E’s been on the move since he was 10 months old so we already have safety gates at the top and bottom of our stairs. Now he’s a boy not a baby safety in the home becomes less about the obvious risks of trips and falls and more about curiosity induced accidents. We prefer to encourage E to learn to do things safely rather than restricting his access so we were interested to try out the Dreambaby® gates to make particular areas of the house safer for him. The kitchen and E’s bedroom were the obvious rooms to choose.
The hazard in our kitchen lies in the lure of these mysterious steps leading down to the cellar. E has been trained from an early age to ‘just look’ when we disappear down the stairs but we do wonder whether curiosity might get the better of him one day on a hunt for frozen peas/blueberries/mischief. The only reason we don’t have a stairgate there is because the opening is too narrow to fit one.
The Dreambaby® stairgate was just about narrow enough to fit the opening to the cellar (for wider openings it comes with two extension bars). As a pressure fit gate it was quick and easy to install and simply tightens into place (no drilling required unless using at the top of stairs where screwing in the mounting caps is recommended for added security). The gate certainly served it’s purpose of barricading off an enticing but risky area of the house. However we had to take it down after a few days because in all honesty it was tightly wedged in rather than fitted properly and we weren’t able to screw in the mounting caps as per the manufacturers recommendation. Afterall an incorrectly fitted gate is worse than no gate at all (the horror of a colleague’s son breaking his arm when he tried to climb over a pressure fit gate that had worked loose came to mind!)
From a practical point of view, for our cellar doorway at least, having a gate there felt like our safety as adults was compromised as the space really is too small, a bit dark and reduces the doorway area you have to carry things through. Another unexpected reason for removing it was that our arthritic cat Billy couldn’t jump over the gate to get down to the litter tray in the cellar so started to poo by the front door (not quite the ‘keeping E safer’ outcome we’d hoped for!).
The stairgate installed in E’s room was more successful and has been in place for over a month now. We’re in the process of decorating E’s room and once finished we intend to transition E from his cot to a floor bed. He’ll be able to get in and out of bed himself and the room will be babyproofed so he can simply get up and play when he wakes. The gate in the doorway will help to reduce the risk of him hurting himself walking along the landing to our room while he’s still small (the chance of slipping on a hard floor while wearing a sleep bag is rather high!)
So the verdict for trialling Dreambaby stairgates in an old unconventionally sized house with geriatric cats and a small boy.
- quick and easy to install
- double lock mechanism is easy to open for adults and impossible for toddlers to crack
- self-closing door, especially helpful when carrying things and reduces the chance of parental arguments about who forgot to close the gate
Features that didn’t work so well for our family..
- narrow opening rather than the whole width of the gate (a bit awkward if carrying a toddler, basket of laundry etc through)
- trip bar at the bottom of the gate (you soon learn to step over it but I wouldn’t be happy to use a gate this style on the stairs)
We’re grateful to have been involved in the Dreambaby safety testings as not only have we benefited but another family in Gloucester will as well. We’re donating the second stairgate to Gloucestershire Bundles, a local charity who provide toiletries, clothes and equipment to pregnant women and families in crisis with children under 5. If you live in Gloucestershire and are having a clearout of your childs clothes, toys or equipment please consider donating your items.
Disclosure: I was sent the Dreambaby stairgates to review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
With Christmas just around the corner it’s nice to be reminded of balmy summer days spent outside this year. Hard to believe it’s already 6 months ago that we spent a lovely Sunday afternoon ambling about May Hill after reading that the iconic trees there were all under threat of being cut down due to disease.
The Corsican pine trees atop May Hill were planted in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Further Scots pine trees were added in 1977 to mark Queen Elizabeth’s silver jubilee. Pine trees, an unusual site in such a landscape, are said to have been planted to mark a overnight grazing ground and one of the charms of a visit to May Hill is the sight of cows snoozing and wild ponies grazing in the shade of the trees without a care in the world.
May Hill has everything you could want from a family walk.
Trees, animals, wide open space and fabulous views.
It’s a bit of a gradual climb with a bike and a toddler but nothing snacks can’t forgive. The walk-run-tumble back down is rather fun too – thirsty work though!
Thankfully the disease effecting the trees, Red Needle Band blight, is containable so only 30 trees already killed by the disease need to be removed.
See the National Trust website here for walks/maps on May Hill if interested in visiting
Just look at these beauties from the fabulous OXO Good Grips range – they seem to think of everything when it comes to kitchen gadgetry!.
There’s nothing like a new gadget to inspire trying out a new recipe and cherry clafoutis has long been on my pudding wish list. In fact baking of any kind is on my wishlist but it’s a simple pleasure I hardly make time for (ok, that’s more to do with trying to avoid too much sugar and washing up!). I always wondered how people get the stones out of cherries for making a clafoutis. What a revelation a cherry pitter is! Making damson chutney will never be the same (I’m presuming my OXO cherry pitter will be up to the task as it’s suitable for pitting olives too) – I sat through 2 films de-stoning the last batch of spiced damson chutney I made.
Mamacook posted a baked cherry custard this week which I decided was a better option than a big Clafoutis from both a waistline and budget point of view (fresh cherries are super expensive at this time of year). I followed Mamacooks simple low sugar recipe (milk, egg yolk, sugar, cherries, vanilla extract) but added a tablespoon of coconut flour to thicken it a bit as a trial run for making a gluten free clafoutis when cherries are in season. I grated some nutmeg on the top using my the OXO spice grater and found that just one nutmeg produced 1/4 jar of grated spice. Quite a different texture to the shop bought powder I replaced it with but a much fresher flavour and more economical. Plenty ready for next time when I’ll be putting my OXO spice jar measuring spoons to good use.
This recipe was such a hit for clean simple flavours and I loved the pop of the fresh cherries with each mouthful.
The washing up was a breeze too and my new OXO palm brush made light work of getting baked custard off my dish. We’ve dabbled with long handle brushes before but always return to cloths. This compact palm held brush is terrific dispensing washing up liquid at the push of a button and neatly stores away in it’s own non-drip stand.
The other new additions in our kitchen are the angled measuring cup and the bag cinch. No more squinting with my nose pressed up against the side of a cracked jug with barely legible measurements and a wobbly hand. The angled measuring cup is genius with markings up the inside so you can read quantities from above as well. Available in 250ml, 500ml, 1000ml sizes to suit all recipes and pockets. As for the bag cinch, making E’s favourite pombears stretch across several days is no longer at the expense of crispiness!.
I could wax lyrical about which features we liked best but as it was all the features listed for each product I’d simply say go and take a look for yourself. Grab a cuppa and get comfy though as you’re sure to find a whole heap of other stocking filler ideas in the Good Grips range.
Disclosure: I purchased the cherry pitter and bag cinch and was sent the other items to review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
I’d like to say I was on the ball with November’s Me and Mine but I’d be fibbing.
It only dawned on me that it was the end of the month with the realisation that December will be with us tomorrow. We had to pounce on the lady running the kids craft activities at the Wynstones Advent Fair to get this month’s snapshot. E hurtling off the chair sums up the little force of nature our little boy is becoming. No time for posing when there are adventures to be had!
Oranges, ribbons and a bowl of cloves were set out on one of the other craft tables so when we got home we made our own orange pomander. Well I say we, E helped by tipping all the cloves out and then trying to put them back in the jar through the sprinkle holes.
Making an orange and clove pomander is such a relaxing way to spend half an hour. Not to mention how amazing it smells.
Other bloggers November Me and Mine posts can be seen here and our previous family portraits are here
I don’t think I ever told you about the 8 eggs, 450g margarine, 450g sugar, 450g flour and several spoonfuls of lemon curd that became a rather tasty first birthday cake for E? I was rather pleased with how it turned out considering I’d not used roll out icing since covering our wedding cake nearly 15 years ago. As most of E’s party guests were snowed off we ended up eating cake with just about every meal for a week or so (the addition of lemon curd in the sponge mix ensured it didn’t dry out).
The lemon curd addition to a classic Victoria sponge mix was so good we made butterfly cakes too with a mascarpone filling topped with blueberries and raspberries. Butterfly cakes, sigh, so reminiscent of childhood birthday parties. How lovely it is to now be continuing simple family traditions with E.
Time to start nudging cake making ideas around for E’s 2nd birthday which is only a couple of months away. What fabulous birthday cake creations have you made that might inspire me?
E’s a robust little fella; rarely ill with anything more than the usual baby snuffles. Developing a fever is a telltale sign when something more serious is brewing. The bleep of the thermometer and the high temperature reading it signals confirms what we already know. Only a poorly E would tolerate having a thermometer held in his armpit for over a minute. Once he’s well again thoughts of whether there’s a better way of measuring the seriousness of a fever are forgotten until the next time. Turns out there is a better way.
An in-ear thermometer that reads a temperature in 3 seconds.
I know, 3 seconds! I couldn’t believe it either. Until Braun sent us one to try.
The ThermoScan® 5 ear thermometer was true to its word – easy and fast to use. Safe for all the family to use from birth. The patented ExacTemp™ pre-warmed tip fits even the smallest ears comfortably. Readings are fast and accurate by measuring the heat generated by the eardrum and surrounding tissue. The last 8 readings are automatically stored which can be helpful for tracking temperature changes during a period of illness. Cross contamination is avoided if more than one person in the family gets sick by using disposable lens filters. All in all, a distress-free temperature reading experience for all concerned.
A decent in ear thermometer, the preferred choice of health professionals, has always been out of our price range so I never have acted on my ”Is there a better way?…” ponderings. When Braun offered me the Thermoscan to try I turned them down at first since parting with £43 from our family budget for a thermometer would never be something I could justify. ”The 3-in-1 digital stick thermometer is more our price range” I said. ”Try them both and see how they compare” they said helpfully.
A shared feature of both thermometers is lots of bleeping which captivated E. Understandably after much play he got a bit confused about just what went where (did you spot his earlier attempts to take his ear temperature up his nose?)
Amazon reviewers of the 3-in-1 thermometer swear by it as the number 1 choice for vets (a rectal reading in 10 seconds!). For usefulness with little ones it couldn’t really compare with the Thermoscan’s deluxe features. Oral readings, also delivered in 10 seconds, are not recommended for under 4′s if you want an accurate result. E gave it a noble try but couldn’t grasp the closed mouth needed and soon took it out syaing ”oh, broken’‘ when bleeping was not forthcoming.
The 3-in-1 thermometer is a good, affordable choice for adults and older children at home or in a travel first aid kit. In our temperature tests it produced similar readings (the difference between heat sensitivity in the mouth and in the ear?) which can also be stored. It’s waterproof for easy cleaning if sharing use in families. For reassurance with babies I am persuaded by the usefulness of an ear thermometer following our trial. I’d still hesitate to spend nearly £50 (with the cost of buying extra filters needed) but as an investment in the families’ wellbeing it’s a reliable product offering peace of mind just when you need it. Hunt around and there are some good discounts on-line – (£37 with 60 filters and free postage).
So you’re probably thinking it couldn’t possibly be all good right? Well, we did get to try our ear thermometer out with a poorly E this week. Thankfully he wasn’t feverish which confirmed our suspicions that his sickness was a result of something he’d eaten rather than a bug. Had he been troubled in the night I would have liked the display to light up so it could be used without having to turn the light on. I haven’t seen any other thermometers that do that either so actually, yes it’s all good.
Disclosure: I was sent the thermometers to review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.