18. Once the winner has been selected at random using Rafflecopter, I will inform Konfidence of the winner’s name and address, they will then send on the prize. I’m sure this won’t happen but I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post or arriving late.
  19. Hello Baby Blog shall not be responsible for damages, losses or liabilities of any kind, including without limitation, direct, indirect or consequential loss or damages arising out of or in relation to the prize draw. Nothing in this condition shall limit or exclude liability for death or personal injury as a result of Hello Baby Blog negligence.
  • iain maciverMay 14, 2015 - 9:02 pm

    a floatsuitReplyCancel

  • Kim NevilleMay 14, 2015 - 9:02 pm

    I like the Sun Protection SuitsReplyCancel

  • laura banksMay 14, 2015 - 9:10 pm

    sun protection suitReplyCancel

  • Natalie CrossanMay 14, 2015 - 9:12 pm

    Floatsuit for my daughterReplyCancel

  • IngaMay 14, 2015 - 9:40 pm

    Babywarma wetsuit pleaseReplyCancel

  • Tracy NixonMay 15, 2015 - 5:04 am

    A Warma Wetsuit for my daughter!ReplyCancel

  • Martina PichovaMay 15, 2015 - 7:51 am

    I like the Octonauts floatsuitReplyCancel

  • Lauren priceMay 15, 2015 - 9:22 am

    Love all their gear but a neo nappy would be great to start our swimming sessions with next term!ReplyCancel

  • Paula ReadingsMay 15, 2015 - 10:29 am

    I like Babywarma wetsuitReplyCancel

  • clair downhamMay 15, 2015 - 10:34 am

    i like the sun protection t shirtsReplyCancel

  • kim plantMay 15, 2015 - 10:53 am

    the kids bodyfloat my daughter is struggling to learn atm xReplyCancel

  • Steven HartwrightMay 15, 2015 - 12:59 pm

    Sun protection suitReplyCancel

  • Victoria MylittlelMay 15, 2015 - 2:11 pm

    baby wrap would be idealReplyCancel

  • Susan HuntMay 15, 2015 - 3:46 pm

    Konfidence Fish Swimsuit Babywarmer, Blue/PinkReplyCancel

  • morag pMay 15, 2015 - 4:37 pm

    Something from the sunsafe range in anticipation of the summer holidays!ReplyCancel

  • Laura PritchardMay 15, 2015 - 6:26 pm

    The Babywarma Baby WetsuitReplyCancel

  • LaurenMay 15, 2015 - 7:32 pm

    I love the Babywarma Baby Wetsuit in the Clownfish colours! Super cute!ReplyCancel

  • NicholeMay 15, 2015 - 8:48 pm

    the babywarma!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah L MMay 15, 2015 - 11:37 pm

    Sun protection suit!! :)ReplyCancel

  • debbie smithMay 16, 2015 - 2:12 pm

    i love the float suit the safer the better while still looking cool xx fab giveaway xReplyCancel

  • Tracy NewtonMay 16, 2015 - 4:01 pm

    I love the sun safe suitsReplyCancel

  • Louise FairweatherMay 16, 2015 - 6:21 pm

    A floatsuit would be good for piece of mind on holidayReplyCancel

  • Jess HowlistonMay 16, 2015 - 7:59 pm

    I love the Babywarma’s especially the strawberry design! xReplyCancel

  • Ruth HarwoodMay 17, 2015 - 6:53 am

    Float suit would be awesome xxReplyCancel

  • Michelle SykesMay 17, 2015 - 9:07 am

    I have my eye on a floatsuitReplyCancel

  • claire woodsMay 17, 2015 - 9:13 am

    Babywarma Baby WetsuitReplyCancel

  • Leanne mooreMay 17, 2015 - 3:21 pm

    The float suitReplyCancel

  • Caroline HMay 17, 2015 - 3:46 pm

    I’d go for an Octonauts floatsuit.ReplyCancel

  • tracey ryderMay 17, 2015 - 3:47 pm

    a babywrapReplyCancel

  • Helen GraysonMay 17, 2015 - 3:58 pm

    The float suit! :) xReplyCancel

  • Zoe GMay 17, 2015 - 4:00 pm

    The DivestiksReplyCancel

  • Alice FoxMay 17, 2015 - 4:36 pm

    The Konfidence Youth Jacket, going to introduce my autistic son to the water, he has never been to the beach or a swimming pool so this would be great. Not sure how he is going to react yet :P xxReplyCancel

  • EMMA WALTERSMay 17, 2015 - 5:16 pm

    a sun protection suit for my sonReplyCancel

  • Victoria WaleMay 17, 2015 - 5:34 pm

    I’d like to get my little one a babywarma suit and neoprene nappy cover xReplyCancel

  • Allan SmithMay 17, 2015 - 6:10 pm

    Love the BabywarmaReplyCancel

  • Ashleigh AllanMay 17, 2015 - 6:44 pm

    The sun protection suitReplyCancel

  • Kelly Roxanne smithMay 17, 2015 - 6:46 pm

    a wetsuit for my niece :) thanksReplyCancel

  • Lynn WardMay 17, 2015 - 6:48 pm

    a floatsuit :o) ty xReplyCancel

  • Siobhan DavisMay 17, 2015 - 7:34 pm

    Babywarma Baby Wetsuit would be perfect for our family Holiday :) xReplyCancel

  • Lisa EvansMay 17, 2015 - 7:46 pm

    The warma wetsuit and UV hat for my daughterReplyCancel

  • Victoria NMay 17, 2015 - 8:24 pm

    The sun protection t shirtsReplyCancel

  • Clare KendickMay 17, 2015 - 8:27 pm

    My little girl has just about outgron her polka dot Babywarma so i’d love to get her the next size up in the Strawberry design. Thanks for running the competition :)ReplyCancel

  • Vikki CrossMay 17, 2015 - 8:48 pm

    I like the Babywarmer wetsuitReplyCancel

  • Amanda HartMay 17, 2015 - 9:22 pm

    Sun protector suitReplyCancel

  • Lorraine TinsleyMay 17, 2015 - 10:32 pm

    A sun protection suit for when we go to Spain on holidayReplyCancel

  • caroline wallissMay 18, 2015 - 7:42 am

    Sun protection suit!xReplyCancel

  • claire haskinsMay 18, 2015 - 7:59 am

    a baby wrapReplyCancel

  • Kristy BrownMay 18, 2015 - 8:09 am

    THe Fuschia Wave Babywarma Baby WetsuitReplyCancel

  • Sarah ReesMay 18, 2015 - 12:55 pm

    The sun protection t shirtsReplyCancel

  • BECCA STAPLESMay 18, 2015 - 2:05 pm

    The george pig armbands xReplyCancel

  • karen cowleyMay 18, 2015 - 2:18 pm

    Loving the Octonauts floatsuit xReplyCancel

  • Michelle BanksMay 18, 2015 - 3:39 pm

    A float suit for my grandaughter xReplyCancel

  • Joanna Butler-SavageMay 18, 2015 - 4:41 pm

    baby warmaReplyCancel

  • Sue McCarthyMay 18, 2015 - 4:48 pm

    The Blinkies toysReplyCancel

  • Jade Susie StacieMay 18, 2015 - 4:54 pm

    Babywarma Baby WetsuitReplyCancel

  • laura stewartMay 18, 2015 - 6:05 pm

    i like Babywarma wetsuitReplyCancel

  • Andrea WilliamsMay 18, 2015 - 7:01 pm

    The warma wetsuit for my granddaughterReplyCancel

  • Jessica PowellMay 18, 2015 - 7:37 pm

    the babywarma wetsuitReplyCancel

  • Corinne PeatMay 18, 2015 - 7:38 pm

    We need a float suitReplyCancel

  • Jennifer ToalMay 18, 2015 - 8:04 pm

    The float suitReplyCancel

  • liz fergusonMay 19, 2015 - 6:37 am

    The Babywarma WetsuitReplyCancel

  • michelle pierceMay 19, 2015 - 10:42 am

    sun protection suitReplyCancel

  • Emma ArcherMay 19, 2015 - 1:38 pm

    I would love the babywarma wetsuitReplyCancel

  • Tina HolmesMay 19, 2015 - 4:18 pm

    Love the float suitsReplyCancel

  • tina edwardsMay 19, 2015 - 6:26 pm

    sun protection suitReplyCancel

  • Fiona SMay 19, 2015 - 7:10 pm

    Floatsuits look greatReplyCancel

  • Karen HarwoodMay 20, 2015 - 10:28 am

    The Babywarma would be great! But also love the Flashing Floating Binkies for the bath!ReplyCancel

  • Helen BrownMay 20, 2015 - 8:52 pm

    Poncho towel and sun protection suitReplyCancel

  • Amy RennocksMay 21, 2015 - 11:12 am

    The sun protection tshirts are a fab idea! <3ReplyCancel

  • Liam BishopMay 21, 2015 - 2:34 pm

    I like the floatsuits, I think they are great! :)ReplyCancel

  • Anna EvansMay 21, 2015 - 7:44 pm

    I would like the hot pink floatsuit as it would be perfect for my budding one year old mermaid.ReplyCancel

Better late than never, here is the April photo for my ‘Me & Mine: A family portrait project.

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I even attempted my first ever video using my mkiii, although as you can see I made the rookie error of shooting some of it in portrait mode, doh!

April has been a lovely little month, but seems to have flown by far too quickly. As every month passes by in the blink of an eye, the end of my maternity leave seems to be edging ever closer, sob!

Thankfully Spring has finally sprung and we have been enjoying the milder weather; we’ve even managed to squeeze in a few ‘garden picnics’ over the last few weeks and on more than one occasion, needed to use our Babymoov Sun tent to shield the little ones from the rays. Jack now calls it our ‘picnic tent’ and it’s really cute watching the two of them cosy up in it.

We had a lovely Easter at home with my sister and her family, having the obligatory easter egg hunt for the kiddies in the garden and then OD’ing on all the chocolate afterwards! For Andy and I it has been a month of weddings and stag parties, sporting fixtures and fitness training (my half marathon is looming ever closer!). And the little ones have had a hectic month too. Jack had his first ‘concert’ experience watching Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus with Andy and a little buddy from nursery. He was totally enthralled by it and had a whale of a time apparently. He also went to see ‘Room on the Broom’ at The Lowry Theatre in Manchester which he thoroughly enjoyed. Phoebs has learnt to crawl and is now unstoppable! She finds it particularly hilarious when you are trying to get her ready for bed and she crawls off at the speed of light, giggling away to herself, encouraged by her big brother of course! We have also started ‘rhythm time’ classes which she seems to enjoy and she is still loving her weekly swimming lessons with Aquababies and her baby sensory class.

If you missed the previous instalments on my ‘ Me & Mine: A family portrait project ‘, you can click on them here: January // February // March

  • IngaMay 14, 2015 - 9:49 pm

    Looks like you had a lovely day there, I’ve never been to Chatsworth but have heard it’s fab.

    I’m trying to take more videos now too, especially now Joshua has joined the family. I’m currently going through my videos and putting together annual videos, I’m currently working on 2013…!! I’ve also learnt to video in landscape rather than portrait :-) What did you use to put yours together, I’m using iMovie?

    Matt and I finally got a family photo of the 4 of us when a kind passerby saw me taking photos of Matt and the kids with my D700 and asked if we wanted to have one together, she did a really good job despite her apprehension when she saw the camera!! Just got to keep it up now.

    xxReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyMay 15, 2015 - 12:49 pm

      Ah brilliant, glad you have your first official family of four photo!Chatsworth is amazing if you are ever up that way, soooo good for the littles! Ha, glad i’m not the only one making the portrait mistake :) Yeah, i use iMovie, it’s so simple! xxReplyCancel

There’s no getting around the fact that being a parent is a big responsibility. When you look at your little bundle of joy, you might be struck with fear about what the future holds for them. It’s natural as a mum or dad to want your children to reach their full potential, but knowing how to get them there is a different story. If you’re determined to boost your youngster’s prospects, take a look at the following simple but effective suggestions.

Provide a suitable learning environment

To succeed in life, your little ones will need the right learning environment. While for lots of kids this is a school classroom, for others it’s safe and secure education at home. According to www.oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk, around 150,000 children are currently being educated at home, and this number is predicted to rise by three per cent a year. The home can provide a sanctuary from bullying and it can also help youngsters to learn more effectively if they are very advanced for their age or if they are struggling to keep up with their peers.

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If you’re not sure whether to follow the conventional path and send your kids out to school or to educate them at home, it may help to seek additional information and guidance on this topic online. It’s also a good idea to speak to fellow parents, and always make sure you have an open and honest dialogue with your children.

Offer extra-curricular activities 

To give your youngsters the best possible start, it’s important to provide them with opportunities to try different activities. Outside of school time, you can let them test their skills at everything from arts and crafts to dance, drama, music and sports. Try not to get frustrated if they don’t take to these extra-curricular activities straight away. It can take a while for tots to develop their own interests, and often it’s a case of trial and error. The important thing is to let them have a go. You never know, you might discover you have the next David Beckham or a budding Beethoven in your midst.

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Give plenty of praise

Plenty of praise is a must for children too. At this formative stage, their confidence and self-esteem can be particularly fragile. By recognising your youngsters’ achievements and giving them lots of praise, you can help to make them more self-assured and positive. Remember, it’s not all about coming first either. Make sure you congratulate your tots simply for trying.

Set goals, but be flexible

Another top tip is to help your children set goals. Whether this is competing in upcoming competitions, doing well in school tests or anything else, it can help to provide them with extra focus and determination. Be flexible though and make sure your youngsters actually want to achieve these things. All too often, parents fall into the trap of trying to mould their kids to be a certain way when in fact this goes against their characters and natural abilities. So, if you envisage a career in accountancy for your tot but he or she shines in art or music instead, go with the flow. Each child has their own individual talents and it’s important to nurture them.

Be there

Last but certainly not least, be there for your little ones. The love and stability that a parent can provide is crucial if youngsters are to grow up feeling secure and happy. Simply by spending time with your kids and showing them affection, you can help to boost their prospects in life.

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*Disclosure: This has been written in conjunction with www.oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk

karcher super bloggersA few weeks ago I received a very exciting email from Kärcher asking me to be a ‘Kärcher Super Blogger’ for 2015. As a family of rather house-proud clean-freaks, this ambassadorship is right up our street so I swiftly accepted! If you’re not familiar with Kärcher by name (I’m pretty certain you will have seen one of Kärcher’s distinctive yellow products in your local DIY store), they are one of the largest maufacturers of cleaning equipment.

Over the course of 2015, we will be bringing you news of Kärcher’s brilliant products to help with cleaning around your home and we’ll be putting various Kärcher products through their paces and sharing our reviews with you.

First up we have been asked to review the Kärcher Window Vac WV2. This is one of those products that friends have always raved about but I have always been slightly skeptical. Why do I need to vacuum my windows when I can just Squeegee them?! But boy was I wrong. This unassuming little gadget, is brilliant!

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The Kärcher Window Vac does exactly what it says on the tin; it vacuums up all those dirty soapsuds, leaving your windows streak-free with minimal effort. The new, improved, WV2 Window Vac (it’s the second generation one) has been designed to make cleaning smooth surfaces even easier than before and I’ve been really impressed. It’s easy to assemble (the only assembly required is slotting the rubber blade into the unit), lightweight, comfortable to hold and a doddle to use.

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With it’s lithium ion battery, the WV2 can clean up to 75m² on one battery charge, which equates to about 25 minutes of continuous use; plenty of time to get your windows sparkling.

So how does it work?

Firstly you need to clean your windows as per your usual method; I spray the windows with glass cleaning solution and wipe over them with a damp cloth to ensure that all the dirt is ‘loose’. Then use the Window Vac in steady strokes from the top to the bottom of the window pane and all the moisture will be sucked into the device leaving your windows streak-free and gleaming.

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For the first time in forever, I actually enjoy cleaning my windows and bi-folds! It’s pretty satisfying seeing all the dirty water collecting in the water reservoir tank on the front of the Vac and it’s definitely much less effort than any other method I’ve tried previously.

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Despite it’s name, the Kärcher Window Vac isn’t just limited to cleaning windows. It can be used on all smooth surfaces, such as mirrors, bathroom tiles, work surfaces and shower screens and it’s also great for cleaning spills (handy for our not so graceful little people) and sucking up condensation.

In my opinion, the Kärcher Window Vac WV2 is an outstanding piece of kit and a game changer for cleaning windows. The windows are, without doubt, as perfect as you’ll get them and it most definately out-performs all the other methods i’ve tried in the past, including vinegar, lemon and scrunched up newspapers! There is no dripping of dirty water and as it takes minimal effort, I know this is one product I will be using regularly in our home from now on.

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The Kärcher Window Vac WV2 is currently on sale for £42.95 on Amazon, £44.99 at John Lewis for those of you that prefer to purchase from a ‘real’ shop and via many other retailers both in-store and online. 

I have reviewed the WV2 model, but there are other models available including those that include a spray bottle, micro fibre head, cleaning solution and a narrower 170mm suction blade (the standard blades are 280mm), so do check out the different options on the Kärcher website. You can also keep up to date with all things Kärcher on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

Disclosure: We received this product free of charge as part of our Ambassador programme and all thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.