Review: Maxi-Cosi Axiss Car Seat

Review Maxi-Cosi Axiss Car SeatWe were recently sent a Maxi-Cosi Axiss Car Seat and to say I was excited would be an understatement. This particular seat is one of Maxi-Cosi’s (in my opinion) innovative it is designed to swivel to ensure that putting your child in and out the car is comfortable and easy and with having lots of back and pelvic issues this one I was hoping would be right up our street! 

The Axiss is designed for use from 9 – 18 kg  which is 9 months to 4 years approx making it a stage 1 car seat. This also means that Joshua is using it at almost 3.5 years so he is almost at the maximum age range of the product, I thought this might be relevant to give you scale. 

First off when this car seat arrived .. I was shocked .. let me  explain….

In my head and from the Maxi-Cosi Website I had envisaged a really chunky hunk of a seat .. you know the ones that take 2 people to transport to the car and what we got was something a whole lot smaller and manageable to move, In fact is was really compact compared to the images in my head! 
Axiss Car Seat
I absolutely adored the longer than average chunky shoulder straps or should I say the pads!  .. they seems to melt round Joshua’s body in a far more protective way and I think this helped to make it easier to ensure the straps were lovely and tight against him (not cutting off his circulations tight) 

It seems I am not alone on the next love .. and that is the whole concept of the Car Seat….. a seat that swivels in both directions meaning no more leaning over and twisting! … Hubster was totally smitten with this feature. He currently has issues with his hips and also has developed issues with his back which means moving in general is painful so anything that make it easier for him to get Joshua in the car seat is a double bonus! 

Maxi-Cosi AxissThe final massive love item has to be the super-duper seat belt tensioner! … this handy gizmo when tiled in the direction of the seat belt strap and threaded through will tighten the seat to ensure it is fully secure and super tight meaning no movement where there shouldn’t be! … I have to say it is a little tricky  to start with (getting the angle just right) although I did crack it in a  few minutes to it’s not especially difficult or fiddly.

Swivel on Maxi-Cosi AxissThroughout the whole fitting there were 2 areas that I had issues … the first one I couldn’t get the seat to twist in the direction I needed, and it had me stumped for a good 5 minutes (if I had read the manual fully I would have known!) So if you, like me did not read the manual from cover to cover till afterwards and are struggling to get the seat to twist in one direction over the other … there is a switch underneath! 

If you slide the switch viola! *mental note made to read instructions first*

The final issue … which in fairness has nothing to do with the seat specifically is that It wont fit in my car (this is why you should always have a physical fitting before buying!)

I drive a Vauxhall Zafira on 54 plate and it seems we had the age-old problem of buckle crunch. For those of you that are unaware of buckle crunch the simple explanation is .. when using a seat belt to fix the car seat (of any brand and make) into a car with a 3 point harness the buckle should not be resting on the plastic of the seat .. if it is it creates pressure on the buckle of the seatbelt in a collision and this pressure can pop the bucket open on an impact! … I will be blogging about this in more detail over the coming weeks. 

It seems my particular make and model makes it a nightmare to fit car seats on a 3 point harness and to best rectify I tend to use my isofix points to attach car seats. So for this seat I have installed it into my husband’s car instead….. below is the picture of the seat in mine and then the seat in his:

buckle crunch on a car seatAs some of you know we have test driven and reviewed a few of Maxi-Cosi’s car seats and loved each one for their own uniqueness but this nifty seat is our personal fave the swivel  has been amazingly helpful with us both having back/hip/pelvis problems! 

Thanks Maxi-Cosi for another great car seat …. however an IsoFix version would be amazing so I can buy one for my car now! 

Disclaimer: This product was given to us for the purposes of giving an honest review. All Opinions in this review were independently formed by members of The Oliver’s Madhouse

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12 Baking Essentials Every Kitchen Should Have – Besides Mary Berry

BakingBaking has seen a real resurgence in the past few years, partly due to TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, and now more and more people are getting into the kitchen to bake, even I have given it a go! 

If you fancy a slice of the baking action, here are my 12 essential pieces of equipment you need for your kitchen…

A Mixer
Once upon a time mixing was done by hand with a whisk, but these days a decent mixer is the only way to do it, it also stop Ollie moaning when its his turn.

They’re easy to use, cut down significantly on time and leaves you free to do other things whilst it works. Kitchen Aid mixers are some of the best around and are a little on the pricey side, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Mixing Bowls
You need something to mix things in – pretty self-explanatory! .. we have tried in a pan .. it really is not effective.

Loose-bottomed Cake Tins
You want to make a cake? You’ll need a cake tin. Get a few in varying sizes and depths, and also get one with a loose bottom so it’s easier to get the cake out. Obviously if you’re making biscuits then you’ll need a baking try and bread will require a loaf tin… you get the gist?

Cooling Rack
When leaving cakes or biscuits to cool, it’s important that they are left on a cooling rack so  air can get to every part and it’ll cool uniformly and allow the steam to escape, with that in mind racks with legs tend to be more effective to circulate and cool them down. 

Silicone Spatula
Silicone spatulas are great for mixing and also for getting every last bit of mixture out of a bowl. They’re also handy for spreading icing onto cakes…. so I am told .. I am not that experienced yet. Although my secret santa gift last christmas had a spatula and I have loved it ever since! 

JL Secret SantaBaking Parchment
Also known as silicone paper, baking parchment is non-stick, greaseproof and moisture-proof and is therefore ideal for lining cake tins and baking trays. You can also use it in the oven and the freezer… I use this too for layering in between my shortbread to store

A Decent Oven
You might think that any old oven will do, but that’s not the case. It’s important that the heat distribution is as even as possible or hotspots can develop, which means that your baking won’t cook evenly and you could end up with some parts that are burnt and others that are undercooked. We personally have a cooker similar to this rangemaster cooker from http://www.hispek.com/kitchen-home-appliances-rangemaster-shop-pc-480.php  many have double ovens and although I personally have never used both while baking .. I have certainly been thankful on a Christmas morning for having both!

Rolling Pin
How else are you going to get pastry flat? You’ll want one that has a decent weight to it so that you’re not having to work as hard to flatten the mixture….although in fairness mine has mainly been used so far to batter biscuits for biscuit bases.

Measuring Equipment
You might see TV chefs slinging ingredients in a bowl without measuring but they’ve had years of practice. It’s important to get measurements just right so make sure you have the relevant equipment. Measuring jugs, spoons, cups, and weighing scales are all incredibly handy and should help you on your way to perfect baking.

I still have a few items left on my baking wish list myself that so far I have found another way of doing things but if I am honest I am fed up of butted on my iphone while using it as a timer .. so first on the list would be a proper kitchen timer, although maybe reading my cookers manual would help?! so I could use that one?? My final bits I still need to pick up are a sieve and a pastry brush … both of which I have no excuse for not having since they can be picked up in the supermarket! 

Do you have a key item you cant live without in the kitchen?

Disclaimer:  This is a collaborative post

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Active Family – Swimming Summer

Swimming costume Thats it folks the teen has broken up for the Summer holidays and I am now frantically panicking deciding what to do with the teen and toddler for the next week. 

Those of you that follow some of my other social media feeds will have seen that of recent weeks I am upping the exercise anti and have started lots of new classes in the hopes that I will find my exercise calling and find those classes that challenge me and don’t bore the pants off me. 

I have now whittled my regular classes down to pilates, yoga and aqua aerobics … and I have even enjoyed them and look forward to the next class. 

Although having slightly digressed I think its still massively important for my children to see me going and being active on my own as it is for them to be physically active.

I am not a massive fan of the water (I used to be before kids?) but this summer I am going to make a more of an effort in taking to the water .. not just the aerobics classes but also swimming with the teen and toddler at the local pool. 

Our local pool is normally out of bounds during the daytime as its joined to a school and they have access throughout the day and so evenings and weekends are only ever an option until the school holidays! … 

Although Bethany is really fab in the water and always has been, Joshua is still lacking in confidence so we really need to make swimming more a part of our lifestyle .. not only is it healthy its a life skill! 

So I have decided that at least once a week we will aim to go swimming even if its only for an hour. Also Joshua has his trust swim jacket we got from Konfidence so its a shame to not make the most of the water.

swimmingDo you like swimming? how about your children or grandkids .. do they or did they have lessons or just regular swims with you?

If you would like to join in with Active Family feel free to link up there are no set criteria. If its active and its about your family, be it your children, your aunt or your whole family, inside or out, walking, running, jumping, biking, at the gym, or running laps of the living room, or even something more adventurous feel free to add the badge and link up and share. (If you would like more information you can find it HERE)  

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Project Playhouse … Let The Fun Start

Play HouseNow I say fun .. and yes it would be, had I not have decided to start this project when we were not experiencing such a long heatwave!

I am already digressing and I haven’t even started the post … opps … So for

Joshua’s third birthday both sets of grandparents, us and a little bit of cash from Joshua’s savings went into purchasing the most amazing playhouse for Joshua. He loved it instantly but I am not sure where he got it from as soon after he said it wasn’t his house, his was blue. So over the last few months I have been building up to the DIY job of possibly some magnitude to transform this shell into a home fit for a prince. 

Having said previously the thought process for this project has all been around for the last few months and one to procrastinate to never to do things by halves I have been searching for the most perfect colour scheme .. and of course one that will please Dad too .. which means those of you that know us here at The Oliver’s Madhouse there is only one colour and that is blue it is the only colour for all concerned .. man, women or child in this house. Its like an unwritten law!  Garden ColoursI originally decided to go for one of the new Home of Colour – Garden Colours exterior paint in Mountain Blue, however after our final ‘discussion’ being in the shop (in front of 2 rather helpful assistants) we decided we needed a more of a gloss finish than matt, but never fear I have several more garden ideas and with my love for gentle sage and mountain blue I may have to get more of my projects finished! 
Project PlayhouseAfter way too much procrastination it was time to get going and with the heat being way too much I made a start on the inside instead! 

I wanted to lighten the inside so white is perfect .. although there will be more colour introduced before its finished in the accessories and interior in general. 

So that is where I am at so far, I am now reliant upon the weather to give me a break with the heat and the rain so I can get round to starting the outside transformation! 

Disclaimer: Written In collaboration with Homebase

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#52LittleThings Week 39 – Befriend Your Shadow

52LT-Week-30v2If  you have missed my #52LittleThings posts so far – I am taking part in weekly challenges with AXA PPP healthcare to make small changes in my lifestyle one week at a time to become healthier and happier. 

This week there is a little twist as this week has been about Joshua, well we are almost on those long 6 weeks so it seems only right to include the children on some challenges over the next few weeks! 

Befriending a shadow is what its all about this week

Why? … you may ask! 

Well lets start at the beginning …

Apparently skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and most skin cancer cases in the UK are preventable with proper precaution and awareness.

With AXA PPP healthcare partnering with the Karen Clifford skin cancer charity, Skcin, to spread the importance of sun safety, through George the Sun Safe Superstar animated film. 

This week the film went live and therefore with Joshua not only being showcased in the film (about 3.30 mins in) but with this weeks challenge being about befriending shadows I thought Joshua and I ought to take a look at how we can be safer in the sun. 

Now here are 5 pretty fab tips from George The Sun Safe Superstar:

Slip – Slip on a top (to cover shoulders)
Slop – Slop on that sunscreen 
Slap – Slap on that hat! 
Sunglasses – Protect those eyes!
Shade – If you are out in the sun try and stay in the shade

toddler in the shadeI have to say I think these are all fab rules to follow in order to stay safe in the sun and they are also easy to remember. 

So this week Joshua and I have been chatting about being safe in the sun, although in fairness he is only 3.5 years old we have been using Georges video as a starting point and have even had a breakthrough. 

I always put on sunscreen, hat and top on him but the sunglasses and shades have always beaten us as Joshua is always too busy and wants to be everywhere all at once! 

However this week after explaining about george he finally sat and played (or should I say painted) covered and even in the shade! 

Although he has not completely befriend his shadow yet I have been explaining about when our shadows become really small it must be midday and so we really must look after our shadows and in turn look after ourselves! … I think we will need to plugging about at this with him as he is still rather small.

Do you have any Sun Safe tips you would like to share?

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with AXA PPP healthcare’s #52LittleThings, in which I have been compensated. However all words and thoughts were developed and written by members of The Oliver’s Madhouse 

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Giveaway: Spend Up To £70 On Selected Items At Jacamo

CGN_logoRecently I was asked to take a look at menswear brand Jacomo’s new range and I am going to put my hands in the air and say I was shocked! 

Shocked .. why might you ask..

Well both my husband and I had very wrongly presumed that Jacamo only catered for XL sizes … how wrong were we! they cater from waist size 32 – 64 (inches) and from S – 5XL! and so after making this discovery we set about viewing their new Freddie Flintoff range and we both loved the stylish collection but also the simplicity in its design making for really timeless pieces. 

So what do Jacamo have to offer? 

  • Next day delivery as standard (if ordered before 8pm) 
  • Returns can be made via multiple options to suit
  • Sizes S – 5XL
  • Big name brands
  • Large range of clothing, shoes and accessories 

To celebrate their new Freddie Flintoff range one lucky reader will win the chance to select items up to the value of £70 from the key pieces below in sizes of their choice (for more information on each piece you can find the links for each below:Freddie Flintoff - Selected Range from JacamoFreddie Flintoff – Selected Range from Jacamo by theoliversmadhouse

OTHER SELECTED ITEM THAT ARE INCLUDED BUT NOT SHOWN ABOVE:
 

Please note: Only the selected items above are included in the giveaway and Jacamo will endeavour to have your size and selection in stock at the time of the competition ending, however this can not be guaranteed and alternative selections may have to be made. Entrants must have a valid UK address, Full Terms and Conditions can be found on the Rafflecopter widget

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Disclaimer: This prize was given for the purposes of running a competition and I was not compensated in any way.

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