My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Family Fun at Lollibop - The BIG Bash for Little People!

It's that time of year again. The annual Lollibop Festival is getting ready to come to London!

This will be the third Lollibop Festival that has been held since the fun began in August 2011. Munchkin and I have been lucky enough to have attended the Lollibop Festival for both 2011 and 2012 and are looking forward to joining in the fun and games for 2013 too! And this year, the festival for families is returning to a new venue. In both 2011 and 2012, this hugely popular event has been held at Regents Park in London. This year, however, although remaining in London, the festival will visit The Olympic Park for its 3 day extravaganza, for the 16th, 17th and 18th August, 2013. If you ask Munchkin about Lollibops, she will recall all sorts! She would tell you all about the face painting, the main stage action, The Zingzillas, Tiny Pop, and the yummy ice-cream! And there is so much more to see too!

LolliBop, The Big Bash for Little People, is returning for 2013 to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London – and will take place on August 16-18.
Event Manager, Jenny Kane said: 

“We are really excited to be taking LolliBop to the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This is the first children’s event to take place in what looks set to become one of the premier event locations in the UK.  It has so many benefits for our visitors, including great transport links and family friendly tube stations. LolliBop has gone from strength to strength since our first event in 2011 and Queen  Elizabeth Olympic Park gives us the opportunity to create an even more exciting and dynamic family day out. It’s an amazing opportunity for LolliBop to be part of such an important legacy ”

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park said: 

“This summer at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park there will be something for everyone. We are delighted to be welcoming LolliBop to join this year’s line-up. LolliBop encompasses some of the best loved names in children’s entertainment, as well as quality theatre, crafts and activities. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park begins to open from July 2013 and will be fully open from spring 2014. We are on track to deliver a fantastic summer events series and a great legacy for east London.”

Returning LolliBoppers will see old favourites mixed with new attractions for 2013, including:

LolliBop Live – playing host to some of the biggest names in kids entertainment, with live music and performances from stars of stage and screen.  Headliners coming soon…

Lollipalladiam - is a live theatre tent showcasing performances from pioneering and internationally renowned companies and artists. 

The LolliBop Kitchen where creative little cooks will have the chance to learn new skills from live demonstrations and interactive workshops.

Tween Town will host a number of activities including street dance, hula-hoop, and beat-box workshops.

Imagination Stations - A hub of creativity with lots of mess and mayhem thrown in! From clay modeling, puppet making, customised fashion workshops, balloon modeling, graffiti painting, face painting and much more

Science Zone - Make a rocket, hold a dry ice cube, or get messy with gooey slime in the LolliBop lab - brimming with exploding experiments for pint sized guests to try!

Run wild and have fun in the LolliSports area.  With activities including retro favorites like swingball, hula-hoop and frisbee to football tournaments and sports day style races. 

The pre-school 3ft & Under area is also returning, along with the Enchanted Forest and The Village Green with live music, craft stalls and street theatre, making it an ideal spot for a picnic.

Extensive covered buggy parks, baby changing and breast-feeding areas will be available.

As you can see, there is fun to be had by all! The Lollibop Festival has loads of enjoyment for the whole family! For me, seeing the smile on Munchkin's face for the whole day is all the enjoyment I need! And this year, she will be sharing her special day with Beastie as she insists that she is now old enough to join us! Let's just keep our fingers crossed for fair weather!

Keep up to date with all the latest news from Lollibop HQ by following their FACEBOOK PAGE and checking them out on TWITTER. You can also visit the Festival WEBSITE to purchase your tickets for the 2013 fun! If you're quick, you may even get your tickets at a discounted Earlybird rate!

Maybe we'll see you there!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Review - The Little Raindrop by Joanna Gray

'One dark and stormy day, a little raindrop fell out of a cloud and flew faster and faster through the sky ...'

Munchkin loves her bedtime stories. In fact, bedtime just isn't bedtime unless we have had cuddles and a bedtime story. For the past year, she has built up quite a collection of books, most of which she has specifically asked for, and I think every one of them can be classed as a favourite. After having a story read to her a couple of times, she will have memorized parts of the text and she will join in with the bits that she knows!

Recently, we were offered a new bedtime story to review. 

The Little Raindrop is written by Joanna Gray, illustrated by Dubravka Kolanovic and published by Top That! Publishing. It tells the story of a little raindrop who falls from a cloud in the sky, and embarks upon an adventure through the environment, meeting with the elements and completing a cycle until it is ready to fall from the rain cloud again.

The first thing we noticed was the pretty illustrations. Each page is covered, from corner to corner, with beautifully blended pastel colours, showing the story of the Little Raindrop's journey. The story itself teaches children about the natural water cycle in a fun and engaging way.

Munchkin is 3 and a half now, and she likes to ask a lot of questions when I am reading to her. It is very important to her to be able to understand the story all the way through. She needs to be clear of what is going on or she loses interest very quickly. The first time we read it together, she was concentrating very hard, and so we talked through it slowly, looking at all of the pictures, using them to visualise the story. I found that we were regularly referring back so we were able to piece the story together in a simple way. By the end of the story, she was really excited. She knew she had learned something new and couldn't wait to educate her daddy on the water cycle!

All the way through the story, we follow this happy little raindrop across the beautifully drawn, picturesque landscapes as we learn about the natural cycle of a raindrop. From the cloud, through the colourful rainbow, through rivers and streams, and more, until he finds himself reaching the rain cloud again. 

This morning, after a heavy rain shower which left the ground covered in puddles, Munchkin and I set off on our walk to nursery. As we stepped outside, she ran ahead to jump in a puddle, but stopped herself and said to me,

"Mummy, if I splash all the raindrops out of this puddle, will they still fly back up to the rain clouds ...?"

This made me smile. Her bedtime story had really stuck in her head and she had taken a great deal of meaning from it!

Thank you, Joanna Gray, for teaching Munchkin something new!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Our Graco Evo Mini: To sum it up ...

Looking back ...

This weekend, our testing period with Graco draws to a close. As you know, we have been testing the Graco Evo Mini for the past few weeks, and have used it in a number of situations ...

We have 'played' with it indoors, getting acquainted with the various and numerous features. From the very start, we recognised all of the great qualities that would make this testing programme such a pleasure! The sturdy frame, the robust wheels, the big, spacious shopping basket, the comfortable, padded reclining seat, the large hood, the comfy grip on the handlebar, the smooth handling and the fact that both Beastie (8 months) and Munchkin (3 and a half years) both fit nicely into the seat with plenty of space to move, made us very excited about being testers for Graco!

We have visited a theme park for the day with our Graco Evo Mini. We have seen how it helps to shield Beastie from the Wintery elements and provides a comfortable place for her nap. We have thoroughly tested the ease of the Graco Evo Mini's manageability and have felt the benefits of the large shopping basket for holding packed lunches and essentials for the family.

We have taken our Graco Evo Mini shopping with us. Navigating through busy shops, getting in and out of lifts and taking on the challenges presented by crowds and the need to re-energise mid shop with a cup of coffee on the go! We have taken the bus, the train and put or Evo Mini into the boot of the car. 

Beastie's Graco Evo Mini has been hijacked by Munchkin whilst on her way to a Bedtime Stories session at nursery one evening. We found how suitable it is for her too, even at over 13kg. She told us her 'favourite bits' of the Graco Evo Mini and takes Pinkie Pie along for the ride!

Finally, we have used the Graco Evo Mini day-to-day, in the rain, the wind and the sun. With and without Munchkin, to the shops, the park and on Sunday walks.

In conclusion, in case you haven't realised, we love our Graco Evo Mini! There is nothing we have found that doesn't work for us. Most importantly of all, Beastie absolutely loves her new pushchair!

Thank you, Graco Baby for inviting us to test your Evo Mini!
We have had loads of fun!

Take a look at our other posts for the Graco Evo Mini HERE, and also visit our YouTube channel HERE to see our video collection showing our Evo Mini in action! Yo can also see our Graco Evo Mini Pinterest board as well as our photo gallery on Instagram.

Thanks for following us on our Graco Evo Mini Adventure!

We have been sent the Graco Evo Mini for the purpose of an ongoing review and are competing for the title of 'Graco Ambassadors'

Friday, 19 April 2013

More of the Graco Evo Mini - Munchkin hijacks Beastie's ride!

Pushchairs are for big girls too, mummy ...!

Since our Graco testing began a few weeks ago, all of or focus at the Munchkin Patch has been on how much Beastie is loving it and how perfect it is for her. I think someone has been feeling a little left out! Munchkin has asked on a number of occasions if she can "have a ride in the orange buggy". As a rule, Munchkin doesn't use a pushchair any more. She walks everywhere. However, she does get very tired when she does a lot of walking, and therefore, we were delighted that the Evo Mini was a pushchair that could comfortably accommodate them both. Therefore, I couldn't let our testing period end without Munchkin taking it for a proper test drive. After all, the Graco Evo Mini is suitable up to 15kg, so plenty big enough for my 13kg bundle of fun!

This week, Munchkin's nursery held a 'Bedtime Stories' session from 5-6pm. This was held on a non-nursery day for her, so she was very excited at the thought of going into school on her day off (crazy child!!) The idea was she would go to nursery at 5pm dressed in her pyjamas and slippers, accompanied by a favourite cuddly toy and they would enjoy an hour of bedtime stories whilst sharing milk and cookies. I suggested she could walk to nursery in her shoes and change into her slippers at nursery ...

No way! Slippers would be worn both to and from nursery! And a dressing gown would replace a coat too ...!

Her solution was that she would ride in the orange buggy to save her slippers from getting dirty. I didn't argue with her idea. It made sense. She had insisted on taking her new friend, Pinkie Pie, along to Bedtime Stories with her, who is almost as big as she is. Therefore it would save any encounters with muddy puddles and prevent me from being lumbered with a huge cuddly pink bundle in my arms for 85% of the walk!

As you can see, our Evo Mini is plenty big enough for both Munchkin and Pinkie Pie!

It was also a very windy evening which bothers Munchkin immensely! She does not deal with the windy weather well at all. As soon as we stepped outside and she jumped into the seat of the pushchair, she said, 

"Oooh, mummy, my orange buggy shuts all of the wind out!!"

Of course, the Graco Evo Mini's hood does not act as a complete wind shield, but she clearly felt the benefit of being in there straight away. She claims that the wind couldn't get to her because ...

"... my orange buggy has the biggest hood in the world!!"

As you can see, there is no discomfort here at all. She fits perfectly well into the seat without feeling cramped. On the way home, she even asked me to put the seat into the reclined position so she could test that out, and then announced that she was planning on having a little sleep!! That told me she must have been comfortable!! When I asked her what her favourite bits about the Graco Evo Mini were, the first thing she pointed to was the foot rest! I asked her why that was the best part and she replied, 

"It just feels nice on my feet, mummy. That's all!"

I am very used to pushing Beastie around in the Evo Mini and was wondering how much heavier the pushchair would feel with Munchkin in the seat. To be honest, I hardly noticed a difference! The Evo Mini still felt really lightweight and easy to move around. It felt just as smooth as it moved along the pavement and Munchkin and Pinkie Pie were very comfortable! The harness was not a problem and adjusted easily to fit around her, and I was pleased to see how much head room she had.

We have been sent the Graco Evo Mini for the purpose of an ongoing review and are competing for the title of 'Graco Ambassadors'

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Retail therapy for our Graco Evo Mini!

Evo Mini goes shopping!

Since we started our Evo Mini testing with Graco, we have written about our first impressions of the pushchair, and about how it managed a family day out to Peppa Pig World. Another place we have visited a number of times is our local shopping centre. The girls really enjoy going there, and a relaxed stroll around the shops can often calm the most challenging of days for Beastie. The lights, the buzz of the other shoppers, and the comfortable ride working together can ease the frustration of the most fractious moods in her. We were hoping that the Evo Mini would provide the same relief!

The smiles here show how happy she is to be sat in her Evo Mini. This is the reaction we get every single time!

On this particular occasion, we were out shopping for clothes. The perfect opportunity to see how well the Evo Mini copes in busy shops with limited space for manoeuvrability! Not to mention taking the chance to see if the seat is really as comfortable as it looks! 

Well, we had been out for about an hour when Beastie decided that she was hungry. This was the only time during this outing that Beastie was taken out of the Evo Mini. However, she was not out for long! We could see that she was very tired too, so prepared the Evo Mini for our sleepy Beast before putting her back in by reclining the back of the seat about half way. Beastie is a fighter when it comes to her sleep. She is so concerned that she will miss out on something, she will force her eyes to stay open, no matter how grumpy it makes her! However, we laid her in her pushchair, and after just 3 minutes of walking, this is what we were presented with ...

Navigating around the shopping centre was so easy. The perfectly smooth, flat floor surface is one both girls have been fans of whilst in the buggy. However, it seems particularly smooth and flat when pushing the Evo Mini! To Beastie, it must feel as though she is almost floating on air!! The wheels move effortlessly and only when necessary and the large hood means that she is shielded from the bright fluorescent lighting whilst she tries to sleep. I did notice something else whilst we were on our shopping trip too. Something that will (and has) made The Man an instant fan of the Evo Mini ...

Whilst I was off doing 'girly stuff' with Munchkin, (ie, finding and trying on clothes!), he was on pushchair duty. However, the moment he discovered he could push the buggy AND comfortably hold and enjoy his Caramel Latte at the same time, he was a fan of the Evo Mini! One handed navigation is really easy. This also comes in handy when I am out on my own with the girls as it means I can keep one hand free to hold Munchkin's hand when necessary. 

A few days ago, we also used the rain cover for the first time in the rain! The rain was quite heavy and we needed to make a quick trip to the local shop. The rain cover attaches to the pushchair really easily, meaning that I would be able to secure it quickly if I got caught in a sudden downpour (<-- it has been known!) It fits comfortably over the hood, and is held in place using velcro strips that wrap around the back of the hood and through the frame, and the opposite end of the cover is held together with a popper button that wraps around the front wheel axle. Beastie is perfectly happy sitting in the Evo Mini with the rain cover attached, and it does not restrict her movement or reduce her space at all!

In conclusion, the Evo Mini is a great pushchair for shopping. It is easy to move around the shop, weaving amongst the shop furniture without difficulty. The large shopping basket also means I can fit plenty of bits under the pushchair which creates an even distribution of weight and makes the Evo Mini  light and easy to push, even when the basket is full! I am also confident now that the rain will never be a problem either as I now know that the rain cover is substantial and well designed for its purpose!

Here are some other photos of our Evo Mini during our recent shopping trips ...

We have been sent the Graco Evo Mini for the purpose of an ongoing review and are competing for the title of 'Graco Ambassadors'

Friday, 12 April 2013

Blindingly Beautiful!

... Time for new bathroom blinds!

Not too long ago, we bought some new curtains for our new lounge. We hadn't long moved in to our new property, and our previous house provided all curtains and blinds as part of the fixtures and fittings! Our new property, however, did not. We have a lovely set of double doors in our lounge as well as a window, and they were all bare! I'm quite a 'private' person, and I like the idea of being able to pull the curtains and blinds closed at the end of the day and love the fact that I can 'shut the world away outside' and enjoy the cosy atmosphere inside!

My previous property boasted a large front window, and the landlord had provided wooden Venetian blinds for the lounge. However, the blinds were either very well used, or had not been treated very well, as they neither opened or closed fully which made me feel very uncomfortable during the evenings as I felt the inside of the room could be seen from the street. 

We were not sorry to leave them behind!!

Now we are in our new property, I appreciate so much more, just how important decent curtains and blinds are to me. I enjoy having good blinds that I can close securely in the kitchen and the bathroom. Sometimes, I feel it can really pay off to have your blinds professionally measured and fitted. This is a service I would really love to use when we are finally settled in a place of our own, rather than rented accommodation! I have found a great deal of comprehensive advice on choosing, measuring and fitting bathroom blinds safely, advice that I will definitely take on board when my time comes! Bathroom Blinds offers advice, tips and images to help with decisions, as well as a direct link to Hillarys who offer the professional measuring and fitting service that I am so interested in! 

I do feel that one of the biggest problems with the blinds in my previous property was that they had not been measured out accurately, making each one either too big or too small for the window space. This, and their poor condition caused the sun to be shut out during the day and the uncomfortable feeling of being 'watched' during the darker hours! A professional service would help to prevent this from happening in the future!

What can I say ...? I like to keep the outdoors where it belongs when it gets dark ... am I getting old ...?!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Make household chores less of a nightmare this spring with Oven Pride!

Spring is the perfect time of year to sort out those household niggles and give your home a thorough deep clean. But if the idea of donning your rubber gloves fills you with dread, you are not alone.

A recent survey by Oven Pride, the number one oven cleaning brand, found that a staggering 316 million 'little household jobs' currently need attention in Britain's homes.

It seems our hectic lifestyles have led to an endless list of chores desperate for our attention. The survey revealed that almost half of us currently have dirty ovens waiting to be cleaned. With so many of us shutting the door on this nightmare task, it is perhaps no surprise that it has been named as the number one most hated household chore by more than 55% of those asked.

Defrosting freezers, painting walls, dusting and hoovering the stairs also made it to the top of the checklist of jobs we most like to avoid.

In fact, these jobs are so dreaded, that 45% of people admitted to being kept awake at night over a job that they haven't been able to cross off their to-do list. A tenth of people have a job at home that they have put off doing for over five years, with three in ten putting one off for at least 12 months.

Cleaning the oven
Cleaning the oven
Cleaning the windows
Cleaning the windows
Hoovering the stairs
Painting walls / touching up scratches or marks
Cleaning the toilet
Hoovering the stairs
Scrubbing the roasting tin
Sorting out a bedroom cupboard
Removing hair from the plug hole
Defrosting the freezer
Defrosting the freezer
Cleaning the skirting boards
Ironing shirts
Moving and cleaning behind furniture
Unblocking the sink / plug hole
Hoovering under sofa cushions
Cleaning the cooker hood
Cleaning the cooker hood
Cleaning the skirting boards
Organising the garage
Hoovering under the sofa cushions
Mowing the lawn
Scouring the bath
De-scaling the kettle
Cleaning the bathroom
Cleaning the bathroom
Moving and cleaning behind furniture
Cleaning out the fridge
Cleaning out the fridge
Painting a fence
De-scaling the kettle
Ironing shirts
Fixing a leaky tap
Cleaning the toilet
Mowing the lawn
Scouring the bath

Thankfully, Oven Pride provides an all-in-one solution that can be used on the whole of your oven, making oven cleaning less of a nightmare this Spring.

Chris Olive, Brand Manager for Oven Pride said: 

"We all lead such hectic modern lives that it's sometimes hard to keep on top of everything. Of course, the longer you leave a job, the worse it usually is when you finally get round to facing it, but making sure you have the right tools for the job can make household chores less of a nightmare.

When it comes down to it, the thought of doing a job you've put off is usually a lot worse than actually getting it done."

Oven Pride's powerful, fume free and easy-to-use formula transforms racks and grills, making excessive scrubbing and scouring a thing of the past. For unbeatable results, simply apply the formula to the areas that need to be cleaned and leave it to soak for a minimum of four hours or ideally over night. Then simply remove the residue with a sponge or a cloth and rinse the inside of the oven and racks with plenty of hot soapy water to restore your oven to its former glory!

Oven Pride retails at £3.99 and is available from all major supermarkets.

We were sent a bottle of Oven Pride to test the results for ourselves, and I can say, we are extremely impressed! Read our full review by clicking here - http://www.hartofthemunchkinpatch.co.uk/2013/04/review-operation-oven-pride.html

Review: Operation Oven Pride!

Oven Pride is the UK's number one oven cleaning brand with 58% value share of the oven cleaning market. With a powerful formula and innovative rack and tray bag, Oven Pride provides unbeatable results first time, every time. So you can get back to enjoying your culinary creations with friends and family!

Being a family who like to cook, our oven tends to suffer a bit! Especially as the man can be particularly impatient on occasions and thinks that whacking the temperature on the oven up a notch will only have positive results. However, we all know that this just ends in a mess! Cue sauces spilling over the edge of dishes and toppings splattering the oven walls! And we also all know that it tends to be the job that gets 'forgotten'. Whether that is a deliberate 'slip of the mind' or a genuine one, the oven door is closed once cooking is done and said mess is not revealed again until the next hot meal!

I was very interested when we were sent a sample of Oven Pride to test out at home. Typically, as we hadn't been living at our current property for very long when we received this for review, we were lucky to still have a very clean, fresh oven. This was not a problem ... I just got The Man to cook ... lots! 

Within a few weeks, as expected, our oven needed a good clean!

Shameful ... yes?

Not for long, however. Time to put Operation Oven Pride into action!

My previous experiences of oven cleaning were not pretty. Lengthy periods of time spent on hands and knees, scrubbing the inside of the oven with a scourer that seems to fall apart at the mere sight of the oven interior whilst being left ever so slightly light headed by the overwhelming fumes given off by the chosen cleaner. All this whilst the wire shelves are 'soaking' in a sink that is far too small to accommodate the whole thing! No wonder cleaning the oven is top of the list of most hated household jobs!

However, Oven Pride is different. The bottle of cleaning solution comes complete with a cleaning bag for the racks and a pair of rubber gloves. This product is designed to give you a sparkly clean oven with minimum fuss and effort! And it delivers exactly what it promises to.

Transforms Racks & Grills ...

As I mentioned earlier, on previous occasions, I had to scrub the oven shelves in stages. They would need a good soak in a sink of hot soapy water, but this also needed to be done bit by bit as the sink was never big enough for the shelves. This was a very difficult, messy and frustrating task. This time, however, was different.

To clean the oven racks, you are given the following, easy to understand instructions:

Carefully place no more than 2 racks into the Oven Pride cleaning bag, taking care not to tear or puncture the bag. Add approximately 1/2 to 1/3 of the Oven Pride cleaning solution.

Seal the bag whilst dispelling as much air as possible and then fold the bag around the rack(s), keeping the solution in the area to be cleaned. Gently tilt the bag until the solution has coated the rack(s) and leave for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, tilt the bag again to re-coat the rack(s) and soak for a further 4 hours. For best results, leave overnight.

To remove the rack(s) simply open the bag and pull downwards at the sides. Do not reach inside. Remove the rack(s) and rinse carefully with hot, soapy water.

We did exactly this. The shelves were placed into the bag with the recommended amount of solution for the specified length of time, and placed carefully onto a flat surface. All I needed to do was to make sure that the shelves were well coated in the solution and leave it to work its magic!

As you can see here, after 2 hours, the solution is clearly working well. The solution has removed a huge amount of the dirt and it has fallen away from the racks without any manipulation from me at all. At this point, the bag had not been moved at all. 

After another 4 hours, the solution had removed even more of the dirt, and the slightest touch of the racks through the bag caused even more of the grime to fall away.

Before the racks had even been removed from the bag, this is how clean they were beginning to look. At this point, I took the racks out of the bag and rinsed them with hot soapy water to remove the last few spots of dirt (of which there weren't many at all!)

Tackles inside of the oven too ...

Whilst this was happening, Oven Pride was also working hard on the inside of the oven. 

Once again, simple to follow instructions, which read as follows:

Pour some of the remaining Oven Pride solution directly into the centre of the oven

Using a sponge / cloth, carefully apply Oven Pride to the areas to be cleaned.

Leave to soak for at least 4 hours or for best results, leave overnight.

Remove residue with a sponge / cloth and rinse with plenty of hot, soapy water.

And once again, I followed the directions carefully. I admit, I did not leave the solution to work overnight. Mainly because, having the two children, I needed to work the job around them. Therefore, I did this during the day whilst Munchkin was at nursery. However, I am not sure Oven Pride could have been any more effective if I had left it overnight. As soon as the solution was applied, I could see it working straight away as I spread the solution around the oven walls. That was all I needed to do. Well, for 4 hours, anyway. A good rinse with hot, soapy water then removed all of the residue and I was left with some very pleasing results!

Unbeatable Results: Powerful, fume-free and easy!

In conclusion, Oven Pride certainly beats any other oven cleaner that I have tried to date. It certainly is powerful and easy to use. And as for 'fume-free', this was a really lovely difference to alternative solutions I have used. There were no fumes at all! This would make me much happier using the solution with the kids in the house. Some solutions I have used give off fumes so strong, the whole house would be filled with the unpleasant smell of oven cleaner!

I would definitely recommend Oven Pride to anyone. It's ease of use and impressively effective results alone are the reason that I will use this product again!

We were sent a bottle of Oven Pride to use for the purpose of this review. However all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Graco Evo Mini visits Peppa Pig World!

Once the initial excitement of being selected to be testers of the new Evo Mini for Graco had passed slightly, the real testing was underway. I wanted to take it everywhere. Test it in every possible situation. I wanted to get cracking straight away. Beastie and her chicken pox, rotten cold and the painful arrival of two teeth meant that the first impression testing that we did was confined to indoors. You can read all about our first impressions on un-boxing the Mini Evo HERE

A few days after receiving the Evo Mini, we had a big family day out planned to Peppa Pig World, and looking at how comfortable Beastie seemed in her new ride, we decided that this would be the ideal opportunity to give it a good test! 

First test ... carrying the Evo Mini to the car ...

As I mentioned in our first post, the Evo Mini folds really small. With folded dimensions of 79.8cm (Length) x 48.3cm (Width) x 22cm (Height) and a weight of just 6.2kg, even I am able to carry it to the car without a struggle. I am only 4' 10" tall, so the lightweight, compact folded frame is very important for me. 

Second test ... putting the Evo Mini into the car boot ...

Ok, so for us, this is not much of a challenge! We have a Xsara Picasso which has a very spacious boot, and would accommodate the pushchair as well as a whole load of shopping at the same time. However, the size of the folded frame means that I would expect it to fit comfortably in most car boots. Again, the light weight means that is is very easy to lift into the boot too.

Third test ... getting the Evo Mini ready for use ...

This pushchair is remarkably easy to open up. A small clip holds the frame together in folded mode. This is easily opened and the frame unfolds whilst I steady it holding the handlebar ... with one hand if necessary! Very useful! The frame 'clicks' into place which tells me it is safe to put Beastie into the seat.

Fourth test ... Comfort in the Evo Mini ...

I think the face speaks for me here?!  From the moment Beastie is sat in the Evo Mini, there are smiles! The 5-point harness is nicely positioned and easily adjustable, and the harness pads are simple to move around until they are in a comfortable place. The seat is well padded, yet the fabric seems to keep her at a really good temperature. No sweaty patches on the back of her head or soggy feeling bums when I take her out! With the reclining back, she is also free to have a good nap if and when she fancies it. She's far too stubborn curious to do this very often though!

Fifth test - General ease of use of the Evo Mini on a family day out ...

Moving around the park - Easy. Venturing in and out of the gift shop to chase an excited Munchkin - No problem. Ideal height for both vertically challenged me and The Man who is near on 6 foot - Yep. Providing a smooth, comfortable ride for Beastie - Every time! Snacks for the whole family as well as all the other essentials for a day out fit nicely into the basket without adding any noticeable weight to the frame.

I was concerned on the day of our outing that Beastie would become agitated and uncomfortable easily during the afternoon as it was a bitterly cold day, and with her being too small to join in the fun, I was worried she may become frustrated. However, she was happy, she was comfortable and she was warm. The rain cover came in handy on the windy walk back to the car at the end of the day too, keeping her nicely shielded from the cold, damp air.

We have been sent the Graco Evo Mini for the purpose of an ongoing review and are competing for the title of 'Graco Ambassadors'